Kate Hinds appears in the following:
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Republicans said today that privatizing the Northeast Corridor would bring high-speed rail to the country faster -- and more cheaply -- than Amtrak can.
Congressman John Mica, the chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has never hidden his disdain for Amtrak -- or his enthusiasm for partnering with the private sector. In a statement today, he said: “After 40 years of highly-subsidized, poorly-managed Amtrak operations, it’s time for Congress to change the direction of America’s failed high-speed and intercity passenger rail service...After spending billions of dollars, Amtrak and its snail speed, last-century level of service have reached the end of the line.”
The plan, which Mica unveiled today along with Congressman Bill Shuster, is called the “Competition for Intercity Passenger Rail in America Act.” The pair introduced it in a video conference.
A draft of the legislation can be found here.
The goal is to separate the Northeast Corridor -- Amtrak's busiest route -- from the rest of the system, transfer title from Amtrak to the US Department of Transportation, and put development of high-speed rail along the corridor out for bid. Republicans said this plan would increase ridership, lower costs, and bring fast trains to the corridor in less than ten years.
Amtrak, which had been going on the offensive this week about its high-speed rail plans for the Northeast Corridor, reacted swiftly to Mica's proposal. Joseph Boardman, Amtrak's president and CEO, aired his dismay in a phone conference call held earlier this afternoon. "There seems to be a lack of recognition that Amtrak is the right organization to deliver better intercity passenger rail service in this country," he said. Boardman said that Amtrak had made headway in reducing debt and improving equipment, and was already looking at a public-private partnership for high-speed rail in the Northeast. "This asset, this transportation artery is critical, and that ... is lost in this, because the focus of this particular proposal is about financing and real estate, not transportation first."
Democrats did not greet the proposal warmly. New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who sits on the Senate's transportation committee, said that "the Republican proposal to privatize rail on the Northeast Corridor would increase costs for passengers and make rail travel less reliable. I will fight in the Senate to stop any plan that threatens Amtrak and commuters on the Northeast Corridor."
Other responses were more measured, if lukewarm. Petra Todorovich, a high-speed rail expert at the Regional Plan Association, said "we don't think it's the worst idea in the world." She added that Mica's proposal was useful in that "he's starting a conversation about what it would take to implement world-class high speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. This is the first time we’ve had this conversation at the congressional level.” But she added that "I think it's unlikely that private companies would bid unless federal money is on the table. You can't have a public/private partnership without public money."
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
A sunny day on Varick Street in Soho.
TN MOVING STORIES: Ethanol Subsidies Survive Senate Vote -- Metro Transit Can Now Go To Seattle Mariners Games
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Following a court ruling, Seattle's Metro can now begin providing public transit service to sporting events. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Toronto's mayor is interested in selling naming rights to subway stations, bridges, and highways in order to raise badly-needed revenue. (The Globe and Mail)
Bus-only lanes are coming to LA's Wilshire Boulevard. (Los Angeles Times)
Members of the French parliament are pressuring Air France to place a large order with the French plane-maker Airbus over US company Boeing. (Marketplace)
A new US DOT distracted driving ad features characters from the Disney movie 'Cars 2." Because only bad guys drive distracted.
Ethanol subsidies survived a Senate vote. (NPR)
So many people are using Montreal's bike lanes that the lanes are reaching capacity. (Montreal Gazette)
Las Vegas is using Krispy Kremes to try to lure drivers out of their cars and onto buses. (Las Vegas Sun)
Anthony Weiner's car isn't registered. (NY Daily News)
Lose your NYC MetroCard? Now you can file a claim online. (TransitBlogger)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The 10-block extension of the popular park the High Line ends near 30th Street at a green-and-white striped parking lot. In addition to food carts and beer and wine vendors, The Lot will play host to a variety of public art projects throughout the summer.
TN MOVING STORIES: China Wants Its Fast Rail Network To Extend Beyond Its Borders -- Ethanol Tax Subsidies Up For A Vote
Monday, June 13, 2011
China wants to build a network of high-speed rail that extends beyond its borders. (NPR)
Chicago's transpo commissioner wants to install video screens at bus shelters that "would include everything from Bus Tracker information now available on the internet and cell phones to the current inventory for car- and bike-sharing and how long it would take to walk to popular destinations" (Chicago Sun-Times). He also wants to give pedestrians a leg up at some busy intersections. (NBC Chicago)
New York City's pedicabs may soon get new rules. (WNYC)
U.S. airlines brought in over $3 billion in bag fees last year. (The Hill)
Who's blocking Manhattan's bike lanes? Pretty much everybody and everything, according to a DNA Info investigation.
