Streams

 

 

Department Of Transportation

WNYC News

City Races To Fill Potholes

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Before the sun rises in Canarsie, Brooklyn, a backhoe is already filling trailers with piping hot asphalt. 

Comments [2]

The Brian Lehrer Show

DOT Chief on de Blasio's Motorcade: All NYers Will Have to Watch How They Drive

Friday, February 21, 2014

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg says it is "going to involve a culture change and personal responsibility for all of us” to reduce traffic deaths in the city.

Comments [18]

Transportation Nation

Anthony Foxx: Transportation Projects Are Economic Drivers

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In a cordial Senate hearing that would seem to bode well for his confirmation, Anthony Foxx said that as secretary of transportation, he would prioritize safety, efficiency, and multi-modal infrastructure.

Read More

Comments [2]

WNYC News

A Bid to Make Peace in the Food Truck Wars

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Restaurants are often the first to complain when food trucks move in. But the trucks have also been on shaky legal ground since a judge ruled in 2011 that they cannot idle in metered parking spaces.

Comment

WNYC News

Two Ways Sequestration Could Mess Up Our Summer

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fleet Week hasn’t been cancelled. At least not yet.

Comment

Transportation Nation

U.S. DOT Gives $60 Million to Clean Energy Transit Projects

Friday, September 14, 2012

This just in from the United States Department of Transportation: the feds are giving almost $60 million to transit projects that are especially eco-friendly.  Looks like most of the money is for cleaner fuel buses, where taking the older gas guzzlers off the road is the low hanging fruit of emissions reductions.

Buried way at the bottom is the boastful stat that transit ridership nationwide is up, about 2.5 percent over the same time last year.

Full Press Release:

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $59.3 Million for Clean, Energy-Efficient Transit Projects Across the United States

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 27 projects will receive a combined $59.3 million to help transit agencies purchase and support cleaner, greener buses that reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy while also delivering a more comfortable, reliable ride for passengers. The funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) FY 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program will help achieve President Obama’s goal for an independent and secure energy future.

“President Obama is committed to investing in sustainable transportation systems that improve access to jobs, education and medical care for millions of riders, while bringing cleaner air to our communities and reducing our dependence on oil,” said Secretary LaHood. “These projects will also help transit agencies operate more efficiently, and save money in the long run.”

The types of projects selected to receive funding include replacing aging diesel buses with new hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) or zero-emissions electric vehicles; building new fueling stations to accommodate alternative-fuel vehicles; and purchasing new clean-fuel hybrid batteries for buses.

“As more and more Americans choose to ride the bus to work and elsewhere, it’s good to know that they can depend on vehicles that won’t pollute their neighborhoods while also helping us to achieve greater energy independence,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “By investing in these clean-fuel projects today, we’re helping to ensure that the nation’s transit services are good for the environment for years to come.”

Demand for FY2012 funding was competitive, with FTA receiving 146 project applications totaling $516 million. A list of all 27 project selections, and a related map, can be found here: http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants_14835.html.

Some projects selected for funding include:

$3.3 million for the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission in St. Cloud, Minnesota to renovate its Metro Bus Operations Center so the facility can accommodate a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles and a CNG fueling station. 

$4.4 million for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky, to replace outdated, high-emission trolley cars with zero-emission buses, which will bring the transit system into compliance with federal clean air requirements for the first time and enable the transit authority to save on operating costs for years to come.


$2.5 million for Florida’s Miami-Dade County to retrofit older buses with new electric engine cooling systems that will improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, and prolong the life of the transit bus fleet; and


$4.5 million for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority in Worcester, Massachusetts, to replace aging diesel transit buses with zero-emission, all-electric buses, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease fuel consumption, and save on operating costs.

In FY 2010 and FY 2011, FTA’s Clean Fuels Program awarded $89.7 million for 36 projects and $62.8 million for 29 projects, respectively. This year’s projects were competitively selected based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

Transit ridership across the U.S. has increased 16 out of the last 19 months, and in July 2012, ridership was up by 2.5 percent over the prior 12-month period. 

