David Schaper

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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haven't kept pace with the technology, arguing that prohibitions on flying drones over people and at night are out of date.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.

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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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This isn't exactly the golden age of airline travel, but it's a pretty good time to fly by a lot of measures. Flying has never been safer. Airfares are historically low when adjusted for inflation. Technology makes it easier to search for fares and book flights while also helping airlines lose fewer bags and improve their on-time performance.

But if there's one thing air travelers still love to complain about, it's the size of economy class seats.

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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.

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