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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Virginia Closer to Tolling I-95, BART Wants To Ban Repeat Offenders, and Happy Birthday, Capital Bikeshare

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A new study says more pedestrians are hit by bicyclists than previously thought. (Link)

NYC reduced its carbon emissions in 2010. (Link)

Goodbye parking meter, hello Muni-Meter. (Link)

Police in a BART station during a protest (photo by Ryan Anderson via Flickr)

California lawmakers passed a bill that would give BART the authority to ban those who repeatedly break the law -- fare cheats, vandals or possibly protesters disrupting train service -- from entering its stations. (Contra Costa Times)

The Federal Highway Administration has given preliminary approval for Virginia to impose tolls on Interstate 95 to help fund transportation projects. (WAMU)

General Motors will help China develop electric vehicles -- but it wants to buy back majority control of a joint China - GM company. (Marketplace)

New York's East River bridges now have pedestrian safety managers to keep bikers and pedestrians in line -- and in their lane. (NY Daily News)

DC's Capital Bikeshare turns one today. (AP via WTOP)

The TSA fired 30 employees at Honolulu's airport for improperly screening luggage. (The Hill)

Chrysler and the UAW are close to a deal on a four-year labor contract. (Wall Street Journal)

Another aspect of the Port Authority of NY/NJ's bridge and tunnel toll hike: "peak" hours were extended. (The Star-Ledger)

Fast Company published a list of five transit technologies for a low-carbon economy.

 

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Transportation Nation

Former GM Exec: Automakers Should Focus Less on Stock Price...and Yes, I Flipped Over An Opel

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

(Photo: (cc) by Flickr user Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden)

Bob Lutz, a former GM executive who championed the Volt, was interviewed this morning on the Brian Lehrer Show about his new book,  Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business. In the book, he argues the auto industry needs to focus more on quality and customer service and less on stock price. Below are some highlights from today's Brian Lehrer Show interview.

Regarding the auto industry meltdown: "Management with more of a focus on the customer and excellence would have prevented it."

On US automakers versus Japanese automakers:  "The playing field now is absolutely level."

Does he envision an America with all electric cars? "I don't, because range is always going to be a factor."

Did you flip over an Opel during a J turn? "Yes I did...there was an argument with the engineers who claimed the car couldn't be flipped because we'd had some reports of the cars flipping over in the United States. I went out and performed the test and promptly put it on its roof."

You can listen to the interview below.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: The US DOT Puts Two More Bus Companies Out of Business -- Two Cities, Two Different Views of Electric Bikes

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yarn-bombed bike rack on Manhattan's Upper West Side (photo by Kate Hinds)

The proliferation of electric bikes on NYC streets has led to tickets -- and confusion (New York Times). Meanwhile, Las Vegas's transportation commission is purchasing them (Las Vegas Sun).

The US Department of Transportation put two bus companies out of business this weekend. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Meanwhile, eight times since October, U.S. bus-safety regulators gave extensions allowing operators to stay on the road after finding problems serious enough to shut them down. (Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle)

As New Jersey emerges from the financial downturn, access to transit is driving the office market recovery. (Wall Street Journal)

Can electric vehicles create a sustainable job market -- and would the cars sell as well without a tax subsidy? (NPR)

Sales of full-size pickup trucks have stalled; GM plans to trim production accordingly. (Detroit Free Press)

New York City wants to put cameras on some street sweepers to catch alternate side parking violations. (New York Times)

A New Jersey Assembly panel plans to examine Governor Christie's decision to pull the state from a multistate pact to reduce greenhouse gases. (AP via NJ.com)

In New York, new East River ferry service begins today. (MyFoxNY.com)

Some members of Manhattan's Community Board 8 are not loving the Central Park Conservancy's plan to put in cross-park bike paths. (West Side Spirit)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Floodwaters Threaten Refineries, NYC Cabbies Extradited Over Fare Scheme, and DC Will Pay You To Live Near Work

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mississippi floodwaters are heading south to Louisiana -- home to more than 10% of the nation's oil refining capacity. (Marketplace)

NYC has extradited (from Kansas City and Miami) two former taxi drivers accused of intentionally overcharging passengers by illegally setting their meters to an out-of-town rate. (WNYC)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Todd Long, the state’s powerful director of planning for transportation. AJC describes him as "an unelected bureaucrat (who) is the initial gatekeeper for the $8 billion referendum that many say will shape metro Atlanta’s future for decades to come."