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: No Date Yet for Bike Share Launch

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (center), flanked by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Brooklyn City Council member Domenic Recchia (photo by Arun Venugopal)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (center), flanked by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Brooklyn City Council member Domenic Recchia at the New York Aquarium (photo by Arun Venugopal)

[The Mayor said on Friday the system won't launch until next spring.  Here's our post on it.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn't putting a date on when New York's delayed bike share program will be up and running. The program was to have launched July 31, but that date came and went. The mayor has attributed the delay to unspecified software issues.

"We're trying to figure out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work," Bloomberg said Thursday.  He also said, without explanation,  the city is "getting very close."

Bloomberg was speaking at a press conference trumpeting the new shark exhibit at the New York Aquarium.

New York's bike share, at 10,000 bikes, is by far the largest planned bike share anywhere in North America. The next largest system is in Washington, which is about a fifth that size.

An ambitious bike share program in Chicago has also been delayed, and a vendor who lost the bid has sued, saying that city's transportation commissioner, Gabe Klein, had a conflict because he was a consultant on Alta's bid to New York City. A spokesman for the Chicago mayor has said Klein recused himself from the Chicago negotiations and that the suit is baseless.

Alta is also the vendor for Boston's "Hubway" bike share. That program was also delayed by several months, though officials there declare the system a success and are expanding it.

On Thursday, Bloomberg said the reason for the delay is straightforward.  "Look," he said. "Everybody wants to say there's a secret agenda here. The software doesn't work. And putting it out when the software doesn't work, it wouldn't work. Period. And so we're trying to figure out when we can put a date that we're sure or reasonably sure that it will work. And we're trying."

"Everybody - a lot - the fascinating thing is those people who screamed they didn't want bicycles are now screaming 'where are they' so I guess we've come a long way and [are] going in the right direction. Nobody would put it out quicker than me."

Alta Bicycle Share, the company picked by New York City last September to run its program, was supposed to have had at least 1,000 bikes on the street on or before July 31, according to its contract with the city, which Transportation Nation has obtained.

Thereafter, Alta was supposed to have added at least 75 stations per ten business days, building to 7,000 bikes by September 30.

Bloomberg said Thursday there were no penalties for a delay.

"It's all private money. And the people who've put up the money, particularly the two big sponsors, Citibank and MasterCard, are fully aware of what's going on and they have been as supportive as you possibly can be. The city loses because we don't have bicycles, but the city doesn't lose any money or anything, and we all want to get it done as quickly -- but you've got to do it right."

The city's Department of Transportation and Alta have been ciphers on the delay. Even Citi Bike's official twitter account has been dark for a week.

 

 

Image from bike share contract (photo by Kate Hinds)

 

 

 

Read More

Comments [1]

WNYC News

New Ads School Clueless Pedestrians, Aggressive Drivers and Wrong-Way Bicyclists

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

To ensure compliance with the rules of the road, the New York City Department of Transportation is mounting a public safety campaign to make sure New Yorkers are displaying situational awareness. Watch the ad, which features the Knicks' Baron Davis throwing a basketball at a phone-hypnotized pedestrian.

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

42 Bike Share Docks for Lower Manhattan Revealed in Semi-Public Rollout

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Slide showing the location of several planned bike share docks in Lower Manhattan. (Photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The New York City Department of Transportation continues to show community boards in Brooklyn and Manhattan where it's planning to install Bike Share stations in those boroughs.

NOTE: WE'VE TURNED THIS INTO AN INTERACTIVE MAP, VIEW IT HERE.

NYC DOT has promised to post a map of the entire system online once it's done. But the department is sticking by its refusal to release the draft maps, though it's supposed to have the actual program up in running by mid-July, a mere 10 weeks from now.

There is a way to glimpse what the city has in mind, and that's to go to a community board meeting and sit through the department's presentation of bike share locations. Hence our presence, with cell phone camera, at Thursday night's meeting of Community Board 1's Planning and Infrastructure Committee.

We photographed five slides, like the one above, that show where the bike share docks would go around Lower Manhattan. By our count, CB 1 will hold 42 of them.

