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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

Interstate of the Union

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) This was the second year in a row that high-speed rail got a prominent place in the State of the Union -- but it got tepid applause. Is America finally ready to support it? Or is it still too politically controversial? Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein talked about this on today's Brian Lehrer Show. Listen below!

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Regular Ferry Service Coming to East River This Spring

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New Yorkers who commute between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens will have another transportation option this June. The city's Economic Development Corporation has awarded a contract that paves the way for all-day, year-round East River ferry service.

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TN Moving Stories: Cuomo's Budget Hits Transit With $100 Million Cut, NYC To Begin Year-Round East River Ferry Service, and Right Now Is a Good Time To Be In th

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget cuts transit by $100 million. (WNYC)

Right now is a good time to be in the road salt business. (WBUR)

Rock salt in Chelsea, MA (David Boeri/WBUR)

Year-round ferry service will begin on the East River this June. "The service is an attempt by the Bloomberg administration and the City Council to create a robust and viable mass transit alternative for a growing waterfront population that has struggled with clogged subway lines and bus routes that have been truncated or eliminated altogether." (New York Times)

Toyota's sales jumped 17% last month. Pretty good -- but not as good as Ford. (CNBC)

A new report says that President Obama's goal of putting 1 million plug-in electric cars on the road within four years is unlikely, because automakers aren't planning to make enough cars due to uncertain consumer demand. (Washington Post)

...And this is illustrated by Jalopnik, which says that Chevy sold 312 Volts last month. And 28,172 Silverado pickups.

Chicago's Metra commuter line gets a new director. (Chicago Tribune)

Transportation Nation director Andrea Bernstein will be on today's Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC). Topic? "The Interstate of the Union."

San Francisco has cut school buses by 50 percent while increasing transit fares; one Bay Area politician wants to help students out by making the system free to students for the rest of the school year. (Bay Citizen)

And you shall know them by their bikes: Good says that the graphic Bikes of San Francisco "makes (a) compelling case for the bike as the marker of neighborhood identity, and does so with uncanny accuracy."

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:  Real-time bus information finally comes...to one line in Brooklyn.  House Republicans want to dump the federal urban transit program "New Starts," which could imperil a number of projects -- including Houston's light rail expansion.  Red light cameras save lives--and engender controversy.  And: as reported above, Governor Cuomo's budget hits NY's mass transit with another $100 million cut.

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Red Light Cameras: Money Makers -- AND Life Savers

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

(Photo by FringeHog/Flickr)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study today that says traffic cameras save lives -- despite the fact that many cities have deemed them too politically divisive to use.

To quote from the study: "Red light cameras saved 159 lives in 2004-08 in 14 of the biggest US cities...Had cameras been operating during that period in all large cities, a total of 815 deaths would have been prevented."

So why isn't the technology more widely adopted--particularly at a time when so many cash-strapped localities are slashing traffic-enforcement budgets?  Because opponents say cities are motivated by earning ticket revenues, not preventing accidents.

That sentiment was the driving force behind a Houston ballot measure last year, in which residents voted down that city's use of the cameras.  “They believed it wasn’t about safety, they believed it was about money, and they stood with us and they voted it,” said one man who helped organize the petition to put the issue on the ballot.  (That same man also said he felt like a "patriot" when he ran a red light.)

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NYC MTA: Budget Cuts Will NOT Mean Service Cuts or Fare Hikes This Year

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

New York's transit cuts (photo by Azi Paybarah/WNYC)

From the NYC MTA:

"We understand that the State’s fiscal crisis requires sacrifice from every area funded by the State, including the MTA. Because the MTA has already taken unprecedented measures to reduce costs, finding an additional $100 million in 2011 will be very painful, especially with sizable deficits still projected for 2012 and 2014. As we continue cost-cutting, further reductions become harder and harder to achieve.

"But we must fill this gap, and we will fill it without resorting to fare and toll increases or service cuts, because our riders have already been hit with these painful measures over the past year. Instead, we will work to find additional cost-savings through efficiencies and improved productivity throughout our company. We are hopeful that this year we can work with our labor unions to find productivity improvements that protect jobs even as we reduce costs.

