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TN Moving Stories: Boxer rends garments over House rules: Scott casts doubt on FL High Speed Rail; NY Subway Signal Fraud May Be Vast; But Hey, You Can Ride You

Friday, January 07, 2011

A downtown Manhattan parking meter--whose rates ARE rising (Kate Hinds)

New Florida Governor Rick Scott's Administration releases a report prepared by a Libertarian group that says Florida's High Speed Rail might be too costly. (WESH-TV, Orlando)  Scott said during the last debate that he wasn't necessarily against the Orlando-Tampa rail line, now funded with some $3 billion federal dollars -- but only if it didn't cost Florida taxpayers another penny.

California Senator Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, says if House Republicans act on threats to raid transportation fund "all our plans to do more...are thrown aside." (Streetsblog)

New York rolls back parking meter hikes--but only outside of Manhattan. (WNYC)

Subway officials unsure of extent of signal fraud in NYC subways:  (NY1)

NJ Governor Christie proposes a five-year, $8 billion transportation infrastructure spending plan that relies on borrowing -- as well as repurposing ARC money.  (Wall Street Journal, New York Times)

An advisory panel says the Texas Department of Transportation needs new leadership, consolidated financial operations and better communication with the public. (AP via Houston Chronicle).

Colorado's New Gov, John Hickenlooper Tells NY Times "Rather than  going to health care first, I would have gone, I think, to transportation infrastructure." (NY Times)

The US proposes reopening roads to Mexican trucking companies. "We can't say the Mexican trucking dispute is over, but we can now say that, at last, the end appears to be in sight," says one stakeholder. (AP)

The Illinois legislature voted to give the state's top ethics official new watchdog power over Chicago's mass transit agencies. (Chicago Tribune)

Norfolk tests light rail (AP via Washington Examiner).

Tesla releases some engineering porn to a car-hungry public (via Wired/Autopia). Video: Tesla Vehicle Engineering - Part 1 from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

A Wisconsin woman bikes to the hospital...while in labor. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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NYC Tries GPS to Track Snowplows

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A NYC plow working after the post-Christmas blizzard. AZI PAYBARAH/WNYC

[UPDATED WITH CITY HALL RESPONSE.]

(John Keefe, Transportation Nation) As meteorologists forecast more snow for New York City, City Hall plans to track where the streets are being cleared -- with GPS-equipped plows.

In the post-Christmas blizzard two weeks ago, cars, buses and ambulances were stranded throughout the city, and many streets remained unplowed for days. City officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were widely criticized for their response to the storm.

At a press conference this afternoon, Bloomberg said last time, "there was a discrepancy between information coming into and out of City Hall and what people were actually experiencing on the streets."

In a pilot project that will be tested if the snow flies tomorrow, GPS-enabled plows -- many of which are modified garbage trucks -- will roam the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Midwood, Flatbush and Ditmas Park, and also parts of Kensington.

Bloomberg said the tracking devices have become so cheap that eventually all 1,700 plows could be tracked, providing information not only on snow removal but also salting and trash pickup. Drivers of municipal vehicles in other cities, and in NYC taxi cabs, have fought such tracking systems as an invasion of their privacy.

Whether snowplow location information will be made public remains an open question. The Mayor's spokesman, Stu Loeser, said in a phone interview with TN that the city could expand the number of plows with GPS's. If it goes well tomorrow, he said, that could happen as soon as next week.  As for making the data public in real time, "we wouldn't rule it out."   In other cities, public access to real-time tracking data lets residents know when they can expect plows and buses.

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Why California Budget May Slam High Speed Rail

Thursday, January 06, 2011

(San Francisco––Casey Miner, KALW News) It’s only been a few days since Jerry Brown retook the California Governor’s office, but all signs suggest that he’s planning to put the state on a serious fiscal diet. Rumored to be among the casualties are local redevelopment agencies -- groups that undertake projects like revitalizing downtowns and building affordable housing. California’s perennial budget deficit is projected to be more than $25 billion this year, and slashing redevelopment could cut a quarter of that.

The Governor’s office isn’t commenting on specifics right now, so we’ll have to wait to know for sure. But losing redevelopment has big implications for the state as a whole – and perhaps for its biggest infrastructure project, high-speed rail.

