WASHINGTON (AP) — Fiery wrecks of trains hauling crude oil have intensified pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher standards for railroads and tank cars despite industry complaints that it could cost billions and slow freight deliveries.
U.S. economic growth braked more sharply than initially thought in the fourth quarter amid a slow pace of stock accumulation by businesses and a wider trade deficit, but the underlying fundamentals remained solid. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual pace, revised down from the 2.6 percent pace estimated last month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. With consumer spending accelerating at its quickest pace since the first quarter of 2006 and sturdy gains in other measures of domestic demand, the slowdown in growth is likely to be temporary. Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, was revised down by one-tenth of a percentage point to a 4.2 percent pace in the fourth quarter, still the fastest since the first quarter of 2006.