"Making these cuts will be painful, but we can only spend as much money as we have. Given the financial pressures facing the State, local governments, and every New Yorker, our only choice is to manage the MTA so that every dollar counts."

And the Straphangers Campaign sends this along:

"Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed state budget has mostly good news for New York City-area transit riders in these tough economic times.

"It's true that the 2011-2012 State budget proposed to diverts a net of $100 million from funds originally passed for and dedicated to the MTA. In the view of the Straphangers Campaign and many other groups, those funds should be used to meet transit needs.

"However, the MTA says it will not have to turn to service cuts or fare increases to make up the shortfall. That's very welcome after an unprecedented three years in a row of higher fares – as well as last year's service cuts, the worst in memory.

"The MTA says that it will have to take "painful" actions. The Straphangers Campaign and other groups will monitor the agency's response closely to see that the transit system has adequate resources to provide safe, reliable, well-maintained, secure and clean service."

More analysis on the way.

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TN Moving Stories: NYC Mulling Over Sliding Doors for Subway Platforms, Netherlands to Put Solar Panels on Some Bike Lanes, and SF Considers Parking Permits for

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another day of wintry delight in NYC. (Kate Hinds)

Hope you're not flying today. Via CNN: "Airlines canceled flights by the hundreds for Tuesday as a massive snowstorm of historic proportions began to coat the nation's heartland with a thick blanket of snow."

New Jersey Transit opened a new light-rail station in Bayonne, marking the completion of a one-mile extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line from the previous southern terminus at 22nd Street to 8th Street in Bayonne. (NorthJersey.com)

New York's MTA may install sliding mechanical doors on subway platforms so riders can't fall, jump -- or get pushed -- onto the tracks.  The metal-and-glass doors would be part of a barrier along a platform's edge and would open only after a train stops at the station, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority document shows. (NY Daily News)

The US issued a travel warning for the United Kingdom, citing “the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems, aviation and other travel infrastructure in the U.K.” (Bloomberg News)

You can listen to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget address--and learn how transit will fare--on It's A Free Country beginning at 1pm. Which brings us to Tweet of the Day, from WNYC's Azi Paybarah: "anyone on this Amtrak train to Albany not going to #nygovCuomo's budget presentation?"

Florida ranks number one in the country for fatal bicycle crashes. The problem is so bad, communities are spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on plans to make the roads safe, but a TV news investigation found little to nothing has been done. (NBC2)

Birmingham's mayor said he will pursue a two-pronged approach to transit that involves lobbying for state funding for the area's existing bus system along with federal dollars for a new light-rail train service. The state does not provide money for the constantly struggling Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, and Mayor William Bell said he'll work to change what a succession of other city leaders couldn't. (The Birmingham News)

Traffic cameras save lives: a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says cameras at red lights have reduced the rate of fatal crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that introduced them from 1996 to 2004. (AP via NYT)

Construction began yesterday on two bicycle lanes in downtown Long Beach, part of an overall plan to make the city more bike-friendly, officials said. (Los Angeles Times)

The Netherlands will be placing solar panels on a cycle path in one town. The project, called Solaroad, will be installed in 2012, and is expected to generate 50 kWh per square meter per year. (AltTransport)

The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering issuing parking permits available exclusively to childcare providers. (AP via Washington Post)

This past weekend a blind man successfully navigated a 1.5 mile road course section at the Daytona International Speedway. The car, a specially modified Ford Escape the uses non-visual technology to convey spacial information to the driver, was built by the National Federation for the Blind and Virginia Tech. (Good)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: America's fastest growing form of transportation? The high-tech bus. Houston's planned Grand Parkway would go right through the Forbidden Gardens. And: an art project turns the NYC subway map into a musical instrument.