The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) just released a report arguing that for high-speed rail to reach its full potential, it will have to be accompanied by good planning and smart growth around stations. One of their recommendations is that cities be allowed to use a tool called tax-increment financing – essentially, a bond paid back by increased property tax revenues – to support transit-oriented development around high-speed rail stations. Egon Terplan, SPUR’s regional planning director, said while axing redevelopment agencies wouldn’t eliminate that possibility, it might make it a lot harder – especially in cities like Fresno and Bakersfield where future high-speed rail stations are in redevelopment zones. “Taking away their ability to get funding takes away their ability to implement projects,” he said.

Regardless of what happens to the redevelopment agencies, said Terplan, high-speed rail needs a way to fund itself over the long term – and that might include certain financing tools that redevelopment agencies currently use. “Redevelopment has been a model,” he said. “We now need a model that aligns itself with the goals of high-speed rail.”

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Go Ahead, Rebook that Flight

Thursday, January 06, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There are still piles of cruddy snow crowding out the streets and sidewalks in many parts of New York City, and now there's two to six more inches coming. But not to worry! Airlines say you can rebook your flight from the Northeast this weekend now. No more airport camping! No more hanging around at your parents for an extra week while you spend hours on hold with the airlines!

Feel grateful?

It used to be  not too long ago that you could do this, free of charge, all the time. But those were the days when they used to hand out those nice playing cards on the airlines -- and didn't make you feel that they were merely suffering you when you boarded a flight.

Details on which airlines are participating here.

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Montana, Leading the Nation on DUIs, Poised For Crackdown

Thursday, January 06, 2011

(Helena, MT -- Jackie Yamanaka, YPR) -UPDATED Montana lawmakers are poised to crackdown on drunk drivers during the 2011 Montana Legislative session.

Per mile and per capita, Montana leads the nation in fatalities where alcohol is a contributing factor," says Kevin O'Brien, spokesman for the Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock.

O'Brien says that the number of convictions for felony DUI's in Montana rose 39% from 2009 to 2010.  A person will receive the felony DUI designation for any 4th or subsequent DUI conviction. He notes there's been a moderate decrease in the number of first time convictions but the number of repeat offenders keeps going up.

As of today, lawmakers have introduced or requested over 30 bills (or bill drafts) to deal with impaired drivers. This includes making it a crime to refuse a breathalyzer test when stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). State Attorney General Steve Bullock has said some 3,000 suspected drunk drivers refused the breath test last year, and he supports efforts to strengthen DUI laws.

According to an op-ed in the Billings Gazette, "DUI refusal is the bane of prosecutors. A refusal case is one of the most difficult types of criminal cases to try because the key piece of evidence — the suspects' blood alcohol level — is missing...According to Bullock, more people have refused the breath test than have been convicted of first-offense DUI this year."

It is not unusual for the courts to deal with offenders who have multiple DUI convictions on their records. For example, a man with nine DUI convictions was sentenced last August to 13 months with the Montana Department of Corrections. The judge said he would have meted out a longer sentence if one was allowed under Montana law.

The Montana Legislature convened Monday and is scheduled to adjourn at the end of April.

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TN Moving Stories: LA's Westside Subway Gets Federal OK, JSK is Compared to Robin Hood, and New Version of OnStar Is Essentially Omnipotent

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(photo by Dre Batista/Flickr)

Federal officials okay preliminary engineering on LA's Westside subway and light rail line. (Los Angeles Times)

Profiling the grid: Nashville utility planners use research and census data to try to determine who will be buying electric vehicles.  Where should they build substations? In the neighborhoods of female Democrats who live close to work.  (AP via New York Times)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 85% of U.S. adults now wear seat belts. "Only 11 percent wore them in 1982, before the first state law requiring seat belt use."  (NPR)

The Guardian calls NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan "a modern day Robin Hood." And regarding congestion pricing, she says "I do think it's a matter of when, not if."

