Streams

Andrea Bernstein

Andrea Bernstein appears in the following:

NY Governor-Elect Cuomo: Transit Money "Fungible"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  It's been a bit of an unhealed wound for transit advocates -- the redirection last year of some $160 million in revenue collected by the NYC MTA to New York State's General Fund.  Facing its own multi-billion budget gap, the state Senate helped itself to some $160 million in dedicated revenues for transit, driving the MTA's budget gap to $800 million and helping bring about the most severe transit cuts in more than a generation. At a press conference today announcing an environmental settlement, New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo was asked if he'd do the same.  Here's his answer:

Cuomo: "I understand the concern. Everyone -- especially in a declining budget environment, where we are now, everyone -- we just met with the environmental groups. They're very concerned that nobody raids the funds that should be going to the environment.

"People who are involved in transit want to make sure nobody raids the funds that are involved in mass transit.  I understand the concerns, and that's the balance of putting together the budget."

REPORTER: That means you're not committed to allowing the money --

Cuomo: "You can't say -- money is fungible to a certain extent. There are a lot of needs the state has to fund and it's the balancing of those needs that will be done through the budget process."

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Subway to Secaucus

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, talks about the Bloomberg administration's tentative plan to extend the 7 train to New Jersey.

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Son of ARC: Mayor Bloomberg Wants to Extend Subway Across Hudson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killled the ARC tunnel twice, but it still won't die.

Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to build a transit tunnel under the Hudson, extending the number 7 subway train -- a new line under construction -- to New Jersey.  The project is projected to cost $5.3 billion, about half the ARC's pricetag.

Once, it  almost seemed like Mayor Michael Bloomberg was indifferent to the project's death.  "We are not a party to this," the Mayor said at a city hall news conference as the ARC tunnel was flatlining.  "This is a Port Authority Project...They have their own financial problems and they can afford some things and not others."

But around the same time

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Mayor Bloomberg Explores Extending Subway to New Jersey

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration is seriously exploring extending the No. 7 subway line to New Jersey. The project would connect New York transit riders to New Jersey at about half the price of the ARC tunnel, and would ease congestion and reduce carbon emmissions.

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NY Governor-Elect Cuomo Announces Transportation Transition Team

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Heavy on builders, light on planners (with the exception of NYU's Mitchell Moss).  Represented are members of the  airplane, truck, and  long distance bus industries. Missing:  advocates for biking, walking, and mass transit, unless you count real estate executive Peter Kalikow, the former MTA chief. From the press release:

Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure

  • Kendra Adams, Executive Director, New York State Motor Truck Association
  • Dave Barger, C.E.O., President and Director, JetBlue
  • Eugene Berardi, Jr., President and CEO, Adirondack Trailways
  • Lillian Borrone, Chairman, ENO Transportation Foundation
  • Martin Dilan, New York State Senate
  • David Gantt, NYS Assembly
  • Robert Gioia, former Chairman, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
  • Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice President, Delta Air Lines
  • Peter S. Kalikow, former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Gary Labarbera, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
  • Cheryl McKissack, Recording Secretary, Women Builders Council
  • George Miranda, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, President, Teamsters Hispanic Caucus
  • Mitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, Henry Hart Rice Professor Urban Policy and Planning at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • Andrew Murstein, founder, Board Member, and President of Medallion Financial Corp
  • Vincent Polimeni, Founder, President and C.E.O., Polimeni International, LLC
  • Denise Richardson, Managing Director, General Contractors Association of New York
  • Jay Simson, President, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
  • Rodney Slater, former Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation

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SERIES: BRT (as in Bus Rapid Transit)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BRT in Colombia (photo by Gabriel Mendoza Ardila)

Folks, these aren't new, but a reader requested the WNYC series on BRT from 2009.  And if you're interested in transit models from around the world, the stories still hold.

Bogota, Cleveland, Los AngelesThe Bronx

And: a bonus interview with Enrique Penalosa.

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Houston Chronicle: Loss of Red Light Revenue Creates Sea of Red Ink

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The surprise rejection of red light cameras in Houston won't help the city's budget problems anyway, the Houston Chronicle reports:

The city's decision to turn off its red-light cameras on Monday after voters rejected the devices earlier this month will have a $10 million ripple effect that has dramatically worsened an already bleak budget picture for this year and next, city officials said.
Even before the vote, Mayor Annise Parker's administration was struggling to close a budget shortfall of nearly $70 million through a combination of budget cuts, land sales and fee increases.

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McConnell Earmark Ban Support Could Mean Even Less for Transpo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Washington, DC -- Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) State and local transportation planners may have had an uneasy sleep last night after hearing that the Senate's top-ranking Republican is backing a ban on earmark spending in Congress.

The impact of Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell's (KY) pledge is still unclear. Senate Republicans are set to vote on a voluntary moratorium on pet-project spending on Tuesday. But McConnell's reversal from earmark champion to reluctant opponent is sure to throw uncertainty into hundreds of transportation projects around the country.