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TN Moving Stories: TX Transpo $ "in Crisis," Car Poolers Disappear, and How To Plow Your Driveway...With Your Bike

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where are the car poolers? The percentage of workers who car-pool has dropped by almost half since 1980. (New York Times)

More ARC tunnel casualties: a week before Governor Christie froze construction on the ARC Tunnel, the Port Authority paid $95.5 million to rent a Manhattan waterfront parcel officials said was critical to the commuter-rail project. (NJ Record)   Also: Stewart International Airport was supposed to be the long-sought fourth major airport to serve the New York metropolitan area. But the lack of a rail link has made its future unclear. (NY Times)

The chairman of the Texas House Transportation Committee says that transportation funding in that state is in "a crisis." (AP via the Houston Chronicle)

Calling it "another arrow in our automotive safety quiver," Ray LaHood visits a company that's working on an alcohol-detection prototype that uses automatic sensors to instantly gauge a driver's fitness to be on the road. (AP via NPR)

Officials in Alaska say that climate change is hurting that state's infrastructure. (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)

Rahm Emanuel wants to expand Chicago's bike network. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Sources say NY Governor Cuomo will propose a reduction in MTA funding - but he doesn't want to trigger an increase in what riders pay to ride the subway, buses and commuter trains. (NY Daily News)

Despite growing tea party opposition to high-speed train proposals, Republican Bill Shuster, the new chair of the House railroad subcommittee, told a group of New England political leaders that he supports the proposed $1 billion New Haven-to-Springfield line, envisioning it as part of a high-speed rail network that would link Boston, Montreal, Manhattan, Albany and Washington, D.C. (Hartford Courant)

NYC manufacturer for NYC bike share? Ever since New York City started asking for proposals for a citywide bike-share program in November, a small bike factory in Queens has been trying to get noticed. "A contract for 10,000 or more bikes for New York City's program would be a huge boost for the small company, and would mean hiring more welders, painters, assemblers and packers for the Queens plant." But can they compete against BIXI? (Crain's NY Business)

What counts as an alternative form of transportation at Portland State University? The car. (OregonLive.com)

How to plow your driveway...with your bike. (Gothamist)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: DC bike sharing: it's not just for tourists. The NY State Senate majority leader made some enigmatic comments about transportation funding. And over a dozen members of Congress descended upon Grand Central to talk about high-speed rail in the Northeast.

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High-Speed Rail Should Focus on Northeast, Say Politicians--and Involve Private Sector

Friday, January 28, 2011

(photo by Kate Hinds)

(New York, NY -- Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) UPDATED WITH RENDELL COMMENTS AND VIDEO Two days after President Obama called for bringing high-speed rail to 80% of Americans in 25 years, his approach was criticized as being too slow--and too diffuse--to make an impact.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a field hearing this morning at Grand Central Terminal with the title "Developing True High Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor -- Stop Sitting on Our Federal Assets." Despite the snow, more than a dozen members of Congress came out to hear witnesses like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell testify in support of high-speed rail.

Committee Chair John Mica (R-FL) kicked things off by saying that the Northeast Corridor is "one of the most valuable and potentially productive federal assets in the United States--and that the Boston-to- DC corridor is home to 20% of the nation's population. But Mica said the government's current high-speed rail plans are on a "slow-speed schedule."

John Mica, center, chairing a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting at Grand Central Terminal (Kate Hinds)

"This is our nation's most congested corridor, on land and in the air," he said. "And 70% of our chronically delayed air flights in the country -- 70%, get this-- start right here in the New York airspace." If high-speed rail can take some of the pressure off short-hop flights, he said, it would ease up air traffic.

But Mica had harsh words for Amtrak, saying that federally-funded rail provider is not the entity that will bring America to the promised land of a fast train that will bring passengers from New York to Washington in under two hours.

"Let me tell you -- this is my 19th year of following Amtrak -- (it will) never be capable of developing the corridor to its true high-speed potential," he said. "The task is too complex and too large-scale, and can only be addressed with the help of private sector expertise...and also (Amtrak) will never get the funding for it with the plan they've currently proposed."

Mayor Bloomberg (who showed up late to the hearing because, in his words, "I've been up since 4:30 this morning implementing the Mayor's program to prevent a drought this summer. Some people call it snow, but we have to look on the bright side") said that he was a huge booster of high-speed rail.  And while he lauded the President's plans to allocate $10 billion for it, he criticized the money as not being efficiently targeted.

"I understand the politics, everybody in this country wants to pull together, everybody contributes, and everybody wants to get the benefits," Bloomberg said. "But in some cases the benefits are going to be in one part of the country and then spill over to the others.  Other endeavors, like the interstate highway system, and building airports-- every city can share in that. But high-speed rail really only fits for certain parts of the country. But it's something that's good for all of us."  He said that we needed to "make sure we have the structure and rules in place that don't discourage private investment."