Two New York City Council members have introduced bills that shrink the no-parking zone on either side of a fire hydrant. (New York Times)

Planned construction on New York's F and G subway lines has been postponed due to the last snowfall. (WNYC)

Brooklyn bicyclists who don't obey the law: the NYPD is coming for you. (Gothamist)

The web war of American Airlines vs. travel sites continues to heat up: now, a company that provides ticket information to travel agents has ended its contract with the airline. (CNN)

A former CEO of Amtrak is the latest addition to the board of DC's Metro. (WAMU)

This could be Ray LaHood's worst nightmare: at the Consumer Electronics Show, General Motors and Verizon unveiled a new version of OnStar. Among its features: Exterior cameras that can detect and record hit-and-runs, and then send the video to the car's owner via a secure server. The ability to watch what's going on in and around the car using a smartphone or home computer. Access to social websites such as YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia using voice commands. Video chatting via Skype through a dashboard-mounted video display. Remote-controlled home appliance and energy use using an application accessible through the car's video console. Live video images from traffic cameras, to view in real-time congestion. (Detroit News)

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Saarinen's Ghost Haunts Dulles Metrorail Project

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dulles International Airport

(Washington, D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia is not just an airport; it's also, according to design and planning guru Roger K. Lewis, "one of America's greatest works of modern architecture."

Dulles' main terminal was designed in the 1960s by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. Along with the St. Louis Arch and JFK Airport's TWA Terminal (now the JetBlue terminal), Dulles Airport is one of his most well-known accomplishments.

But while Saarinen's Dulles terminal is almost universally celebrated, it's also causing some headaches for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

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Cuomo's State of the State: Zero Mentions of Transportation

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) If you read the prepared text of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address (prepared remarks here), you'll find a mention of transportation -- roughly what we posted earlier: "Grants will be awarded to the best and most comprehensive regional plans that coordinate sustainability efforts in housing, transportation, emissions control, energy efficiency, and create jobs..."

But if you read what he actually said here, you'll find zero mentions of transportation.  His staff tells WNYC he did not used a prepared text or teleprompter for his remarks.   And, to be fair, his delivered speech was a lot more fluid than the wonky "address" his office published as his written message to the legislature.

Other than for former Governor David Paterson, who is blind, it has been the custom for Governors to deliver a single address, that is published in booklet form beforehand.

Meantime, what do you make of his lack of mention of transportation (or infrastructure, for that matter?

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House GOP Majority Passes New Rule: It Can Now "Reappropriate" Transportation Funds

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Despite protests from an unusually broad coalition of transportation groups -- from the highways lobby to the New York transit system, the GOP voted today to rescind a 1998 rule that prevented it from taking transportation funds supported by the highway bill for other purposes.  That 1998 rule shielded Highway Trust Fund from being raided for other (non-transportation purposes).

The move comes even as transpo advocates nervously watch the new GOP-led congress for signs it will cut overall transportation funding to meet budget-cutting targets.

Read from the bottom of page 10 to the top of page 11 in the below document:

Rules for 112th Congress

Writing on The Hill's Congress blog, Republicans say that the new rules mean simply that "highway funding, with some exceptions, will now be treated as other general spending and therefore be subject to any member's attempt to reduce the spending."  One Republican spokesman told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that it's meant to keep the Highway Trust Fund from spending more than it’s bringing in.

But a number of industry and transit groups oppose this change. "The provision.. would hurt investment in transportation infrastructure, reduce jobs, and break faith with the American taxpayer," says a letter to House leadership signed by over 20 organizations.

New York's MTA says that transportation projects require "steady, predictable,  multi-year funding" (a PDF of their letter is here).

And New York Congressman Anthony Weiner sent out a press release that reads: "Buried in the rules written by the GOP majority is a change that is opposed by the City of New York and the State Transportation Department and which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said would cause 'significant damage.'"  He continues: "New Yorkers have already paid money at the gas pump that is guaranteed for transit, subways and roads.  Under the new rule change, this money would be put on the annual chopping block and not guaranteed at all."

The change does not require Senate approval, and is now in effect.

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NY's New Gov Says New Grants will Encourage Sustainable Transportation

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) -- We'll have more, but here's a bullet point from Cuomo's State of the State -- full text not out yet  (you can hear the speech at WNYC)

A cleaner, greener environment: Governor Cuomo will create the “NY Cleaner, Greener Communities Program” to provide competitive grants that will encourage communities to develop regional sustainable growth strategies in housing, transportation, emissions control, energy efficiency. The program will emphasize revitalizing urban areas through smart growth, creating green jobs, building green infrastructure including roof and rain gardens, and strengthening environmental justice and protection.

