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Andrea Bernstein

Andrea Bernstein appears in the following:

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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Transportation Nation: Voter Rejection of Spending Clouds Transpo's Future

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

In early 2009, the president let Congress essentially write the stimulus bill. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allowed governors to spend infrastructure money as they always had, based on formulas they'd always used. Those policies favored roads, and in some cases sprawl—directly contrary to Obama’s stated policy of encouraging denser growth.

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Voter Rejection of Spending, Debt Cloud Transpo's Future

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

John Hickenlooper, the Governor Elect of Colorado and a transit advocate, one of the few Democrats who bucked the Republican tsunami in 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) In Florida in 2008, African Americans waited in lines for hours for the chance to elect the first black President. Sometimes old, sometimes infirm, sometimes young and busy, they still waited. But since then, many of them lost their homes, and in 2010, many weren't voting at all.  That's what campaign volunteer Marcia Richardson told me outside a virtually empty early polling place on Martin Luther King boulevard in Tampa last week.

Turns out they never came. On The Takeaway this morning, Emery University Professor Audra Gillespie noted, "Overall, nationally African-American vote share in the entire electorate actually fell not just from 2008 but also from 2006."

This was just one of the contributing factors to the Democrats massive losses last night.  It wasn't just that President Obama had riled up his opponents.  It was that he'd deeply disappointed many supporters, again and again.

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Transit Tax ballot measure looses in Florida; House Transportation Chair Ousted

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Some preliminary results: The Hillsborough transit tax lost 3 to 2. Early this morning, House Transportation Chair Jim Oberstar narrowly lost to Republican Chip Cravaack. High speed rail opponents Scott Walker (Wisconsin) and John Kasich (Ohio) won, and Rick Scott (Florida) is ahead, though that race hasn't been called.

High speed rail proponent Jerry Brown wins in California, and transit advocate John Hickenlooper will be the next Colorado governor.

More results, and analysis, later.

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Hope turns to Nope, No Dope

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

That's tonight's headline. Complete wrap-up on how transpo measures failed tomorrow on TN -- AB

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Transit Advocate Hickenlooper wins in CO

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Blue patch in a red quilt

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Come livechat the results with us

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I'm part of the WNYC chat team watching the results. Come join our chat here. -- Andrea Bernstein, TN

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Experiment in New York with Private Replacement for Public Transit? Notsogood

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A dollar van on Bushwick Avenue

A dollar van on Bushwick Avenue (Photo by Stephen Nessen)

When New York City eliminated dozens of bus routes this June -- the largest such cutbacks in more than a generation, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission thought it could help by quickly licensing private commuter vans to take over those routes.   But it turns out for whatever reasons -- already low ridership on those routes, public unfamiliarity with the private vans, a $2 charge on top of any connecting subway fares -- drivers are now abandoning those routes.  Matthew Schuerman has the full story, here.

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Transportation Nation: In a Climate of Cutbacks, Voters Wary of New Transit Projects

Monday, November 01, 2010

This year's sour voter mood is about reduced circumstances, drastic cuts in local government services, higher taxes and fees, fewer jobs, and dramatically higher health care costs—despite health care reform and an $800 billion stimulus bill. All of which has created a wary public, seemingly unwilling to spend on big transit projects like the ARC tunnel, high speed rail, or even roads.

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Wariness about spending on transportation and infrastructure accompanies voters to the polls

Monday, November 01, 2010

Denver Poster on Fare Hikes

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  It's been a rough election season out there.  Unless you've crawled into a cave for the last three months, you know the airwaves have been flooded with ads calling candidates everything from thieves to hooligans to rogues and everything in between.   But the sour voter mood isn't just about advertisements -- it's about reduced circumstances, drastic cuts in local government services, higher taxes and fees, fewer jobs, and dramatically higher health care costs -- despite  health care reform and an $800 billion stimulus bill.

Or as one Florida election volunteer Marcia told me in a largely African American neighborhood in Tampa last week:  "People are disappointed," she said. "They thought they were going to have this magic wand that I'm going to save my home because we have Obama as President.  And I'm going to have a job because we have Obama as President."   But then, people lost their jobs, and they lost their homes.

"Where's the change?" retired Hoovers vacuum worker Alice Prestier asked me in Canton, Ohio.  Or, more bitterly, as one Colorado contractor told me in Loveland, Colorado:   “I don’t need to spend $2,000 to support every illegal f*****g Mexican in this country. Nor do I need to keep busting my ass for this government. You know, my son can’t ride the bus to school anymore.  He’s got to walk two miles to school, explain that to me!  You know, why does education have to go, but yet we can support illegals, we can piss money away on stuff that doesn’t’ matter, a health care plan that will never work?"

All of which has created a wary public, seemingly unwilling to spend on big transit projects like the ARC tunnel, high speed rail, or even roads.    Even though the President has bracketed this campaign season with a call for $50 billion in additional spending on roads, rails, and airports and the distribution, last week, of some $2.5 billion in high speed rail grants, kitchen-table cut backs have spilled over into an attitude about government spending.  Where once voters seemed to have faith that large infrastructure projects would create jobs, both in the long and short terms, they now worry that worthy as projects may be, there simply isn't enough money to spend on things like new transit tunnels, high speed rail systems, or even roads.

The Democratic Senate candidate in Colorado, Michael Bennet, was an early defector from the Obama Labor Day plan, and voters -- Republicans, Democrats --  told me that was "about right."

“It should all be fixed,” Debbie Horoschock told me at the Wilkes-Barre farmers market in late September" of the president’s proposal to spend money fixing rail, roads, and airports. So she thinks that would be a good thing to spend money on? “No. But they should be fixed.” How are they going to be fixed without money? “I don’t know how they are going to be fixed without money. But we need money to fix the damn roads.”

High speed rail, actually pilloried by some candidates (Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida, John Kasich in Ohio) gets a lot more raised eyebrows.  "They just shouldn't be spending on that project," one Ohio retiree  in downtown Canton who wouldn't give her name told me.  Even if that meant losing hundreds of millions of federal money coming straight to this depressed area?  "Even so."

There are some bright spots for those who support big transit projects.  In Colorado, the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, John Hickenlooper, who made his bones pushing a sales tax for transit when he first became Mayor of Denver, in 2004, is leading in most polls, and his support of a sales tax is drawing some crossover support. And in Tampa, a similar measure is intriguing some voters who are supporting Marco Rubio, the Tea Party-backed candidate for U.S. Senate.  The logic seems to be in how the tax is paid--it's a pay-as-you-go tax, not a large, one-time, acquisition of debt, much disfavored this election year.

Transportation Nation has been out in swing counties this election season. What we've learned about how America wants to build its future has been surprising, enlightening, sometimes harsh, and always deeply, deeply educational.  Everyone looking at how government should address these questions in the next Congress should be reading these posts.  In order of our visits:

Luzerne County, Pennsylvania

Weld County, Colorado and Jefferson County, Colorado

Stark County, Ohio

Jackson County, Michigan

Hillsborough County, Florida

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