NJ Transit unveils its first locomotive powered by an engine that can operate on both diesel and electric lines. (NJ Record)

Want to live near your office? Washington, D.C.'s Office of Planning is launching a pilot program to incentivize it. (Good)

The White House says "tough love" saved General Motors (The Hill). Meanwhile, the Big Three are hiring (Detroit Free Press) -- but Toyota's profit slipped 77% (NY Times).

Breaking: Ray LaHood doesn't know the meaning of the word 'hipster.' (The Atlantic )

Cruiser culture in Boise: "They have a blue house, they want a blue bike," says a bike shop owner. (Boise Weekly)

More on New York City's "Don't Be A Jerk" bike behavior campaign in the Wall Street Journal, the NY Post, and Streetsblog.

The NY Post says NYC's bike share program plan will "visit perpetual terror" on New Yorkers.

And bikers: is your morning commute less bumpy? One Brooklyn Bridge rider says it's smooth sailing.

From WNYC's Amy Pearl: "Nothing beats the feel of freshly laid blacktop against my bike tires. It looks like they finally repaved the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge!"

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--get ready for dueling petro-bills in Congress (link)

--NYC to cyclists: don't be jerks (link)

--Chicago's mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel releases transpo report (link)

--Texas wins $15 million for high-speed rail study (link)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: How Livery Cabs Set Fares, Obama Administration Looks at Taxing Cars Based on Miles Driven, and Boom Times For Boston Transit

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Illinois got $186 million of Florida's rejected high-speed rail funding. (Chicago Tribune)

The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.  (The Hill)

New York's City Council grilled DOT officials over the agency's pedestrian plaza program. (NY1)

Oil prices drop below $110 a barrel; but Marketplace's London correspondent says in his city, gas is "right around $9.00 dollars a gallon. Luckily I take the London Underground everywhere I need to go."

Boston's transit agency had its biggest jump in ridership in two years. (WBUR)

WNYC looks at how livery cabs set fares.

The golden age of airlines' frequent flyer programs is over. (Gannett via Asbury Park Press)

General Motors's quarterly profit tripled; the company also posted its fifth consecutive profitable quarter. (NY Times)

Speaking of GM: the company said (playfully, perhaps?) that it will bring back the El Camino if 100,000 people say they want it; Jalopnik calls their bluff.

1968 Chevrolet El Camino (photo by Useute via Wikimedia Commons)

Can a high-tech bike get kids interested in engineering? (Good)

Blimps rise again! (The Daily Climate)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--Ray LaHood will announce bus safety measures (link)

--NYC Transit is employing a 'station domination' ad strategy (link)

--Gridlock alert: the president is visiting Ground Zero today (link)

--the Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride visited the White House (link)

--airfares rise; NJ has both most and least expensive (link)


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WNYC News

Financial 411: Stock Futures Down Amid Overseas Concerns

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The on-going crisis in Libya and in parts of the Middle East continues to send oil prices higher.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Maryland's Transpo Woes, GM Reports Profits, and TED Takes On Transportation

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Although Virginia gets a lot of attention for its transportation woes, Maryland may be in a worse position. (Washington Post)

General Motors says it earned $4.7 billion last year -- the most in a decade -- and turned its first profit since 2004. (NY Times)

Google invests in a company that could make electric cars more efficient. (AltTransport)

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a five-year contract with McKinsey & Company -- where Jay Walder once worked -- to help managers cut costs in a range of expected purchases totaling $880 million. (NY Daily News)

At a field hearing in California, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chair John Mica said “Anyone who comes to Los Angeles and thinks we do not need improvements in transportation must be living on another planet." Meanwhile, LA Mayor Villaraigosa tells the committee he has some ideas about how to fund mass transit. (Los Angeles Times)

TED takes on transportation: the TEDActive Mobility Project is exploring ways to reduce the cost, time and necessity of driving. (PSFK)

RayLaHood blogs about streetcars.