Nearly $100 million in federal transportation grants will be returned if the City Council's $50 million in additional cuts hold firm, according to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. (Detroit News)
As Libya faces a gas shortage, women get a break at a female-only gas station in Tripoli. (NPR)
One opinion writer says mass transit's time may finally have come to central Indiana. (Indianapolis Star)
TN's Todd Zwillich talks about the Senate's upcoming vote on whether to repeal ethanol tax subsidies. You can listen to the conversation below, or check it out on The Takeaway.
TN MOVING STORIES: The US DOT Puts Two More Bus Companies Out of Business -- Two Cities, Two Different Views of Electric Bikes
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The US Department of Transportation put two bus companies out of business this weekend. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Meanwhile, eight times since October, U.S. bus-safety regulators gave extensions allowing operators to stay on the road after finding problems serious enough to shut them down. (Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle)
As New Jersey emerges from the financial downturn, access to transit is driving the office market recovery. (Wall Street Journal)
Can electric vehicles create a sustainable job market -- and would the cars sell as well without a tax subsidy? (NPR)
Sales of full-size pickup trucks have stalled; GM plans to trim production accordingly. (Detroit Free Press)
New York City wants to put cameras on some street sweepers to catch alternate side parking violations. (New York Times)
A New Jersey Assembly panel plans to examine Governor Christie's decision to pull the state from a multistate pact to reduce greenhouse gases. (AP via NJ.com)
In New York, new East River ferry service begins today. (MyFoxNY.com)
Some members of Manhattan's Community Board 8 are not loving the Central Park Conservancy's plan to put in cross-park bike paths. (West Side Spirit)
TN MOVING STORIES: Used Car Prices Soaring -- NYC Taxi Meets Nascar -- LA Unsure of How Many Parking Meters it Has
Friday, June 10, 2011
Ray LaHood is waiting for more data before he weighs in on whether the government should regulate communications technology built directly into cars. (AP via BusinessWeek)
Used car prices are soaring. (The Takeaway)
A cut in federal transportation funds could hurt Westchester and Putnam County's transit plans. (LoHud.com)
Toyota predicts a 31% drop in profits. (New York Times)
The iconic NYC taxi meets Nascar. (Wall Street Journal)
New York's C train cars are the oldest in the subway system, and the Franklin Avenue Shuttle is the train least likely to have working A/C. (NY Daily News)
Will a bike share program come to Pittsburgh? (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Los Angeles doesn't know how many parking meters it has, and so doesn't know how much revenue it should be collecting from them. (Los Angeles Times)
Paris will have the world's first municipal electric vehicle car share program. (Green Futures)
All aboard the Brighton 'bike train.' (The Guardian)
Thursday, June 09, 2011
(Transportation Nation) A New York-bike-ticket-protest-video has been making the internet rounds (and we reported on how TN producer Alex Goldmark makes an auditory cameo), and this morning it collided with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The mayor was in East Harlem this morning to announce a plan to install free Wi-Fi in 26 city parks. In the Q&A afterwards he fielded questions on a range of issues from Anthony Weiner to pension reform to Alec Baldwin's purported mayoral run. But the journalist posing the last question asked the mayor about the video, which filmmaker Casey Neistat made following his being ticketed for not riding in a bike lane. You can listen to the question and the mayor's response here; a transcript follows.
Mayor Bloomberg (responding to whether or not it is fair to ticket a cyclist for not riding in a bike lane if the lanes are encumbered):
There’s nothing fair in life. But the bottom line, is every once in a while, I don’t know if we gave a ticket out that we shouldn’t have, I haven’t seen the video, but generally speaking, you have to obey the laws. And I think there’s a lot of people in the city who love to ride bicycles and we’re trying to accommodate them just like we’re trying to accommodate the people that want to walk on the sidewalks, cross the streets, just like we’re trying to accommodate those people who want to drive their cars. You have to obey the law. If you don’t obey the law you’re not going to have the rights to do things that you want to do, and bicyclists are just as required to obey the laws as anybody else, the police can’t spend all their time going after anybody that breaks the law. Generally speaking bicyclists are going to stay in bicycle lanes because of public pressure, the same ways that smokers aren’t going to smoke in this park, we’re not going to give out tickets, it’s public pressure -- the same way you pay your taxes. Most people in America, unlike other places in the world, pay their taxes, and that lets us go after the handful that don’t. If nobody paid their taxes – and you have that in some countries, it’s a very difficult problem for government. Thank you very much.
Transportation Nation looked at New York City law and bike lanes -- and whether riders are legally obligated to ride in them -- in this post.
TN MOVING STORIES: Senate to Look At Rail Terror Threat -- LA May KO Traffic Cams -- Discord Within OPEC
Thursday, June 09, 2011
After a surprising commission vote, Los Angeles's red light traffic cameras may be on the way out. (Los Angeles Times)
The Senate will hold a hearing on terror threats to rail next week. (The Hill)
Richard Florida writes about the financial benefits of living in a transit-friendly neighborhood. (The Atlantic)
The UK's top ten cycle theft hotspots are laid bare in The Guardian.
