The Takeaway

Detroit Mayor Hospitalized as City Nears Bankruptcy

Monday, March 26, 2012

The auto industry may be on its way back, but Detroit is close to bankruptcy. But as the city's fate hangs in the balance, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is recovering from major surgery, and is out of commission for at least several days. Joining us for more on Detroit is Craig Fahle, host of The Craig Fahle Show on WDET.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit's Furious Bus Riders, NYC Taxis To Remove "Off-Duty" Signs, LA To Get More Bikeways

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Transit, Jobs, Construction Noise: Rockland Residents Air Worries About Swiftly Approaching Tappan Zee Bridge Project (Link)
Transit Museum Forum on Back of the Bus is TONIGHT (Link)
NY City Council Bill Would Up Electric Bike Fine (Link)
Study: Only 28 Percent of Neighborhoods Affordable (Link)
As GOP Struggles in Michigan, Obama Chortles — Says Fuel Efficient Cars Will Save $8000 (Link)
New Prospect Park Drive: Defined Lanes, Less Room for Cars (Link)

A Detroit bus stop. (By Flickr user JSmith Photo)

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica thinks that critics who believe Congress can pass a better transportation bill next year are “smoking the funny weed.” (Politico)

Detroit transit riders are outraged over huge bus cuts -- and the mayor's hiring of a private contractor to manage the city's troubled transportation department -- and plan to seek federal help in reversing the mayor's decisions. (Detroit Free Press)

New York Times editorial: the proposed Tappan Zee greenway "could be a splendid public attraction." (Link)

NYC cabs will have to start removing their taxi-top 'off-duty' signs to make way for the new system: available if the medallion number is lit, or unavailable if it’s dark. (New York Daily News)

Rules requiring rear-view video cameras in cars have been delayed again. (AP via Yahoo Finance)

Megabus' weighty double-decker coaches, currently being investigated by New York's Department of Transportation, have run afoul of authorities from Canada to Maryland. (DNA Info)

Worried Democrats want Obama to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices. (The Hill)

The mayor of London said some lines on the Underground would have driverless trains in two years. (Telegraph)

Commercial truck traffic on the NJ Turnpike has declined by 7.5%; high fuel prices and last month's toll hike are cited as possible reasons why. (Star-Ledger)

Nearly five months after a $50 million HOT lane project opened in metro Atlanta, drivers remain dubious, the impact on traffic is unclear, and many questions remain unanswered. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

830 miles of new bikeways have been approved for Los Angeles County. (LAist)

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The Takeaway

President Obama Addresses United Auto Workers

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As voters in Michigan prepared to head to the ballots Tuesday, President Obama delivered a rousing speech to the United Auto Workers Union in Washington D.C., taking the opportunity to campaign on the success of the auto-bailout. Three years and some $80 billion later, the rescue of Chrysler and GM has remained fresh in the minds of voters in Michigan. However, the significance of the bank and auto bail-outs may mean something else — or perhaps nothing at all — to voters in other parts of the country.

Transportation Nation

Mitt and Ann Romney Drive Four Cars

Friday, February 24, 2012

Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club Friday, Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney waxed about how happy he was to see Detroit-made cars. "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. I used to have a dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered."

The only car President Barack Obama has driven recently was a Chevy Volt. As a Senator, he owned a Chrysler -- which a second-owner placed on eBay for $1 million --  then a Ford Escape Hybrid.

Hat tip to for catching the clip.


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The Takeaway

Santorum Beating Romney Despite Homecourt Advantage

Monday, February 20, 2012

Despite growing up in Detroit — and Rick Santorum's anti-bailout speech to the Detroit Economic club — the most recent polls from Michigan have Mitt Romney trailing Santorum by an average of six points. Romney has tried to curb Santorum's upswell by outspending him three to one in advertising. Given the indecisiveness of the race thus far, whether or not Romney takes Michigan could be a turning point in the nomination.


Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Transpo Legislation Stalled, Boston T Eyeing Fare Hike, FedEx Driver Saw Linsanity Coming

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top stories on TN:
NYPD Defends Role in Investigating Traffic Deaths (Link)
NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011 (Link)
Transit Tax Deduction Amendment Doesn’t Make Payroll Deal (Link)
Final Irene-Damaged Road in New York is Fixed (Link)
SF Ferries Prepare for Crunch From Bridge Closure (Link)
New York Wants $2 Billion From Feds for Tappan Zee Bridge (Link)
Report: Boehner is Delaying Transpo Vote (Link)

Boston T sign in Cambridge (photo by Kate Hinds)

Why is transportation legislation stalled in both the House and the Senate? TN's Todd Zwillich explains on The Takeaway.