Streetsblog reports on a wide-ranging panel discussion about the future of large infrastructure projects in the NY region.

Second Avenue Sagas looks at yet another plan for a trans-Hudson tunnel that's making the rounds -- wonders "if too many cooks are stirring the cross-Hudson soup."

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: With two days left to save Florida's high-speed rail program, talks are ongoing -- but the governor remains unconvinced. The NRDC lists its 15 "smart cities" for public transit. Chicago has elected a mayor who is pro-bike and pro-transit. And greater Houston politicians may vote to curtail funding for alternative transit projects.

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Transportation Nation

GM Expands Truck Recall

Monday, January 17, 2011

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET) General Motors is expanding a recall of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks because of a faulty part could cause the rear axle to lock up.

The recall includes a dozen different models from 2011, including the Cadillac Escalade SUV as well as the Chevrolet Avalanche and GMC Canyon pickup trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says pins in the rear axle may not have been heat treated…making them more susceptible to fracture. Broken pins could allow the rear axle to lock, increasing the possibility of a crash.

GM had originally recalled 1,200 vehicles last month, but expanded the action to more than 26,000 after finding more trucks with the faulty parts.

The automaker is advising owners not to drive the vehicles until the rear axle pins have been replaced by dealers.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: LA's Westside Subway Gets Federal OK, JSK is Compared to Robin Hood, and New Version of OnStar Is Essentially Omnipotent

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(photo by Dre Batista/Flickr)

Federal officials okay preliminary engineering on LA's Westside subway and light rail line. (Los Angeles Times)

Profiling the grid: Nashville utility planners use research and census data to try to determine who will be buying electric vehicles.  Where should they build substations? In the neighborhoods of female Democrats who live close to work.  (AP via New York Times)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 85% of U.S. adults now wear seat belts. "Only 11 percent wore them in 1982, before the first state law requiring seat belt use."  (NPR)

The Guardian calls NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan "a modern day Robin Hood." And regarding congestion pricing, she says "I do think it's a matter of when, not if."

Two New York City Council members have introduced bills that shrink the no-parking zone on either side of a fire hydrant. (New York Times)

Planned construction on New York's F and G subway lines has been postponed due to the last snowfall. (WNYC)

Brooklyn bicyclists who don't obey the law: the NYPD is coming for you. (Gothamist)

The web war of American Airlines vs. travel sites continues to heat up: now, a company that provides ticket information to travel agents has ended its contract with the airline. (CNN)

A former CEO of Amtrak is the latest addition to the board of DC's Metro. (WAMU)

This could be Ray LaHood's worst nightmare: at the Consumer Electronics Show, General Motors and Verizon unveiled a new version of OnStar. Among its features: Exterior cameras that can detect and record hit-and-runs, and then send the video to the car's owner via a secure server. The ability to watch what's going on in and around the car using a smartphone or home computer. Access to social websites such as YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia using voice commands. Video chatting via Skype through a dashboard-mounted video display. Remote-controlled home appliance and energy use using an application accessible through the car's video console. Live video images from traffic cameras, to view in real-time congestion. (Detroit News)

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Transportation Nation

Detroit Automakers See Sales Gains In 2010

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Detroit - Jerome Vaughn, WDET) Detroit’s automakers say their sales began to rebound in 2010.

Industry analysts say consumers who have been waiting for the national economy to improve felt confident enough to make vehicle purchases in the last month of the year.

General Motors sold more than 2.2 million cars and trucks last year. That’s a six percent improvement over 2009 -- the year GM emerged from federal bankruptcy protection.