The locations were whittled down through a series of meetings with department staff and community board members. Kate Fillin-Yeh, director of New York City Bikeshare, said any proposed location that had been red-flagged in a previous meeting did not make the cut.

Of the 42 that remain, twelve would require the removal of parking spaces--"three or four" per location, according to Fillin-Yeh. The stations would also be installed on street sites not used for parking, sidewalks, parks and plazas, and private property.

She said the department tried to spread the the bike docks evenly throughout Lower Manhattan, and place them near subway stations, large institutions like New York Law School, and tourist sites like south Street Seaport and the boat to the Statue of Liberty.

Board members reacted positively to the plan, with some praising the DOT for the way it has run its consultation with the community. The plan will be presented to the full board in the coming weeks.

Read More

Comments [3]

Transportation Nation

Congress Clears FY 2012 Transpo Funding, Zeroes Out High-Speed Rail

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Congress sent $18 billion in spending for the Department of Transportation to President Obama for a signature Thursday, boosting funds overall -- but zeroing out high speed rail.

The bill funds DOT programs until October 1, 2012, the end of the 2012 fiscal year. The $17.8 billion final price tag is about $4 billion over what the agency got last year, but nearly $15 billion less than what the White House had requested. The figure does not include nearly $40 billion for highway programs and the Highway Trust Fund. The latter is funded mostly from federal gasoline taxes, not general revenue.

But the big loser was high-speed rail. Republicans succeeded in their mission to zero out funding for the Obama Administration favorite. Senate Democrats had tried to include a $100 million "placeholder" to keep at least a bit of cash flowing, but it was removed during House-Senate negotiations.

The Federal Aviation Administration got a $137 million bump up to $12.5 billion in funding. But the controversial Essential Air Service, which subsidizes airfares to rural airports, was cut back to include only active airports.

The bill represents largely static funding for transportation, in a year where many domestic agencies are facing cuts in the name of deficit reduction. But, of course, the next big fight will come with the transportation authorization bill, which seeks to set policy and funding levels for DOT, highway, and transit programs for the next several years. Right now Senate Democrats are bidding a 2-year bill while Republicans are preparing to counter with a five-year effort.

You can check out a summary of the transportation appropriations committee conference report here.

 

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

DOT Announces Largest Rail Rehab Loan Ever for Amtrak NE Corridor

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This just in from the DOT.

The federal government is loaning Amtrak more than half a billion dollars to buy 70 American-built, energy-efficient locomotives from Siemens. The loan is intended to help Amtrak improve frequency and reliability along the Northeast Corridor where service has been especially poor in recent weeks.

The move will create 250 jobs according to the DOT.

 

Full Press Release:

 

DOT Announces $562.9 Million AMTRAK Loan for 70 Locomotives to Run on Northeast Corridor

American Manufacturers Get a Boost From U.S. Department of Transportation Financing Plan

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a $562.9 million loan to Amtrak under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program that will create hundreds of manufacturing jobs across several states. This is the largest loan issued through the RRIF program to date, and the dollars will finance the purchase of 70 high-performance, electric locomotives from Siemens Industry USA. These locomotives are more energy-efficient and will enable Amtrak to improve frequency, performance and reliability for regional and intercity routes along the Northeast and Keystone Corridors.

“President Obama has a bold vision to provide Americans with a world-class, passenger rail network, while giving American manufacturers and suppliers nationwide an opportunity to get into the rail business,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Obama Administration is committed to making strategic, long-term investments that create jobs and boost the economy now, and this financing plan is already putting Americans back to work at assembly plants and supply companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and Georgia.”

Siemens Industry USA is adding 250 new manufacturing jobs in order to design and build 70 new energy-efficient locomotives for Amtrak. Three of Siemens’ U.S. manufacturing plants will deliver the equipment order, with traction motors and gear units being produced in Norwood, OH, traction converters and braking choppers being built in Alpharetta, GA, and final assembly of the locomotives in Sacramento, CA. The RRIF loan will also upgrade maintenance facilities and allow for the purchase of spare parts needed to support the new locomotives.