This worried some, like labor leader Robert Scardelletti, who said "we do not understand how the public will benefit by allowing a private operator to take over one of Amtrak's most successful routes."  He also referred to the omnipresent comparisons between the United States and China. "They won't need any environmental study. In fact, they don't need anything...I don't believe it's proper for our government to compare ourselves to a Communist regime."

"The Chinese must be doing something right," Mayor Bloomberg snapped, "because they're the ones that are loaning us the money so we can subsidize things like Amtrak, where if you took the amount of money we spent on Amtrak, divide it by the number of riders and offer everybody that amount of money if they walked, they'd mostly walk! This is ridiculous!"

But it seemed like everyone was on board with prioritizing Boston-to-Washington. As Governor Rendell said: "Making significant investments in the Northeast Corridor to achieve true high speed rail must be our number one priority. No other corridor in the country has the population density and ridership as well as the economic wherewithal to result in successful and likely profitable, high speed rail line....The Northeast Corridor will demonstrate the value of these investments to our entire nation."

UPDATE: video of the hearing below!

Congressional Field Hearing - Northeast Corridor from Steven Skemp on Vimeo.

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TN Moving Stories: New York Pols Line Up for High-Speed Rail, Ford Posts Profit, and First Electric Smart Car Arrives In U.S.

Friday, January 28, 2011

At least the bike will be easier to dig out than the car behind it (Kate Hinds)

Dozens of passengers spent the night huddled in subway cars after the snowstorm that blanketed the northeast stranded their train in Brooklyn's Coney Island station.  But hey, that's better than the time when trains were stuck on the tracks for hours on end with no means of egress! (AP via Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, the MTA's web site was inaccessible to many Thursday morning as 500,000 users tried to log on at once to find out about storm-related mass transit disruptions but were unable to load the site. (WNYC)

A federal judge in St. Paul ruled Thursday that Central Corridor light-rail planners failed to analyze how construction of the 11-mile transit line would affect businesses in the corridor. (Minnesota Public RadioNote: For more on Rondo, check out TN's documentary Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality

The first electric Smart car has arrived in the U.S. (Wired/Autopia)

New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, a self-described "aggressive" supporter of high-speed rail, talks about Thursday's congressional hearing--and why he's so optimistic. "This was major. Think about it -- you have a chairman of a House committee, he's a Republican from Florida, who already has high-speed rail moving in his state, here, having his first hearing of the year, in New York City, to talk about how important high-speed rail is to the Northeast Corridor...it's a major happening for this initiative." Watch the video below, or go to Capital Tonight.

Toll-takers on the Golden Gate Bridge would be eliminated in September 2012 under a plan approved Thursday by the district's finance committee. (Marin Independent Journal)

Following six fatal bicycle/car collisions in six months, Tampa is deciding whether to adopt a Bicycle Safety Plan. (ABC News)

Tweets of the day, via WNYC's Azi Paybarah, who's listening in to Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio show: "everyone was in favor of this" @mikebloomberg says of congestion pricing." and "Shelly [Silver]'s plan was to toll all the bridges" says @mikebloomberg of the Assembly Speaker." 

Metro officially names a new director. (WAMU)

Ford says it earned $6.6 billion in 2010, its highest profit in more than a decade. (AP via NPR)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we're following: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing on high-speed rail in the Northeast yesterday; chair John Mica said 70% of all chronically delayed flights originate in New York's airspace. The takeaway: paring down short-hop flights in the Northeast will have a positive ripple effect nationally. Meanwhile, planners want NYC's airports to expand, saying that more capacity to handle more flights is desperately needed. Also: the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey explained why doing big things in America has become so difficult, and Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel released his transportation plan--which, as it turns out, is a transit plan.

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Northeast Faces a "Transportation Crisis"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) "The Northeast is approaching a transportation crisis."

That grim prognosis came this morning from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was at Grand Central Terminal to testify at a field hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Bloomberg was on hand to voice his strong support for high-speed rail. "Our airports are among the most clogged, our highways are among the most congested, and our train corridor is the most heavily used in the country," he said. "And all of that is just going to get worse, as the region's population is expected to grow by 40% by 2050."