Ford sold just under two million vehicles in 2010 -- a 15 percent jump in year-over-year figures. The automaker’s F-150 pick-up truck saw sales grow by nearly a third, making it the country’s best selling vehicle. The F-150 has held that title for 34 straight years.

Annual sales at Chrysler rose 17 percent. Company officials say the figures match the goals they set out late in 2009. Demand for the company’s trucks in December showed double digit growth.

Of the major automakers, only Toyota posted lower sales for 2010. They were down about a third of a percent. Throughout the year, the automaker dealt with the negative effects of safety recalls

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Transportation Nation

100,000 Caddies Recalled

Thursday, December 23, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET) General Motors is recalling nearly 100,000 Cadillacs for a possible problem with the airbag system.

The recall affects the Cadillac CTS from the 2005 through 2007 model years.

The automaker says the sensor that detects when a passenger is in the front seat could fold or develop a kink when the seat is in use. The issue can prevent proper signals from being sent to the airbag system and might keep the airbag from deploying during a severe crash. That could increase the risk of passenger injury.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Ireland Wants More Bikes, US Airlines Report Profits, and Ethanol Gets Taxpayer Boost--What Do Taxpayers Get?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Does ethanol deserve a multi-billion dollar tax credit? (NPR)  And: a new EPA rule from the fall allowed for more ethanol to be mixed in with gasoline, but now automakers are suing, stating that the new blends aren't safe for cars. (Marketplace)

The New York Post says there's been a 16% rise in vehicle/bicycle collisions this year.

U.S. airlines report highest profits in at least four years. (Los Angeles Times)

Ireland's transportation minister, in an effort to promote bicycling, has announced that local authorities must include specific cycling policies and objectives in future development plans. (Inside Ireland)

New York subway ads now have less literature, more MTA self-promotion. (New York Times) And your TN correspondent has composed a haiku to mark the occasion: Goodbye, poetry/Hello, line improvements tout/but whither Dante?

GM says it is recycling oil-drenched boom material from the BP oil spill and turning it into plastic resin to be used in the Chevy Volt. (Wired)

Toyota will be fined $32 million for failing to swiftly recall defective vehicles. (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: CT Transpo Overhaul Coming, London Gets A Hydrogen Bus, and New York's "Cagelike" Subway Turnstiles are Fare Eaters

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday time can mean bonus time...but not for San Francisco Muni operators. Management has "put the kibosh this year on year-end payouts from a special trust fund set up for the city's transit operators." (San Francisco Chronicle)

Connecticut governor-elect Dan Malloy intends to overhaul that state's Department of Transportation--starting at the top. (Hartford Courant)

The U.K.'s first permanent hydrogen bus was launched in London; there are more coming next spring. (The Guardian)

General Motors' CEO wants government to loosen restrictions on executive pay so GM can hold onto its best. He also called the Toyota Prius hybrid a "geek-mobile." (USA Today)

"Cagelike" subway turnstiles: the bane of  inexperienced subway riders, who sometimes have to pay twice if they can't figure the system out right away. (New York Daily News)

Surveillance cameras coming to some New York City buses this spring. (AP via Wall Street Journal)

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Transportation Nation

November Auto Sales: Boy, 2010 Beats 2009

Thursday, December 02, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET)  Remember the auto bailout? The closing of the dealerships? The miasma of doubt and fear surrounding the future of the American auto manufacturer?

That was then, this is now. Most of the major U.S. automakers are posting double-digit sales gains for the month of November. And some analysts believe the car sales could be even higher next month.

Industry watchers say demand for new vehicles --which had bottled up for months as potential buyers nervously eyed the economy--pushed more consumers into dealer showrooms. General Motors sold more than 168,000 cars and trucks last month--up 11.4% compared to November 2009.

The report comes just days after the Detroit automaker issued its initial public offering of stock, amid international fanfare.