Ray LaHood says President Obama's transportation spending plan is necessary, because "America is one big pothole right now." (Los Angeles Times)

BP's oil slick is spilling into a New Orleans courtroom: testimony in a lawsuit over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. (NPR)

Boston's transit advisory board is proposing a 25 percent, across-the-board fare hike as an alternative to steep service cuts. (Boston Globe)

Detroit's mayor will propose ending bus service between 1 and 4 a.m. citywide and reducing service times and lengthen waits between buses on dozens of routes. (Detroit Free Press)

DC's Metro and three equipment makers have admitted liability in the deadliest train crash in the transit authority’s history, according to court filings. (Washington Post)

Toyota has revved up its sales to U.S. rental car agencies. (Marketplace)

West Virginia's House is mulling Complete Streets legislation. (AP via West Virginia Gazette)

If the global climate continues its warming trend, Manhattan could see a drastic uptick of so-called 100-year floods, or those with storm surges around 6.5 feet, according to a new MIT study. (Atlantic Cities)

How dreamy is Boeing's new Dreamliner? One passenger: "It's half-and-half. I half like it, and I'm half disappointed." (Wall Street Journal)

A FedEx driver -- and statistics hobbyist -- predicted the rise of Jeremy Lin two years ago. (Wall Street Journal)

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The Takeaway

Romney To Michigan Voters: 'I Am a Son of Detroit'

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"I am a son of Detroit." That's the first line from an op-ed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney published in The Detroit News on Tuesday. The candidate's father, George Romney, was the Governor of Michigan in the 1960s; Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan, and with the Michigan primary contest just a week away, he’s been vigorously re-asserting his roots. But given the fact Romney hasn't lived in the state in years and "corporate-raider" past, whether or not Michigan voters will accept him as a native son remains to be seen.

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Florida Bullet Train Would Have Been Profitable, Cheap Natural Gas Boosts US Energy Independence, Historic Wright Bros. Shop May Be Demolishe

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Top stories on TN: the Senate will move its highway bill Thursday. An audit of the Port Authority called it a "challenged and dysfunctional organization" and found cost overruns at the World Trade Center. Houston is a leading purchaser of green energy. Gas prices are creeping higher -- especially in D.C. And: listen to what happens when a subway platform becomes a musical instrument.


(courtesy of NASA)

The high-speed rail project that Florida's governor killed last February would have made an annual surplus of $31 million to $45 million within a decade of operation, according to a state report. (TBO)

The boom in shale oil and natural gas is moving the U.S. closer to energy independence -- but cheap natural gas means less incentive to invest in cleaner energy. (Marketplace)

New York City will unveil a pedestrian safety plan for Delancey Street, nearly a month after a 12-year-old was killed while crossing the busy intersection at the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. (DNA Info)

Toronto's city council is preparing to kill the mayor's transit plan. (Toronto Sun)

Four consortiums of engineering and construction companies have been found qualified to bid on the $5 billion project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Times Herald-Record)

An Ohio building constructed around the first Wright brothers' bicycle shop has been declared a public nuisance and may eventually be demolished. (AP via ABC)

Meanwhile: Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Ohio, says the Wright brothers rose from bicycle mechanics to world renowned inventors – without the assistance of government funding. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood is blogging enthusiastically about Denver's light rail expansion. (FastLane)

Some DC Metro bus signs are telling passengers to "alight" instead of "exit." (Washington Post)

Just what is Detroit? A city, an industry, or an idea? (Forbes)

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The Takeaway

What Did Clint and Chrysler Mean by 'Half Time in America'?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

On Superbowl Sunday, Clint Eastwood appeared in a two-minute ad that has been dubbed "Half Time in America." Sponsored by the Chrysler car company, it shows a Detroit that escaped the jaws of defeat to become a model for American recovery. Eastwood's narration goes on to suggest that America is in similarly dire straits: “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is gonna hear the roar of our engines. It’s half time America, and our second half is about to begin.”