Suppliers from communities around the country will soon be tapped by Siemens Industry USA to provide components for the order, further boosting U.S. manufacturing. For example, PHW, Inc. a company based in East Pittsburgh, PA, has already been contracted to manufacture safety-related parts for the locomotives.

“The RRIF program is a model of how we can leverage federal dollars to spur private investment and build up the economy,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “It provides steady, affordable financing for major rail construction and expansion projects, and best of all, it comes at zero cost to the taxpayer.”

As part of a comprehensive plan to modernize and expand its fleet of equipment, the 70 Amtrak Cities Sprinter ACS-64 locomotives – still in the final design phase – will replace existing units that have been in service for 20-30 years with an average of 3.5 million miles traveled. The electric locomotives will begin operating along regional and intercity routes in 2013 on the Northeast and Keystone Corridors, which together serve more than one million Amtrak passengers every month.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s RRIF program provides direct loans and loan guarantees through $35 billion available for railroads to acquire, improve, or rehabilitate rail and intermodal equipment, infrastructure or facilities. RRIF offers a responsible approach to supplementing capital investment for all types of railroads. For more information about the RRIF program, please visit www.fra.dot.gov.

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

US DOT Announces $1.6 Billion for Transit Projects

Monday, June 27, 2011

This just in from the DOT:

To see what's getting funded in your area, click here.

Full press release:

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $1.58 Billion for 27 Major Transit Projects Across America
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $1.58 billion for 27 transit projects nationwide that will improve public transportation access for millions of Americans while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and curbing air pollution.

“Investing in a modern transportation network is a key part of President Obama's strategy to win the future by out-building and out-competing the rest of the world," Secretary LaHood said. “America’s long-term economic success requires investing now in transportation infrastructure capable of moving people and goods more safely, efficiently and quickly than ever before.”

“Our investments in expanding America’s transit networks will not only improve reliable transportation access for communities across the country, they will support construction jobs and economic development,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.  “And, a more efficient and reliable transit network means new opportunities for Americans to keep more of their paychecks in their wallets and spend less at the gas pump.”

Twenty-seven transit projects across America are on a path to receive funding under the New Starts program, through which Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides federal support for major capital construction projects such as subways, light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. These projects include:

  • The New Britain-Hartford Busway will provide commuters traveling between New Britain and Hartford a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to the current daily commute on Interstate 84, the region’s most congested highway. The dedicated busway will provide the area’s relatively large transit-dependent population better access to the 81,000 jobs along the route and across the busway’s 11 stations, promote redevelopment opportunities along the 9.4-mile corridor, and provide faster transit access to major activity centers throughout the area. The FTA anticipates an overall federal commitment of $275.3 million to the $572.7 million project.
  • Denver’s 13-station Eagle Commuter Rail project, which will add nearly 23 miles of service to Denver’s transit system connecting downtown Denver and Denver International Airport to the east with numerous communities in between. Ultimately, the FTA projects contributing approximately $1 billion towards the $2 billion project, which is expected to create 5,400 jobs during peak construction. This is one component of FasTracks, a multi-billion dollar, multi-year transit-expansion program that will help Denver support smart, sustainable growth, create jobs, and compete for business for decades to come.
  • The Rapid C Bus Rapid Transit Line will help to relieve traffic congestion in West Seattle, Washington, improve access to downtown Seattle’s 150,000 jobs, and connect the popular Washington State Ferries serving Vashon Island and Southworth among other spots along the corridor. Nearly $21.3 million in discretionary 2011 funds has been budgeted for construction of the $28.4 million project. The C Line, which should be fully operational by the fall of 2012, is expected to create approximately 180 construction, manufacturing, and transportation jobs during the peak construction period.
  • The Central Corridor light rail project will connect Minnesota's two largest cities—Minneapolis and Saint Paul—by light rail for the first time. The FTA recently signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement making a long-term financial commitment to the $957 million light rail line, which will carry 40,000 riders along this busy 11-mile corridor. The project, which includes 18 new stations and 31 new rail cars, is scheduled to open in 2014. In addition to serving the downtown areas of the Twin Cities, the Central Corridor line will provide more efficient access to the University of Minnesota, the Midway area, the State Capitol complex, Target Field and the Metrodome, and many neighborhoods in between.
  • The Austin MetroRapid is a 37.5-mile, 40-stop, bus rapid transit (BRT) system.  The FTA is supporting the local vision with a $24.2 million investment in 2011 towards the nearly $50 million project.  The project, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013, is the first phase of Capitol Metropolitan Transit Authority’s comprehensive and forward-leaning All Systems Go ten-corridor long-range transit plan.