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Au Revoir, Tom Robbins

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) One of the most generous reporters in journalism is leaving the Village Voice. When I wrote of Wayne Barrett's departure from the Village Voice yesterday -- I didn't know that Tom Robbins was leaving also -- in his case, voluntarily, to protest the loss of Wayne.

Tom and I collaborated on a series of reports (here and here) about New York City's former Deputy Mayor, Dan Doctoroff, and his stunning commitment to secure the 2012 Olympics even as he was in charge of rebuilding the World Trade Center Site.  As every economic decision in a broken city came before him, Doctoroff was vigorously raising funds for the Olympic committee, in many cases from the same companies that were seeking city contracts.

Working with Tom was an exhilarating experience -- his knowledge of the city was vast, his perspective refreshingly long.  But mostly, I was struck again and again by Tom's kind heart.  In a competitive profession, he has an unusual generosity of spirit.   I learned today he'd donated a kidney to a friend. No surprise -- that's the kind of man Tom is.  The Voice loses two voices -- but whoever gains Tom's will be ineffably blessed.

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TN Moving Stories: the Vehicle Saturation Point, Are Transit Advocates in SF Too White, and is 2011 the Year of the Swagger Wagon?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Takeaway asks: is 2011 the year of the minivan? Toyota hopes so, and is reimagining the Sienna as a "swagger wagon." The below ad captures a white nuclear middle-class family, in all its gangsta glory:

Listen to the conversation (and find out if the Takeaway's guests would be caught dead in a minivan) below:

Have we reached the vehicle saturation point? A study of eight industrialized countries (not including China!) says passenger travel appears to have peaked in 2003. (Wired)

Could the future makeover of the Bayonne Bridge mean transit connections from Staten Island to New Jersey? It's not being ruled out. (Staten Island Live)

A bill that's being introduced in the Washington state legislature would mandate more distance on the road between bikers and cars. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

San Francisco's city supervisors take the opportunity to wonder, while voting on a nomination to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board, if transit advocates are too white (Bay Citizen). Meanwhile, San Francisco is looking to increase the number of parking citations it writes to "help close a projected $21 million deficit in the $775 million operating budget for the current fiscal year that ends June 30." (San Francisco Chronicle)

DC's Metro is having trouble selling its new bag search policy to the public. (Washington Post)

24 hours of flight, time-lapsed. Doesn't it look like bees swarming?

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Detroit Automakers See Sales Gains In 2010

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Detroit - Jerome Vaughn, WDET) Detroit’s automakers say their sales began to rebound in 2010.

Industry analysts say consumers who have been waiting for the national economy to improve felt confident enough to make vehicle purchases in the last month of the year.

General Motors sold more than 2.2 million cars and trucks last year. That’s a six percent improvement over 2009 -- the year GM emerged from federal bankruptcy protection.

Ford sold just under two million vehicles in 2010 -- a 15 percent jump in year-over-year figures. The automaker’s F-150 pick-up truck saw sales grow by nearly a third, making it the country’s best selling vehicle. The F-150 has held that title for 34 straight years.

Annual sales at Chrysler rose 17 percent. Company officials say the figures match the goals they set out late in 2009. Demand for the company’s trucks in December showed double digit growth.

Of the major automakers, only Toyota posted lower sales for 2010. They were down about a third of a percent. Throughout the year, the automaker dealt with the negative effects of safety recalls

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Shhh - I'm Commuting Ovah Here

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

(Jim O'Grady, WNYC)

No cell, no song

low talk

in peace we travel

arrive calm

New Jersey Transit train riders first came across this Zen-tastic bit of doggerel in September. It was printed on pale blue placards posted on coaches that the agency had dubbed Quiet Commute cars.

Where before it was up to riders to silence a loudmouth on the 7:03 from Morristown--techniques ranged from icy stares to garment-rending confrontations--it was now the policy of a pilot program that cell phones and MP3 players must snooze in certain train cars, that passengers might be able to do the same. Riders cocooned in silence could presumably also read a book while gazing out now and then at a lace-winged egret fishing the shallows in front of an oil refinery. (We're talking Jersey, after all.)

As of yesterday, New Jersey Transit has not only made the Quiet Commute car program permanent--but extended its reach.

Placard found on NJ Transit Peace Trains.