More to come later.

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TN Moving Stories: TXDOT Head Resigns, Atlanta Eyes Unified System, and Detroit's Pothole Plague

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Department of Transportation executive director Amadeo Saenz has resigned, just weeks after a hand-picked panel of advisors urged his bosses to make leadership changes at the highest levels. (Dallas Morning News)

A foot of snow KO's NYC's bus system. (WNYC)

Will Atlanta's fractured mass transit system finally become unified? "Local leaders...have asked the Legislature to form a regional mass transit agency to serve as an umbrella over the metro area’s various systems." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Detroit is suffering from a plague of potholes, exacerbated by the weather -- and the budget. Video of a bumpy ride below. (Detroit Free Press)

Ray LaHood blogs about vehicle-to-vehicle communication: "intelligent cars talk to each other wirelessly, warning drivers of potential dangers."

NJ Senator Robert Menendez supports the concept of extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Staten Island, but he wants to hear specifics of the plan before committing to full support. (The Jersey Journal)

NJ Gov Christie would rather fight the feds than repay ARC money. (WNYC)

A Bronx-based trucking company paid $450,000 in parking tickets last year; the owner won't participate in the NYC Delivery Solutions parking program. "That program is like paying off the Mafia," he said. "It's saying, 'Here, Mr. Bloomberg, here's some money so I won't clog up the courts.'" (NY Daily News)

The Arizona Republic looks at the future of federal transportation funding, and concludes that proposals such as Mesa's light-rail extension and Tempe's streetcar are vulnerable and could be delayed.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:

Congestion pricing is percolating around NYC...again. (link)

The head of the NTSB says that when it comes to safety, we can pay now or pay later. But we will pay. (link)

Houston says howdy to the Nissan Leaf. (link)

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Mica: "We'll Get to Finish Line on Transportation Bill"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"I had a great night tonight  with Barbara Boxer, she’s going to chair the effort on the Senate side, and we have a whole host of ideas we’ve already agreed on. We can do it. We’re going to drag Obama kicking and screaming to the finish line."

Representative John Mica

TN correspondent Todd Zwillich caught up with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committtee Chair John Mica last night after the State of the Union address, and he and a few other reporters got his reaction to the president's speech and upcoming plans for a transportation reauthorization bill.  You can listen to the congressman here -- or read the transcript below.

Reporter: How do you balance this in your own party, with the needs you know are out there?

John Mica: Well, again, there are good investments and bad investments; they missed the mark last time with stimulus, they only put 7% of $787 billion. 30 days before the election only 39% was spent. So they lost the election by 1) derailing a six-year transportation bill and by 2) coming up with a plan that didn’t allow the money to even be spent to employ people, so now we have a chance to correct that, and we hope we don’t make the same mistake twice. But we’ll work with the president, some of his math as I said doesn’t work on high-speed rail–-we have a hearing at 10:00 in New York City, at Grand Central Station, to sort out some of the differences this week.

Reporter: how do you plan to pay for this transportation bill without the administration getting behind some innovative financing with more than just the word ‘innovative’? It seems like he fleshed out (crosstalk)

JM: Well, first of, I’m gonna take –

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TN Moving Stories: Can Pols Commit to Infrastructure Spending, Christie Appealing ARC Bill, and Is Congestion Pricing Back on the Table NYC?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Missed last night's State of the Union? Watch below:

The nation's transportation infrastructure is in dire need of repair, says House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, but committing to years of robust spending on anything is a tough sell as a new wave of austerity hits Capitol Hill. (Wall Street Journal)  (Or Transportation Nation if you don't have a WSJ login)

NJ Governor Christie says he's appealing the state's $271 million ARC tunnel bill. (Star-Ledger)

Reauthorization update: the AP says Obama administration officials are preparing a long-term highway and transit spending plan even though they've had to dip into the general treasury just to keep the current program afloat and Republicans are demanding that government shrink.