A complete list of the 27 projects receiving New Starts funding allocations for 2011 can be found here.

Read More

Comment

The Takeaway

Sky Express May Have Defied Feds

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Sky Express Bus Company was shut down by the U.S. government last week after one of its buses turned over on a Virginia highway, killing four people and injuring more than 50 others. Transportation Nation’s Jim O’Grady says that Sky Express may have defied the Feds' orders and continued to operate its buses under a different name. This is a common problem called "reincarnation." Bus companies are shutdown and reopen under a new name, selling the same routes and simply repainting the buses.

Comment

Transportation Nation

LaHood Said to Reject Federal Loan To Dulles Metrorail Project

Thursday, June 02, 2011

(Washington D.C. - WAMU) US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met yesterday with the partners behind the faltering Dulles Metrorail project, a nearly $6 billion venture to build a new subway line out to Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia. And according to several sources involved in the meeting, LaHood told them that a federal loan they were hoping for isn't likely.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: St. Paul Residents Welcome Light Rail -- Not Gentrification; BART's Cloth Seats A Comfy Perch for Bacteria

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Neighborhood residents hope that the Central Corridor light rail line will improve St. Paul -- without bringing any of the downsides of gentrification. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

What can developing countries teach the US about buses? Three words: bus rapid transit. (Reuters via NYT)

BART commuters may choose to stand instead of sit: "High concentrations of at least nine bacteria strains and several types of mold were found on the seat. Even after Franklin cleaned the cushion with an alcohol wipe, potentially harmful bacteria were found growing in the fabric." (Bay Citizen)

Consequences of the "tarmac rule"? An analysis of federal Department of Transportation figures reveal airlines are canceling more flights, presumably to avoid idling on the tarmac and exposing themselves to the whopping fines. In fact, the cancellation rate at the nation’s major airports surged 24 percent during the eight months after the rule went into effect. (Star-Ledger)

Michelangelo's "David" may be at risk because of the vibrations caused by the construction of high-speed rail line beneath Florence. (Telegraph)

4,600 City of New York employees owe $1.6 million in parking tickets. (NY Post)

The average price of gas in the US is now up to $3.51 a gallon -- a 33 cent increase in two weeks (NPR), leading the White House to consider tapping the strategic oil reserves.

The New York Times profiles city transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're covering: Florida Governor Scott killed high-speed rail again -- and then announced he wanted to deep-dredge Miami's port.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

More Tussles To Come Over 34th Street Redesign in Manhattan

Thursday, March 03, 2011

34th Street in Manhattan. (Flckr creative commons / Photo by: 商店也很多的34街,和第五大道交叉的地方就是帝國大廈。)

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Critics of the New York City Department of Transportation's plan to redesign 34th Street won a round yesterday when the city nixed a plan to replace car traffic in the corridor with bus lanes and a pedestrian island.

The plan had called for higher curbs, special bus lanes and bus ticket kiosks on the block between 5th and 6th Avenues. Some business owners said the redesign would've tied up traffic, and made it harder for drivers to shop and for businesses to receive deliveries.

Macy's was among the concerned. Senior vice president Ed Goldberg said he worried the changes to the streetscape would have made it harder to steer giant cartoon balloons up Broadway on Thanksgiving.

"Obviously anything that we do that is an obstruction, be it sidewalk or street, is of concern to us," he said." It's about our one big magic day of the year during the parade."

But others had looked forward to the city's plan to make one block of 34th Street free of cars. Several small store owners said they favored the move because a pedestrian island would've brought more shoppers on foot and made it easier to cross the street in the middle of the block.