Comments [10]

The Takeaway

The 'Safety Net' and Realities of Poverty

Friday, February 03, 2012

On Tuesday evening following his Floriday primary victory, Mitt Romney told Soledad O'Brien that, "I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair I'll fix it." The following day, The Takeaway followed up with a segment about the changing face of poverty in America. As part of a continuing conversation about this topic, Ron Robinson joins the program. Robinson is a homeless father of twins who lost his job at AT&T in 2010, and has been moving his family in and out of homeless shelters in Detroit, Michigan ever since. Alex Kotlowitz, journalist, author of the book "There Are No Children Here," and producer of "The Interrupters" also addresses the subject. 

Comments [13]

The Takeaway

Flash Forward: What's Ahead for the Auto Industry?

Monday, January 09, 2012

There's optimism in Detroit. Back from bankruptcy the "Detroit Three" of GM, Chrysler and Ford are all making money and they're pouring money into engineering and designing cars that can go head to head with the best in the industry. The 2012 North American International Auto Show kicks off this week in Detroit. 

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit's Light Rail Plan is Dead, a BRT Plan Emerges; Republicans Link Payroll Tax to Keystone Pipeline; Rio Relaunches Bike Share

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The NTSB wants a federal ban on cell phones while driving. (Link)
Overcoming travel phobias: a success story. (Link)
Picture this: got a flat? Call the tow bike. (Link)

Bike share in Rio (photo by riopravoce via Flickr)

NTSB Chair Deborah A.P. Hersman tells the Takeaway the urge to tweet in a car is just too great (The Takeaway).

A controversial Republican version of the payroll tax -- now linked to the Keystone XL pipeline -- passed the House and heads to the Senate. (Washington Post)

California's governor announced $1 billion in budget cuts; free school bus transportation is among the programs slashed. (Los Angeles Times)

Plans for light rail in Detroit have been scrapped in favor of a system of high-speed city and suburban buses. (Detroit Free Press)

Rio de Janeiro relaunched its bike share program -- with better results. (Atlantic Cities)

The cost of canceling Toronto's planned Transit City light rail lines could exceed $65 million. (Globe and Mail)

New York's Court of Appeals rules that selling MetroCard swipes is not larceny; overturns 2009 conviction. (New York Times)

Indiana unveiled a ten-year, $1.3 billion transit overhaul. (Indianapolis Star)

New York Times editorial: Governor Cuomo, you don't need more meetings about the taxi legislation--just sign it.

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Comments [1]

The Takeaway

Cash-Strapped Detroit Suspends Payment to Vendors

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The city of Detroit has begun suspending payments to some of its vendors in order to be able to cover basic services and make payroll.  If the city is not able to resolve its budget crisis on its own, the state is likely to appoint an emergency manager to restructure the city and rescue it from bankruptcy. Moody's has put some of the city's municipal bonds on review for a downgrade.

Comments [2]

The Takeaway

Truth and Reconciliation Comes to Detroit

Monday, November 21, 2011

Economically, Detroit is arguably a city fighting to diversify, reimaging itself everyday as a hub of entrepreneurship. But socially, some say, Motown is stuck in neutral, still weighed down by decades of racial divisions and a reputation as one of the most segregated cities in America.  

"Racism continues to cast a shadow over southeast Michigan, and we are still feeling the impact,” said Thomas Costello. Costello is CEO of The Michigan Roundtable, a human rights group that’s come up with what it considers a bold idea to tackle issues of race in Detroit: an independent truth commission on racial inequality. 


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Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit Mayor Wants to Privatize Bus System, OWS Takes to the Subways Today

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Top stories on TN:

House Republicans will unveil a five-year transportation bill today. (Link)

The Dulles Airport Metrorail link plan got another step closer to reality. (Link)

A Wyoming highway lowers its speed limit to help wildlife. (Link)


Occupy Wall Street protesters have vowed to shut down several subway stations today. (DNA Info, WNYC, New York Times, NBC)

Detroit's mayor says the city will run out of money this spring and that he wants to privatize some city services -- like the bus system.(Detroit Free Press, Changing Gears)

The new head of the Port Authority (Pat Foye) says the agency can help pull the region out of its financial doldrums -- a role he says it played during the Depression. (The Star-Ledger)

Meanwhile, NJ Governor Christie continues to blast the agency's previous head, Chris Ward, calling his leadership of the agency "awful." (The Record)

A pedestrian safety activist in Queens was struck and killed by a car. (New York Times, Streetsblog)

NY Daily News editorial: NYC's taxi dispatch plan for wheelchair users, which comes five days before a court hearing, is too little too late.