Boston's aging T trains need $100 million in work immediately in order to keep them running. (Boston Globe)
There's discord within OPEC as members fail to agree on raising oil production levels. (New York Times)
San Francisco OKs parking permits for nannies. (AP via Mercury News)
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
(Transportation Nation) NJ Transit, like many states and cities, already has a security campaign in place, urging customers to phone in reports of "suspicious activity." Now, the campaign has a new dimension: Text Against Terror.
Customers who see something worrisome -- an unattended package, or the aforementioned "suspicious activity" -- are being urged to text NJ Transit Police at NJTPD (65873).
"Texting is more discreet, so people can report their tip in a far more unobtrusive way," said Courtney Carroll, a spokesperson for NJ Transit. "So if something is going on next to them they can immediately report it -- rather than having to move away and wait to make a phone call."
NJ Transit is the third largest transit system in the country, and NJ Transit police usually field 30 to 40 calls per year on the the existing security hotline.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
(Transportation Nation) Anyone who's stood on a street corner in New York City has probably marveled at the general unwillingness of users to follow traffic rules. Now you can see an illustrated annotation of bad behavior taking place in one Manhattan intersection. Be sure to watch the video until the end as it's ordered by type of chaos, starting with bikes, then moving on to cars.
This master's thesis video, (first posted by Buzzfeed) by Ron Gabriel (which reminded me of the Air Traffic Controller game) exposes what he says is "a clash of long-standing bad habits — such as pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights, and motorists plowing through crosswalks."
TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit Taking Corporate Naming Bids, Metro Detroit Must Integrate Transit -- Or Else, and Rahm Emanuel: Power Bicyclist
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
NJ Transit is taking corporate bids for naming its stations, terminals, and trains -- and one bidder is crying foul. (The Star-Ledger)
If regional Detroit can't agree on an integrated rail and bus system, they risk losing millions in federal dollars -- and what may be "our last, best opportunity." (Detroit Free Press)
Mayor Bloomberg floated a new plan to expand taxi service in the outer boroughs by setting up hundreds of stands where livery cabs could legally pick up passengers on the street. (Wall Street Journal)
US DOT head Ray LaHood went to New Orleans for the groundbreaking of their streetcar expansion project. (Fast Lane)
Is texting while driving as dangerous as we think -- and is a ban the right way to prevent it? (The Takeaway)
Delta is scrambling to do damage control after charging a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from deployment in Afghanistan $200 each for extra bags. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
It took two years to plan for parking at the upcoming US Open in Bethesda. (WAMU)
Chicago will get protected bike lanes, and Rahm Emanuel bikes 25 miles on weekends. (Chicago Sun-Times)
97 degrees in Minneapolis = Twin Cities highway damage. (Boing Boing)
A dancing traffic cop has become a sensation in Manila. (BBC News video)
Owning a Harley-Davidson in China is a status symbol for a small slice of the aspirational Chinese consumer. (Marketplace)
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The US Department of Transportation wants NJ Transit to return $271 million it gave the state for the ARC tunnel.
The digging had been underway for a year when Governor Christie killed the project last autumn out of what he said were concerns about potential cost overruns. When the Federal Transit Administration sent a bill, NJ Transit hired a DC law firm.
So far, New Jersey has spent about a million dollars in legal fees on the battle. Officials said the state doesn't have a set limit on legal costs. Meanwhile, interest on the $271 million debt -- which the feds say the state is also responsible for -- is accruing at 1%, or about $225,000 a month.
NJ Transit spokesman Paul Wyckoff said that “talks between parties are continuing.” He added: “Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, and taxpayers deserve the very best effort we can provide them.”
The US DOT said that there was no new update, and Governor Christie's office did not respond to requests for comments.
TN Moving Stories: NJ's ARC Tunnel Legal Bill Now Over $1m, and Chicago Kicks off 100 Miles of New Bike Lanes
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Legal fees in New Jersey's fight over the canceled ARC Hudson River rail tunnel have passed $1 million -- and are growing. (AP via NJ.com)
Six months into the job, the governor of Connecticut still hasn't appointed a transportation commissioner -- perhaps because the department has a reputation for being more focused on highways instead of mass transit. (Wall Street Journal)
Chicago will officially mark the beginning of construction of 100 miles of new protected bike lanes today. (Chicago Sun-Times)
The Bronx Borough President has a plan to expand taxi service in outer boroughs. (New York Daily News)
Is it mold? Is it chemical? Is it the Hudson River? Riders -- and an olfactory specialist -- try to ID that special PATH train smell. (New York Times)
The mid-Atlantic regions kicks off its "Smooth Operator" program -- which is a program that targets aggressive drivers, not a multi-state Sade concert tour. Drivers, take note: move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy. (AP via Washington Post)
Monday, June 06, 2011
The Beacon Theater is set to play host to the 65th Tony Awards on Sunday.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Sky Express might have continued to operate under another name despite a ban. (The Takeaway)
The New York Times expresses doubts at whether the city's upcoming bike share program will be financially viable.