Clothing store manager Rossana Rosado said pedestrians needed more space to move around. "There's always a traffic jam out there," she said. "It's impossible for people to get across the street, even, because there isn't a place for pedestrians to cross."

The city's Department of Transportation will present a revised plan for the 34th Street corridor at a public meeting on March 14.

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

Florida High-Speed Rail: Talks Ongoing, Gov. Remains Unconvinced

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) With two days left to broker an agreement on high-speed rail in Florida, talks are ongoing -- but Governor Rick Scott remains unconvinced.

The parties -- among them Senator Bill Nelson, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Congressman John Mica, and Congresswoman Corrine Brown -- are keeping it close to the vest.

A spokesperson for Senator Bill Nelson's office would only confirm that talks between the DOT and Florida officials were ongoing -- and that there were no new developments.

Congressman John Mica (R-FL) is in Los Angeles holding hearings on the transportation reauthorization bill. A spokesman didn't return requests for comment.

But Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL) who has been toiling with Mica, Nelson and other members of Florida's congressional delegation to salvage the state's high-speed rail program, has been working the phones and will return to Florida tomorrow for the final push, according to her press secretary, David Simon. An official familiar with the US DOT says "discussions are still ongoing and Friday is still the deadline."

Governor Rick Scott's press office hasn't responded to Transportation Nation queries, but a spokesman did tell the St. Petersburg Times (article here) "Nothing in the discussions so far alleviates the governor's concerns that Florida's state taxpayers would still be on the hook."

Scott last week said he was sending back $2.4 billion in federal funding for high speed rail. He said Florida's $280 million contribution was too risky.

Meanwhile, tonight in Orlando there's a pro-high-speed rail rally, organized by the former Orange County commissioner.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

DOT Contest: Design a Better Way for Cars to Talk With Each OTher

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The technology research arm of the Department of Transportation launched a competition  to spur new ideas on how cars should talk to each other to increase safety, sustainability and congestion. The cars can also communicate with bikes or anything else actually, as long as they use Dedicated Short-Range Communications technology.

The Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge, “invites problems solvers, and innovators to develop new applications, devices, products, services and business solutions—any operational concept” based on the new kind of technology known as DSRC that lets moving vehicles communicate with each other and with intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

New Jersey Gets More Time to Come Up With $271 Million

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) The Federal Transit Administration has told New Jersey it has two extra weeks to come up with the $271 million it owes on the ARC Tunnel project.

Earlier this week, the FTA sent a letter to Patton Boggs, the law firm that New Jersey Transit hired to fight the $271 million bill, extending the repayment deadline to January 10, 2011.  The original deadline was this week.

NJ Transit has been disputing the amount--and its reluctance to pony up the money immediately has paid off.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said recently that if the state repays the money in full, the DOT will give New Jersey $128 million back for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion.

You can read the FTA's letter to Patton Boggs below.

Response to Patton Boggs Extension Final Dec 20

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

The $128 Million Question: Where's the ARC Tunnel Letter?

Friday, December 17, 2010

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stood up at a press conference on Thursday morning at the state house in Trenton and uttered what could have been a $128 million phrase.

“The offer was a nice start,” he said.

He was referring to a letter from federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that offered a rebate in the above amount against a $271 million charge the feds have presented the state for preliminary work on the cancelled ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson.

Christie killed the project in October because of projected cost overruns. LaHood, in the letter, proposed to give the state $128 million back for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion. But only if New Jersey pays the whole bill by December 24.

The governor’s positive reaction on Thursday was a reversal of sorts. The prior two days, he’d refused to acknowledge the potential deal because the letter that contained it, dated Tuesday, hadn’t been sent to him. Instead, it was addressed to New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg. By Wednesday evening, though the offer had been widely reported, Governor Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak insisted it still hadn’t reached the state house.

“Neither the Governor’s Office or New Jersey Transit has heard from Secretary LaHood,” said Drewniak in a statement. “If and when we are contacted by the secretary, we will review their proposal.”

The disconnect may have had something to do with testy public relations between the Republican Christie and the Democrat Lautenberg.

Read More

Comment