House Republicans have already pledged to forgo earmarks in spending bills that leave the chamber. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive next speaker of the House, has said the GOP majority will stick to the pledge in the next Congress. Now that Senate Republicans may follow suit, money for individual projects could become stickier business in the already murky legislative process.

But Democrats have made no such pledge and instead have defended the importance of earmarks to steering funding to projects in their states. Many Republicans make the same arguments but appear to have been overwhelmed by voters' apparent anger over government spending and the success of anti-earmark Tea Party candidates and other conservatives in the recent midterm elections.

So what will be the impact on transportation projects in the near term? Unclear. Many local papers are already worrying aloud that more cutbacks on earmarks could spell doom for critical local projects. But that may not necessarily be the case. Earmarks have many definitions, but the most common one refers to projects not requested by the White House or a federal agency but that make it into a bill anyway at the request of individual lawmakers. Even if that brand of earmark is avoided by some lawmakers, it would be unlikely to prevent Congress from spending an equal amount of money in a less defined way, leaving specific programming decisions up to federal agencies.

The House in July passed a $70 billion transportation and housing funding bill that contained some 560 earmarks, many for local transit and infrastructure projects. But the Senate has yet to act on the bill. In fact, non-stimulus transportation spending is likely to get wrapped up in a much larger "omnibus" spending bill likely to pass Congress in the next few months. Whether the bill contains any earmarks, and who has requested them, is an open question.

And what about the medium and long term? Earmark spending is a time-honored, if unseemly, practice in a Congress that derives it's power primarily by controlling the nation's purse strings. Will Republicans return to earmarking when the economy improves and there is less political pressure around spending?

We'll know a little more after Senate Republicans vote on the earmark moratorium Tuesday.

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Governor-Elect Cuomo Says Bridges Need Attention, Isn't Saying How He'll find the $$

Monday, November 15, 2010

(Tarrytown, New York -- Richard Yeh, WNYC) New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo toured the aging Tappan Zee Bridge with local transportation officials Monday, but offered no details on how to pay for an overhaul or possible replacement of the bridge.

A state report out last year estimated that a replacement bridge with commuter rail would cost about $6.4 billion. It also concluded that rehabilitation options "are not reasonable or prudent" since any overhaul would be massive and result in similar cost and environmental impacts, but with inferior engineering and retrofits that are complex and inherently risky.

About 150,000 vehicles a day cross the Tappan Zee, a three-mile-long bridge over the Hudson River that connects Rockland and Westchester counties. That's compared to just 18,000 when the bridge opened in 1955, and Cuomo says the situation "typifies" New York's transportation needs.

"There are roughly 17,000 bridges in the State of New York. About 5,000 of those bridges are deemed 'deficient' which means the replacement or repair is a chronic problem," says Cuomo, adding that many of those bridges were designed with approximate life span of about 50 years.

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Americans' Car Buying Is Buoying All Retail Sales

Monday, November 15, 2010

Commerce department figures released today show that retail sales didn't have such a bad month in October. Total sales were up six percent from the same period a year ago -- but auto sales were up almost fifteen percent.   Did you buy a car last month?  Tell us why!

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New York City Picks Finalists for Taxis of Tomorrow -- You Can Vote!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Here's one-- there are three other "Taxi of Tomorrow Finalists:  Click here for the others --

From the Press Release: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner/Chairman David S. Yassky today unveiled the three finalists to be the new, exclusive New York City taxicab. The competition, called the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” will introduce the first-ever custom-built taxicab specifically designed for New York City. The Taxi of Tomorrow project includes a public input campaign where New Yorkers can vote of the features they want to see in the next New York City taxicab. The winning vehicle will be the exclusive New York City taxicab for a minimum of ten years and will be chosen from among several competitive proposals. The three designs selected as the finalists to be the Taxi of Tomorrow are submissions from Ford Motor Company, Karsan USA and Nissan North America, Inc.

Love 'em? Hate 'em?  Vote here

And send us your comments!

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NY Governor Slaps His Counterpart on ARC Tunnel, Sort Of

Monday, November 15, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  New York's outgoing Governor, David Paterson has been a Saturday Night Live-joke pretty much since he ascended to the post when Eliot Spitzer had a bit of, um, scandal.   Even before two major investigations and Paterson's decision not to run for re-election, he's had a bit of trouble being taken seriously.   But today, he chose a high-speed rail conference in Manhattan to poke his counterpart across the Hudson, NJ Governor Chris Christie,  for making a "somewhat anachronistic" decision to kill the ARC transit tunnel.

Paterson was careful to say,  not knowing NJ's entire fiscal picture, he wasn't saying Christie made the "wrong" decision.  But Paterson said that the entire region's growth depends on increasing transit capacity.

"In the past, even in times of grave financial distress," Paterson said " the Erie Lackawanna railroad was built, and the Erie Canal was built, and that's what made New York the financial epicenter of the entire country."