NYC congestion pricing: back from the dead? The NY Daily News says "politicians are quietly resurrecting plans to charge drivers up to $10 to enter lower Manhattan on weekdays" and positing it as a way to fund transit. Because:

NYC's next fare hike could be worse than the last one: the MTA would have to raise subway and bus fares by nearly doubling the most recent fare increase to cope with a jump in debt service that kicks in as soon as 2016, says the MTA's chief financial officer. (Reuters)

Watch the January MTA board meeting here, starting at 9:30am.

This summer, Manhattan's M34 bus will become the second bus line to have an off-board payment system. (NY Daily News)

Toyota issues a global recall for 1.7 million vehicles. (New York Times)

A RAND corporation study says the United States would derive no meaningful military benefit from increased use of alternative fuels to power its jets, ships and other weapons systems. (New York Times)

"Find car" parking system helps people locate their cars -- and triggers privacy concerns. (Los Angeles Times)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: The president called for giving 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years in his State of the Union address; today he's in Wisconsin--home of an anti-HSR governor and deliverer of official GOP response.  Meanwhile, Texas wants more money for highway construction.

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TN Moving Stories: Madison To Get Bike Share Program, Distracted Walking Under Fire, and NYC To Renovate Dozens of Subway Stations

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Perfect transit moment in DC, not too far from the Transportation Research Bureau conference: Metro, bikes, buses, pedestrians, cars (Kate Hinds)

Lawmakers in New York and Arkansas are considering restrictions on using cell phones and music players such as iPods by people running and walking on the street or sidewalk. (AP via Syracuse.com)

Mazda gets in the electric vehicles game; the "Demio" to be produced in Japan next year. (Business Green)

The NYC MTA is renovating dozens of subway stations in the outer boroughs. (NY1)

Five leading Democrats in the Virginia state Senate have crossed party lines and agreed to co-sponsor a $3.3 billion transportation package advanced by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, significantly boosting the chances that one of the Republican governor's top legislative priorities for the year will pass the General Assembly. (Washington Post)

Madison's finance committee approved funding for a bike-share program that could begin in May. (Wisconsin State Journal)

The Transport Politic tries to explain the Republican party's reluctance to invest in transit infrastructure. In a nutshell: "The Democratic Party holds most of its power in the nation’s cities, whereas the GOP retains greater strength in the exurbs and rural areas."

Which means: the president will be taking some political risks when he makes a pitch for funding infrastructure in tonight's State of the Union speech. (New York Times)

Stories we're following:  Republican and Democratic officials spar on merits of infrastructure spending, can rail and roads stabilize Afganistan, and Ghanzhou's BRT, with 800,000 riders, wins sustainable transport award.

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TN Moving Stories: Cuomo Talks MTA Payroll Tax, and Pregnancy May Have Its (Parking) Privileges

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Miami, a parking garage so beautiful, people get married there.  What can THIS mean for the future of driving?   And of public space? (NY Times)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has unkind words for the MTA payroll tax. "It is a very onerous tax. Not just in this area." Meanwhile: "MTA CEO Jay Walder revealed that he'd yet to talk to the new governor about transit issues -- saying he'd been speaking with the governor's aides, instead." (New York Post)

But: Cuomo is keeping both Walder and Port Authority head Chris Ward on. (Crain's NY)

A NYC Councilman has proposed free parking for pregnant women. (NY Daily News)

Meantime, bobcats and lynx now have a new design for a crossing over I-70 in the Rockies (Denver Post)

The Twin Cities public transit system is "fraught with distrust" as feuding bureaucracies fail to set priorities in the best interests of the public. "People are interested in how decisions get made," said one suburban legislator. "I've asked, and I get a different answer from nearly everyone I ask."(Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

The Washington Post takes a look at the methodology behind the Texas Transportation Institute's recent report.

A summit to save debt-ridden Caltrain yielded ideas ranging from better coffee at stations, free Wi-Fi and business-class seating to toll lanes on Highway 101, tax increases and consolidating the Bay Area's multitude of transit agencies. (San Francisco Chronicle)

First Chicago, then DC...now Boston is considering selling naming rights to everything from the lines and stations of its subway, bus and commuter systems to its Web site, smart phone apps and Charlie Cards. “We want to do it tastefully and not over-commercialize the MBTA,” said general manager Richard Davey. “I would probably be reluctant to rename Park Street the Anheuser-Busch Park Street Station. But, at the same time ... we’re very open to hearing proposals.” (Boston Heral

Some of the Transportation Nation team is in DC this week at the Transportation Research Board conference. If you see people with microphones, emanating that public radio aura, say hello!

