David Schaper

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.

In this role, Schaper covers aviation and airlines, railroads, the trucking and freight industries, highways, transit, and new means of mobility such as ride hailing apps, car sharing, and shared bikes and scooters. In addition, he reports on important transportation safety issues, as well as the politics behind transportation and infrastructure policy and funding.

Since joining NPR in 2002, Schaper has covered some of the nation's most important news stories, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and other mass shootings, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, California wildfires, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and numerous other disasters. David has also reported on presidential campaigns in Iowa and elsewhere, on key races for U.S. Senate and House, governorships, and other offices in the Midwest, and he reported on the rise of Barack Obama from relative political obscurity in Chicago to the White House. Along the way, he's brought listeners and online readers many colorful stories about Chicago politics, including the corruption trials and convictions of two former Illinois governors.

But none of that compares to the joy of covering his beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016, and three Stanley Cup Championships for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent almost a decade working as an award-winning reporter and editor for WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, NPR's Member station in Chicago. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems and progress — financial, educational and otherwise — in Chicago's public schools.

Schaper also served as WBEZ's Assistant Managing Editor of News, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing the reporting staff while often still reporting himself. He later served as WBEZ's political editor and reporter; he was a frequent fill-in news anchor and talk show host. Additionally, he has been an occasional contributor guest panelist on Chicago public television station WTTW's news program, Chicago Tonight.

Schaper began his journalism career in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as a reporter and anchor at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM. He has since worked in both public and commercial radio news, including stints at WBBM NewsRadio in Chicago, WXRT-FM in Chicago, WDCB-FM in suburban Chicago, WUIS-FM in Springfield, Illinois, WMAY-AM in Springfield, Illinois, and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Schaper earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master's degree in public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He lives in Chicago with his wife, a Chicago Public School teacher, and they have three adult children.

Many air travelers are breathing a sigh of relief now that the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded all Boeing 737 Max airplanes after two of the aircraft crashed in recent months, but some airline passengers are finding their flights canceled on Thursday as a result.

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The polar vortex sliding south into the Midwest is sending temperatures to their lowest levels in more than 30 years and, in some cases, setting records.

While it usually sits over the Arctic, the polar vortex is being pushed south by an unseasonably warm air mass to the north.

The life-threatening cold is paralyzing the region — closing schools, businesses and courthouses; grounding flights; and keeping millions confined to their homes.

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Package delivery by drone is one small step closer to reality today.

Federal regulators announced plans Monday to change rules to allow drone operators to fly their unmanned aerial vehicles over populated areas and at night, without having to get special permits.

Many drone operators and enthusiasts complain that federal regulations haven't kept pace with the technology, arguing that prohibitions on flying drones over people and at night are out of date.

Jacinda says she has "no idea" what her family will do if the government shutdown continues past January. Her husband's last paycheck was Dec. 28 and, like many federal workers, he's unlikely to get his next one at the end of this week. He may not get the one after that, due at the end of January, either.

"Our rent is due, the electric bill is due, our cellphones are now past due," she says.

Her husband is a TSA officer in Portland, Ore., but he's not speaking publicly because the Transportation Security Administration forbids personnel to do so.

It's crunch time for getting packages delivered in time for Christmas, and companies like FedEx, UPS, the Postal Service and even Amazon are feeling the stress.

Online spending is expected to rise at least 15 percent over last year's record holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics.

Long before you click "buy" and type in that shipping address, most e-retailers have already anticipated your order.

In some cases, that item you just bought is already sitting in a nearby warehouse or fulfillment center and could be delivered in a couple of hours.

Once the backbone of the nation's transportation system, the nation's aging interstate highways are now overused and worn out, according to a new federal report. And failure to invest billions in modernizing the system will likely lead to more potholes, slower traffic jams, and increased costs to drivers and the nation's economy.

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When Amazon gave its reasons for putting new headquarters in New York and Arlington, Va., one of them was access to public transit. A new study shows other companies think the exact same way. Here's NPR's David Schaper.

The I-word is popping up again in Washington D.C.: infrastructure.

It's one of the few issues on which President Trump and Democrats in Congress might be able to agree. Both sides say they're willing to work together on a plan to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges, transit and water systems.

"It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation," Trump said in his news conference last Wednesday. While he was combative on a lot of issues, this wasn't one of them: "We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure," he added.

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Sears was once the largest retailer in the United States. The company owned a radio station in Chicago with the call letters WLS, which stood for World's Largest Store. But now Sears is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. NPR's David Schaper reports.

Relief supplies and critical life-saving equipment and personnel are heading into areas of Florida's Panhandle ravaged by Hurricane Michael, but officials say the severity of the storm's devastation is limiting their ability to get into the most heavily damaged areas.

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Many seaports and airports along the southeastern U.S. coastline have been shut down, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled, and some highways and bridges in low-lying coastal areas could close soon, as Hurricane Florence gets closer to making landfall.

Authorities in coastal areas that lie in the path of the massive storm are urging residents one last time to evacuate.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's message is pretty blunt: If you live in an evacuation zone, hit the road soon.

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The U.S is on pace to record close to 40,000 roadway and highway deaths for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Safety Council. The silver lining in those dark numbers is that the number of people dying each year in traffic collisions nationwide appears to be leveling off after two years of sharp increases.

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If there's one thing veteran Chicago taxicab driver Jay Khawas says he sees a lot of, it's cars with the familiar Uber and Lyft emblems.

"Oh my God. Like, many, many," says Khawas. "They're everywhere."

There certainly are more Uber and Lyft vehicles than taxicabs in Chicago and in most other big cities. Chicago, for example, limits the number of taxicab medallions, or vehicles licensed as taxis, to under 7,000.

The Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border is not just heartbreaking to other immigrants but also terrifying. Even immigrants who are in the country legally are beginning to worry that their families could be broken apart, too.

The anti-immigrant threats and actions have many Hispanic Americans in particular living on edge.

Tears immediately start streaming down the cheeks of Sarah, a Mexican immigrant, when she is asked about watching recent news stories on TV.

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Chicago is famous for its L, the transit system of mostly elevated trains. Soon it might have the X, a high-speed transit system some are calling Tesla in a tunnel. NPR's David Schaper has more.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say the driver of a Tesla using autopilot did not have his hands on the steering wheel in the moments before a fatal crash in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California in March.

Investigators also found that the Tesla was accelerating, with the cruise control engaged, when it crashed into a highway barrier. Walter Huang, the 38-year old driver, was killed.

If you've already tried to get away for the long holiday weekend or are planning on leaving soon, you probably know this: the highways, airports and train stations are packed with like-minded folks trying to get out of town for the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

Planes, trains and automobiles are overrun with Memorial Day weekend travelers and those who study traffic analytics say even people who slipped out on Thursday to beat the traffic were greeted by gridlock in many cities.

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It's Infrastructure Week again. Since President Trump came into office, it sometimes feels as though every other week is Infrastructure Week. In some circles, this has become a running joke.

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