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TN Moving Stories: Obama's Infrastructure Push, Commercial Space Flight, SF Transit Ridership Down

Monday, October 11, 2010 - 08:53 AM

President Barack Obama is convening cabinet members, governors, mayors and other leaders to drum up support infrastructure spending. He's expected to make the case that his $50 billion transportation bill will create jobs as well as roads, rails and airports. Our man in Washington, Todd Zwillich, will be watching this and checking back with any developments.

Affordable, commercial space travel passed another toll yesterday. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic completed a successful test flight Sunday. Branson called it the world's first manned commercial space flight, but were no passengers, just two pilots. There are already 370 customers on the waiting list paying a total of $50 million so far.

Two public transportation systems released figures that showed reductions or lack of growth in riders. San Fransisco's MTA estimates 10 million fewer riders than last year. In Dallas, DART held steady.

It won't help bring in riders in the short term, but London transit officials are initiating talks with counterparts in major cities around the world, including New York, to implement a single transit card that would work on all subway and bus systems. Great for travelers, and credit card companies, commuters won't get to weigh in until after 2012 at the earliest.

Fill more seats, fly fewer planes. That seems to be working as airlines are finding stability, and profits, without buying new planes. It is the first time since the 1970s that airlines have avoided buying new aircraft.

And finally, the Hoover Dam has a rival. The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, set to be dedicated next week, opened to cyclists over the weekend. It connects Arizona and Nevada with a 1,900 foot span across Black Canyon, 900 feet above the Colorado River just 1,500 feet downstream from its massive neighbor. Great views of the dam is the early word.

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