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following: Not all transportation projects create jobs equally. The Mayor of Tehran can't attend the ITDP awards. And: New York City taxi rides, visualized  in full color.

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West Virginian Is Highest-Ranking Democrat on Transportation Committee

Thursday, January 20, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation)  The ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is Nick Rahall, a West Virginia, who according to the editor of our sister site, Itsafreecountry.org and former WV public radio reporter Anna Sale is a "big supporter of building roads in rural areas to spur economic development, just like Senator Robert Byrd, another southern West Virginian who famously steered federal money home to build roads."  He likes coal, too, as you might suspect.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is headed up by Republican John Mica (you can read a TN interview with him here).

Other dems with "power" are Pete DeFazio, a big "sustainable transportation" supporter, southern Illinois Rep. Jerry Costello, and two urbanites, Jerrold Nadler, from NYC, and DC's Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Here's the release:

Rahall Announces Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Democrats, Subcommittee Ranking Members

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TN Moving Stories: Park Slope Residents To Air Feelings About Bikes Tonight, and Tulsa Transit To Do a Fast Forward

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Support for making people register their bicycles hits Park Slope (Gothamist)--which is also where, tonight at 6:30 (Old Reformed Church - Carroll and 7th Avenue) the NYC DOT will present their preliminary Prospect Park West bike lane findings to Community Board 6. The Brooklyn Paper says that the bike lane is working, and "accidents have plummeted dramatically since the installation of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane in the spring, new city data reveals."

The NYC MTA says Select Bus Service has sped up travel on Manhattan's East Side by up to 19% (NY1).

Gen Y housing preferences were the subject of at least two panels at the National Association of Home Builders convention. A key finding: They want to walk everywhere. (Yahoo Real Estate)

Tulsa unveiled Fast Forward, that city's new transit plan, which will include standard buses, express buses, streetcars, commuter rail and light rail transit.  (Tulsa World)

China is planning on installing 10 million electric vehicle charging stations by by 2020. (Autoblog Green)

Ray LaHood blogs appreciatively about PBS's recent episode of Need to Know, which tackles high-speed rail.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials kicked off a six-week social media campaign Wednesday to generate public response about the country's transportation needs. The group plans to present the videos and comments to federal officials in March. (Washington Post)

These are strange transit days in Toronto. One Globe and Mail columnist writes: "First, a new mayor refuses to go ahead with a light-rail network that has been planned, approved, announced and funded, with contracts signed and construction under way. Now, the regional transit agency, Metrolinx, recommends going ahead with a project – electrification of GO Transit lines – that would take two decades to plan, approve and build and that lacks any government funding whatsoever."

Brooklyn residents say MTA platform closures leave them stranded. (WNYC)

Chrysler is partnering with the EPA to develop a new minivan that doesn't use batteries or electric motors to drive it (CNN Money). Meanwhile, Toyota is developing a car battery that doesn't use rare earth metals (Gas 2.0).

Is Venice going on a "road diet?" Suck it in, cars! (LAist)

One KALW listener witnessed a bus rider roasting marshmallows with a Bic lighter on a MUNI bus.

Mayor Bloomberg tweet from yesterday's State of the City address: "If subway fares increased as fast as pensions, by next year it would cost $8.39 a ride!"

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following: Mayor Bloomberg talked about livery cabs and ferries in yesterday's State of the City address.  NYC's first rental of a Chevy Volt happened yesterday. And: What can the US learn from Europe's restrictive parking policies?

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What Can the US Learn from European Parking Policies?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bicycle parking, Amsterdam (photo by Alex RK/Flickr)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Making parking more expensive and less convenient, encouraging residents to trade in parking permits for transit passes, and dedicating parking revenue for things like bike sharing programs...according to a new report, these are just a few of the strategies that cities like Amsterdam, Zurich, and Barcelona employ to make their streets more bike-and pedestrian-friendly--while reducing pollution.