The agency has added quiet cars to all peak period, peak direction trains that begin or end their trips at New York Penn Station or Newark Penn Station. Quiet cars--one at each end--will also be offered on trains that arrive in Newark or New York between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and trains that depart Newark or New York between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Website and electronic customer surveys have revealed enthusiasm for sonic liberation from "cell phones, pagers, games, computers and other electronic devices." Riders on quiet cars are also required to keep the headphone volume low and speak in a "subdued voice" that can't be heard by other passengers. Should a boor insist on verbalizing the logistics of his life, conductors press a business card in his hand with a "gentle" reminder to shut his pie hole. But nicely worded.

The agency says it will keep polling riders about the program, which now covers the busiest train lines, with an eye toward further expansion to trains that begin or end their trips at Hoboken Terminal.

To close, here's a bit of hushed history from a New Jersey Transit press release giving credit where it's due--to another train line:

"The Quiet car concept was born in late 1999 when a small group of regular Amtrak commuters asked their conductor if one car of their early morning Philadelphia-Washington train could be designated as 'cell phone-free.' The conductor agreed and Amtrak quickly expanded the concept. Within months, most weekday Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor featured Quiet Cars."

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Let's Go Ride the Light Rail, Baby

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Phoenix's Valley Metro has commissioned a series of earnest, unironic music videos in which local bands sing about the virtues of public transit.  Designed to educate the public about transit by embedding a catchy tune in your frontal lobe, Valley Metro Notes (as the animated video series is called) takes on topics like "How to Ride the Light Rail," "How to Ride the Bus," and "All Day Transit Pass."

Lady Gaga it ain't, but then again, "Poker Face" won't explain transit etiquette or fare vending machines.  On the other hand, as the two animated figures show, you can always swing dance on the light rail.

"People have told us that they're apprehensive about riding transit, because they're not exactly sure how to do it," one Valley Metro staffer told a Fox News affiliate.  The Valley Notes web page continues: "While you’re smiling and singing along, you’ll learn all about what pass to use, riding light rail, taking your bike, routes and schedules, riding safely, and much more."

The video campaign comes on the heels of tough year for Phoenix transit: bus ridership fell by millions of fares, the transit agency suffered a sizable drop in tax revenue, and contract woes and strike threats dragged on for much of the year.  Meanwhile, according to one recent national study, Phoenix residents face one of the worst--and most expensive--commutes in the nation.

Valley Metro has also made the songs available as free MP3 downloads.

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NYC MTA Touts Toll Program on WNYC

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

(Jim O'Grady -- WNYC) The NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority is spending $13,000 to support  WNYC programming. The language of the so-called underwriting credit tells listeners:

"WNYC is supported by the MTA. This January the gates come off of E-ZPass lanes at the Henry Hudson Bridge.  Gateless tolling is the first step in an MTA pilot program to bring cashless, all-electronic toll collection to the bridge within a year.  More information at m-t-a dot info."

The NY Thruway Authority has already installed gate-less tolling on parts of NY's Thruway upstate, so cars don't have to break their 65 mph speed. Colorado and some other states also have gate-less toll collection that relies on license-plate reading to bill drivers.

Henry Hudson Bridge (photo by litherland - Flickr creative commons)

The Henry Hudson Bridge connects Manhattan and the Bronx.  The plan by the end of the year is

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Goodbye, Wayne

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  There is no reporter I learned more from than Wayne Barrett.

He writes today:

"When I was asked in recent years to blog frequently, I wouldn't do it unless I had something new to tell a reader, not just a clever regurgitation of someone else's reporting. My credo has always been that the only reason readers come back to you again and again over decades is because of what you unearth for them, and that the joy of our profession is discovery, not dissertation.

(snip)

"It was always the conduct that prodded me to write, not the person. And that is what I lived for, a chance to say something that revealed and mattered. To me, the story will always be the thing. It is all I can see."

Wayne, who was let go from the Voice today at 65 1/2, worked harder at reporting than anyone else I know -- again and again.  I was constantly startled by what he managed to unearth, even when his subject area had already been thoroughly combed through.

In 1996, the two of us were arrested together, trying to cover a George Pataki fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria.  It was my first (and only) arrest -- though for the record, Andrew Cuomo's staff once threatened to have me arrested, too.

It wasn't Wayne's first arrest.

For Wayne every closed door was just a chance to walk up a back alley.  The shoe industry owes him a lot.  If you haven't read his magnificent books,  City for Sale, Rudy!, and Grand Illusion, your life is less rich.