Paterson himself would like some big infrastructure projects, like a high-speed rail line.  Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has already written to the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, asking for more funding for a New York high speed rail system.   Incoming Republican Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio are sending their high speed rail money back to the federal government, saying the overall cost of the systems would burden local taxpayers.

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Christie Skeptical of Global Warming

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Governor Chris Christie, who recently killed the nation's largest transit project, the ARC tunnel, says "more science" is needed to convince him that humans cause global warming.  The Huffington Post has the full transcript of his remarks, and an update from Christie's press office.  Christie has become a darling of  Republicans this fall, winning the Tea Party straw poll for President, though he recently told "Meet the Press, there is "absolutely" no chance he'll run for President in 2012, but as for 2016 "I''ll need a job, you know"? -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation

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ProPublica: Obama Stimulus Claims "Half True:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obama on 60 Minutes: Photo: 60 Minutes

Propublica fact-checks Obama's 60 Minutes Interview:

Obama says:

"One of the interesting things about the Recovery Act was most of the projects came in under budget, faster than expected, because there's just not a lot of work there."

Says ProPublica:

"Obama makes a valid point about this being a good time to get deals on infrastructure projects. The recession has created desperate workers willing to work cheaper, and the cost of materials is still relatively low. Obama's point that this was borne out by the stimulus projects is on target. But he stretched the facts -- at least what is actually known -- when he claimed most projects have come in under budget and faster than expected. And so we rate his claim Half True."

But whether the work is done faster and cheaper than expected, that may not address the concerns of many Americans:  did it create enough jobs?   For Obama's thoughts on that, continue reading.

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SERIES: Is Bus Rapid Transit The Solution to Transit's Fiscal Woes?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The HealthLine rapid transit bus in Cleveland.

Demand for public transportation is rising, but transit authorities across the nation are facing budget cuts. Many cities are testing rapid transit buses, which are hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper than rail lines. Reporter Dan Bobkoff takes a ride on Cleveland's HealthLine Rapid Transit Bus.  The story is here.

And you can see and hear the whole Marketplace series on the Future of Transportation here.

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SERIES: Houston Mayor Wants to Prod residents into EV's AND Cars that Talk

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

(Houston -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF)   Houston is best known as the capital of Big Oil.  But Mayor Annise Parker says alternative energy is on the way:   She tells us:    "We're a sprawling city that's built around the automobile. If we can convince Houstonians that electric vehicles are the way to go, then it can work anywhere."  That city struggles to provide enough chargers to meet demand. Full story, on Marketplace.

AND:  In ten years, driving will be nothing like it is today -- cars will "talk" to each other and stop signs, making it harder to crash -- and easier to shop. But can you deal with a car that bosses you around?  Andrea Bernstein's story is here.

And you can see the whole Marketplace series on the Future of Transportation here.

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NJ Governor's Office on Amtrak Talks: ARC Still Dead

Monday, November 08, 2010

This just issued by Governor Chris Christie's office on talk of Amtrak reviving ARC:

"To repeat yet again, the ARC Tunnel project is over.   While no new conversations have taken place between Amtrak and NJ Transit, the Governor previously tasked both DOT Commissioner James Simpson and NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein to work with the pertinent partners to explore fiscally viable alternatives for a trans-Hudson tunnel.  As such, we will continue to explore solutions to the trans-Hudson transportation challenge."

-- Transportation Nation

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Bloomberg Takes City Sustainability Program Global

Monday, November 08, 2010

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Rides the Subway in Hong Kong

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Climate change legislation -- "cap and trade" as Republicans called it on the campaign trail -- took a serious beating last week.  A bill, as you may recall, passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but went nowhere in the U.S. Senate, and prospects seem dim for federal action on climate change in the near term.  Instead, the debate -- and any action -- will likely take place on the smaller stage of city halls across the nation.  To underline this (and perhaps his own national ambitions)  -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is the new head of a global cities climate "leadership group,"  spent time riding the subways and stumping for his cause in Hong Kong over the weekend.    Here' s an excerpt of his speech:

“Let me start out by saying, my colleagues: it was just five short years ago that 18 of the world’s great cities came together, to share best practices and make common cause in the greatest global challenge of our time – and that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute so heavily to climate change.

“We all recognized that cities – where for the first time in history, half the world’s population now live and which together account for more than 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas production – holds the future of humanity.

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52 to 45: How Republicans Shellacked Democrats

Thursday, November 04, 2010

From how Pres. Obama's party lost control of the House to why Sarah Palin isn't going away in 2012, listen as WNYC's Brian Lehrer, Andrea Bernstein, Bob Hennelly and Azi Paybarah chew over the election results in this 2010 swan song edition of Digesting Politics.

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Political Road Trippers Reflect on the Election

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Now that the election is over, Joe Klein, TIME political columnist, Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, and Farai Chideya, host of Pop + Politics reflect on their political road trips around the country.

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