A new report by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (a group that plans transit systems for cities worldwide) called "Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation," (you can find a PDF of it here) details an approach to parking that would make most American politicians and retailers blanch.

"European cities are deliberately making driving less convenient, but while they're doing that, they're boosting bike infrastructure and transit availability,"  said ITDP's Michael Kodransky.

He also said that the European experience shows that restricting parking makes financial sense.

"The trend here is to feed demand by creating more parking." Kodransky said. "European cities realize that if they make other modes more convenient, and create restrictive parking policies, people will drive less -- and shop more."

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TN Moving Stories: ARC Repayment Deadline Absolutely, Positively Jan. 25th; NJ Gov. Christie to NY Sen. Schumer: Mind Your Manners

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NJ Governor Chris Christie says when it comes to voicing opinions about the ARC tunnel, NY Senator Charles Schumer should "mind his manners on the other side of the Hudson River."

Meanwhile, New Jersey's third--and final--deadline to repay the federal government $271 in unused ARC tunnel money is January 25th. (NorthJersey.com)

Amtrak passenger rail service will be restored to downtown St. Paul when the $243 million renovation of the Union Depot is complete next year. (Minnesota Public Radio)

San Francisco Muni employees will lose their free parking perk--and agency officials have vowed to crack down on their staff who park illegally on the street and sidewalks around their job sites (San Francisco Chronicle). But exactly when this will happen is unclear.

In his State of the City speech today, Mayor Bloomberg will roll out a proposal to change taxi rules to make it possible to hail a new category of livery cab anywhere in the outer boroughs. (WNYC)

Mismanagement in the Washington State Department of Transportation caused a “gross waste of public funds,” costing the state $42.5 million in cost overruns. (The News Tribune)

The Federal Transit Administration on Tuesday cleared the way for Oahu to begin construction on a $5.5 elevated rail transit system. (KITV)

One side benefit of China's epic traffic jams: enterprising village residents sell food to stranded travelers at a markup. (New York Times)

Ray LaHood says that "the number of laser strikes on airplanes in 2010 nearly doubled from the previous year to more than 2,800. This is the highest number of incidents since we first began keeping track in 2005."

A new British study found public transit riders are six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections, and occasional riders are most at risk.  (New York Daily News)

Which cars cost the most to insure? Rule of thumb: "Any vehicle that would cause a teenage boy to stop and gawk." (MSN Money)

Minneapolis' Caribou Coffee redesigned bus shelters to look like ovens as part of an ad campaign to promote their new breakfast sandwich. Yes, that heating element is real. (Adrants.com)

Why are thieves swiping catalytic converters from vehicles--which happened this week at an auto dealership in Wayne, New Jersey? 1) The pollution-reduction devices contain platinum and palladium, and 2) they're relatively easy to steal.  (The Star-Ledger, KRDO)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following:  NY Senator Schumer and NJ Governor Christie are trading rhetorical blows over the ARC tunnel. Also: House Transportation Committee chair John Mica says the next transportation authorization bill needs "alternate means of financing," and Montana legislators continue to wrestle with that state's DUI problem.

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Senator Schumer Blasts Christie on ARC

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(Photo by: Jim O'Grady) U.S. Sen Charles Schumer talks NY region transpo infrastructure while taking a shot at NJ Gov Christie for canceling the ARC Tunnel.

New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is calling NJ Governor Chris Christie's decision to cancel the ARC tunnel a "terrible, terrible decision...By not completing the ARC tunnel, we are sacrificing the region's growth for the exigencies of the moment."

Schumer's remarks came at a Crain's New York Business breakfast forum, a venue politicians often choose to make pithy remarks about regional policy.  Schumer has so far been restrained in his public comments on ARC -- expressing disappointment with Gov. Christie's decision, but not taking him on directly.

But today Schumer went all out.  Governor Christie's proposal to use $1.8 billion of ARC money for other projects, he said, "compounds one mistake with another."

And Schumer pooh-poohed Mayor Bloomberg's plan to extend the number 7 line to Secaucus. "Let's be honest - this is Mayor Bloomberg taking lemons and trying to make a little lemonade."

We'll have more on this story later today.  You can read his prepared remarks here or below.

Schumer Crain's 1.18.11

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