Goodbye, Wayne.

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TN Moving Stories: New Fees on Metro North/LIRR Trains, Houston Revives its Rail Building Program, and Skateboard Commuters Want Legitimacy

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

(LIRR ticket; photo by Michael Caruso/Flickr)

A raft of new fees on Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road can be even more costly to riders than the recent 8.8 percent rise in prices. (WNYC)

Unsnarling Penn Station: "The MTA is investigating whether it can run trains through Penn and into New Jersey, shaving precious minutes off the amount of time each spends on a platform, freeing up some capacity. It's also looking at running some Metro-North trains into Penn once a project to provide LIRR access into Grand Central Terminal is finished." (Wall Street Journal)

After nearly halting light rail projects last year because of mistakes in its planned purchase of rail cars, Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority is reviving its rail building program as it becomes more confident the federal government will deliver a $900 million grant. (Houston Chronicle)

As Virginia lawmakers try to figure out funding transportation maintenance, some are looking at targeting overweight vehicles to cover the costs of repairing the damage they cause.  "They see some really remarkable things: the roadway being squeezed out like toothpaste when they stop at a traffic light. And the weigh station just can't catch them all." (WAMU)

Seven insurance companies have sued Toyota in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration. (Los Angeles Times)

F is for "fix it up:" two Brooklyn F train stations will be partially closed until May while being rebuilt. (New York Daily News)

The NYC MTA's inspector general will be investigating how the agency handled the blizzard. (Wall Street Journal)

Volkswagen and Porsche move closer to a merger. (Marketplace)

Who will speak for the skateboard commuter? Skateboarders across the USA are pushing to end bans so they can legally use longboards — a more stable type of skateboard than those typically used for skate park tricks — as a means of transportation. (USA Today)

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TN Moving Stories: Rise in NYC's Transportation Costs Outpaces Inflation, American Airlines Breaches Protocol, and Did WI Gov Set Transit Back 20 Years?

Monday, January 03, 2011

(Michelle Thompson/Flickr)

NYC transportation costs rose 3.7% in last 12 months, outpacing inflation. (New York Times)

The New York Daily News has some suggestions for the MTA about how to handle blizzards. Step one: admit your mistakes. "A series of screwups before and during last week's blizzard contributed significantly to the stranding of scores of bus and subway riders."

If Fort Worth doesn't want its $25 million in federal streetcar funding, Dallas will be happy to spend it on its own ambitious efforts. (Dallas Morning News)

NJ Transit's "quiet commute" program "significantly" expands today.

The Examiner says Governor Jim Doyle set back transit in Wisconsin by 20 years.

NPR follows one man's illegal journey into New York's subterranean infrastructure.  Remember: "The big thing here is not to get killed. So don't touch the third rail. If a train's coming, get out of the way. That might mean — in the worst situation I can imagine — that might mean standing in between two third rails and two pillars with trains coming on either side of you."

The NTSB says American Airlines breached protocol, and takes the unusual step of barring it from inquiry proceedings. "The National Transportation Safety Board ...said the airline improperly downloaded information for its own use from the flight-data recorder of a Boeing 757 that rolled past the end of a runway at Jackson Hole on Dec. 29.....It is the first time in decades that a major U.S. carrier has been kicked off an investigation into an accident or incident involving one of its own aircraft." (Wall Street Journal)

Much to the chagrin of mountain bikers, Los Angeles bans bikes from trails designated for hikers or horses (Los Angeles Times). "A comprehensive update of the city's bicycle plan still gives precedence to hikers and equestrians."

The Takeaway looks at the year ahead for the auto industry -- and Studio 360 looks at the future of car design.

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Happy New Year, Here's Some Subversive Transit Art

Friday, December 31, 2010

Since we don't have any sweeping best of 2010 posts for you (we're not even one year old yet, cut us some slack) we'll end the year on a whimsical note. In the spirit of New York City's confusing crosswalk signal malfunction, here's a crosswalk sign designed to induce some questioning.

The Total Crisis Panic Button project by artist Jason Eppink is installed at select intersections around the country. Find plenty more pics, a map of the locations around the country and lots more subversive transit oriented art at the Eppink's site.

Total Crisis Panic Button by Jason Eppink

Happy New Year!

- The Transportation Nation Team

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