Why haven't more cities followed London's congestion pricing scheme? (Next American City)
A tunnel on the Paris-to-Antwerp high-speed rail line has been topped with solar panels. (The Guardian; video below)
Beverly Hills school officials don't want Los Angeles's Westside subway to run underneath their high school. (Los Angeles Times)
Crains New York writes: "It took a week for the governor's office to deny a rumor that Christopher Ward would be dumped as executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey after this summer."
Chicago is getting New York-style bike lanes. (WBEZ)
TN Moving Stories: Volt Dealers Grab Tax Break For Themselves, & Bike Lawbreakers in CA City Get Choice: Ticket -- or Traffic School
Friday, June 03, 2011
President Obama visits a Chrysler plant in Toledo today to talk about the industry's recovery. (Detroit Free Press)
Laura D'Andrea Tyson writes in the New York Times "the eroding quality of infrastructure is making the United States a less attractive place to do business."
Huntington Beach has become the first city in California to offer traffic school for bicyclists who break the law. (Los Angeles Times)
Ocean City, Maryland, is trying to lure tourists with the promise of free gas. (WAMU)
Some Chevy Volt dealers are taking the $7,500 tax rebate for themselves, then selling the cars "used." (The Takeaway)
The DOT fined Continental Airlines and US Airways for violating price advertising rules. (Los Angeles Times)
Long Island City (Queens) will get bike lanes this summer. (New York Daily News)
NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan talked about pothole repair before the City Council. (New York Daily News)
Thursday, June 02, 2011
In his second installment of "On the Go" -- a video question-and-answer session -- US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is in full Your-Uncle-From-Peoria discovers youtube mode.
He went to little Jackie's baseball game, had Aunt Paula's delicious ribs on Memorial Day, and stayed out late waving glow sticks with little Brittney and Paul, Jr. No, just kidding.
He awarded $2 billion in high-speed rail grants, kicked off the "click it or ticket" seatbelt campaign, unveiled new fuel economy labels, and delivered two commencement addresses.
"I even got called a hipster by the Huffington Post," he said, "(and) I didn't know what that meant."
By the way, he really is from Peoria.
You can watch the video below, or go here.
Chrysler Back in the Big Three, No Dulles Metrorail Agreement Yet, & Summer at the Jersey Shore Brings Out the Bike Thieves
Thursday, June 02, 2011
The Sky Express Bus Company, involved in a fatal crash this weekend, had the worst record in the country for driver fatigue and falsifying driving records. Listen to the discussion from The Takeaway, below:
A Ray LaHood-mediated meeting yielded no agreement about where to locate the Dulles Metrorail station. (WAMU)
Chrysler is back in the Big Three. (WBEZ)
But: US auto sales slipped in May as supply dropped. (BusinessWeek)
Ah, summer at the Jersey shore: surf, sand, and bike thieves. (Asbury Park Press)
Atlanta adds -- and deletes -- items on its transportation wish list. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Chicago will end free transit rides for senior citizens on September 1. (Chicago Tribune)
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
There's traffic of a different sort atop three New York City bridges these days.
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent out a birth announcement of sorts to report that there are now nine baby peregrine falcons atop three MTA-operated bridges.
Two females, named Rose and Sunset, hatched atop the 693-foot Brooklyn tower at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge:
Three males, named Locust, Edgewater and Bayside, were born 360-feet atop the Bronx tower at the Throgs Neck Bridge:
And Floyd, Rocky, Marine and Breezy were born inside a World War II gun turret 215-feet up on the Rockaway (Queens) tower of the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge:
The chicks were born in early May.
According to the New York State Department of Environment Conservation, peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out in the 1960s because of pesticide use. They remain on the state's endangered species list. The birds have been nesting on New York City bridges since 1983, and the city's Department of Environmental Protection estimates that there are 16 pairs of peregrine falcons living here. City falcons are banded so they can be monitored by federal wildlife officials.
“It doesn’t cost the Authority anything to have the falcons nest here,” said Throgs Neck Maintenance Superintendent Carlton Cyrus. “We just give them some peace and quiet and during nesting season make sure that our contractors and maintenance workers don’t disturb them. This allows the chicks to hatch and gives them a greater opportunity for survival.”