The head of the TSA has backed off a commitment to conduct a new independent study of X-ray body scanners used in airports. (Pro Publica)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a series of reforms to keep state highway construction projects on time and on budget. (Democrat & Chronicle)

The federal government and Minnesota officials agree that if high-speed rail comes to that state, its route will run along the Mississippi. (Winona Daily News)

Is a road use fee -- like vehicle miles traveled -- too "creepy" to work? (Atlantic Cities)

Planners say Sao Paolo, Brazil, needs a major infrastructure makeover -- including razing the Minhocao, an elevated highway known as the "Big Worm. (NPR)

A bus accident in China killed 18 children, prompting anger toward the government and renewing concerns about safety. (NPR)

Gas prices are up. (Marketplace)

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The Takeaway

Detroit Community Organizers 'Re-Imagine' Work

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anyone watching the American economy might question what it means to have job security 2011. In Detroit this week, a group of national community organizers will be taking the question to the extreme as they ponder: What does it mean to work? The traditional answer—get a job and keep it—is suddenly beyond the reach of so many Americans, that the very definition of work must be re-imagined; say organizers of the Reimagining Work conference.

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Comments [4]

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Mayor Backing #7 Subway to Secaucus Plan, BP Profits Triple, BRT to Michigan?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Mitt Romney is making President Obama's support for two high-end green car companies a campaign issue. (Link)

The first Mexican truck has crossed the US border. (Link)

Formula 1 racing is coming to NJ. (Link)

Waiting for a bus on Staten Island (photo by johnpignata via Flickr)

But: is NY making its own "ARC mistake" by killing transit on the bridge? (Second Avenue Sagas)

And: the lack of transit drew criticism at a Tappan Zee public comment session. (Journal News)

Real-time bus arrival information will come to Staten Island by the end of the year. (Staten Island Advance)

A Maryland panel recommended a gas tax hike, fare increases and an end to transit raids to fund state transportation projects. (Baltimore Sun)

The NY Post reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be announcing plans to move forward on extending the No. 7 subway to New Jersey.

The Port Authority will raise the Bayonne Bridge by 2016. (

Michigan's governor wants to jump start a regional transit system in Detroit with bus rapid transit. (Detroit Free Press)

NYC taxi update: the city will crackdown on the $350 no-honking-except-in-an-emergency rule (WNYC).  And the Taxi and Limousine Commission is surveying passengers about their cab rides (NY Daily News).

Boeing's Dreamliner made its maiden voyage after a three-year delay. (Guardian)

18 months after the massive oil spill in the Gulf, BP stages a comeback: company profits have tripled. (Marketplace)

Reporters complain about the Acela, continue to ride it. (Politico)

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Comments [1]

The Takeaway

Replacing Bulldozers With People: Deconstructing Detroit

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

America’s shrinking cities might want to take note of a new alternative bubbling up from Detroit’s ongoing battle with blight. In truth, the idea is more old school than new: Why demolish when you could deconstruct and re-purpose the remains of ruin into a job creation tool?

Detroit is besieged with at least 60,000 reasons to consider the question. That is the number of abandoned homes and buildings around the city, depending on who’s counting. In fairness, the question belongs to a number of American cities where demolition has long seemed the only alternative. But the concept of deconstruction is rising to challenge that conventional notion in the city perhaps most synonymous with decay. 

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The Takeaway

Inside/Out Project Displays Art on Detroit Streets

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great works of art have come to the streets of Detroit as part of a new exhibition called Inside/Out. Proving that art can also be enjoyed outside of museum walls, The Detroit Institute of Arts has brought life-size reproductions of famous masterpieces to the streets, parks and concrete facades of Detroit. This is the second year for the Inside Out project, following its initial success in 2010. But this year, the Institute expanded the program to include more communities, and even more classic paintings.

This is the second year for the Inside/Out project, following its initial success in 2010. But this year, the Institute expanded the program to include more communities, and even more classic paintings. The hope is that the exhibition will surprise, entertain, enlighten and educate the residents. 


The Takeaway

Underwear Bomber Pleads Guilty to All Charges

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Christmas day in 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to detonate an explosive device he hid in his underwear, while flying aboard Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit, Mich. Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in court yesterday to all eight charges against him, including conspiracy to commit terrorism, attempted murder on an aircraft, attempted placement of a destructive device, and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.