Ford sales jumped 20% compared to year-ago figures.  The automaker saw double-digit increases in demand for both its cars and its trucks. Chrysler sales rose 17%, and demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee more than tripled from November 2009. November was the eighth consecutive month of sales improvement for the automaker.

Of the major automakers, only Toyota posted lower sales figures for the month, down more than three percent.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: LA to Slash Bus Lines, and Toronto Councilors Tell Mayor Ford: Not So Fast--WE Have Final Say on Transit City

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Los Angeles' MTA will eliminate nine bus lines and reduce service on several others next week. (Daily Breeze, LAist)

Toronto's councilors to Mayor Ford: not so fast--we have final say on Transit City plan. (Globe and Mail)

Did Houston voters violate the constitution by voting against red light cameras? A judge will hear arguments on Friday. (KUHF)

GM's new crash-test dummies could be smarter than us: they transmit and receive data 10,000 times a second. And they do it from GM's excellently-named Anthropomorphic Test Device lab. (Smart Planet)

Recyclable subway cars: coming soon to a Warsaw Metro station near you. (Good)

Strasbourg's transit system makes the Transport Politic wonder: "Are U.S. cities building their light rail lines in an inappropriate fashion, or is there something inherently different about American tastes that make similar investments less effective this side of the Atlantic?"

The Vatican is looking for a new Popemobile -- preferably one that's electric. (Marketplace)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: LaHood Toys With Scrambling Technology, LA Mayor Says Homes Can Be EV Ready in 7 Days, and Good Week for American Auto Manufacturers

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Star Ledger is intrigued by the 7 train proposal. "Can this really work? At this stage, who knows? But let’s kick the tires and find out." Meanwhile, the New York Times looks at Flushing and Secaucus: "These two very different places might one day be knitted together by a single rumbling artery: the No. 7 subway line."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promises to make Los Angeles homes electric car-ready in under seven days (Los Angeles Times). And he also wants to make public transit free for kids on field trips. (Daily Breeze)

The Albany Times-Union devotes an editorial to Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch's depressing transportation analysis. "What his report doesn’t clearly say is that the state must stop playing the game of using money meant for construction to pay for operating expenses."

Is Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood looking at scrambling calls in cars? "There's a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we're looking at that," he told MSNBC. (Fast Company)

Charlotte scales back light rail expansion plans, looks at public-private partnerships. (Charlotte Observer)

What a week for the auto industry: the Chevy Volt wins "Car of the Year."  And General Motors stock is on a joyride. (Detroit Free Press)

The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing for a busy Thanksgiving holiday travel week by working with the Department of Defense to clear the way for commercial aircraft to fly in airspace normally reserved for the military. (FAA)

BMX whiz Danny MacAskill goes "Way Back Home" from Edinburgh, Scotland, to his hometown of Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye.

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WNYC News

General Motors Returns to the New York Stock Exchange

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WNYC

General Motors’ public stock offering breathed new life into the automaker on Thursday, after it had been beleaguered by debt and rescued by the government during the recession.

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Transportation Nation

General Motors Increases Size Of IPO

Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET) General Motors is expanding the scope of its initial public offering of stock.

GM says it will offer 478 million shares of common stock in its IPO, a 31 percent increase.

The Detroit automaker says it’s making the change because of substantial demand. The company has also decided to raise the price per share to $33, up from a range of $26 to $29 per share proposed earlier this month.

Positive financial news from the company has pushed interest in the IPO even higher in recent weeks. The automaker posted a two billion dollar profit in the third quarter of this year and expects to show its first full-year profit since 2004.

General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2009, emerging just over a month later. The U-S government currently owns about 61 percent of General Motors.  Federal ownership could shrink to as low as 33 percent after the IPO.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: More on the Number 7's Trans-Hudson Ambitions; DC Unveils First Public Car Charging Station, and Virgin Wants in on U.S. High-Speed Rail

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ARC tunnel, we just can't quit you: The New York Times takes a look at the mayor's plan to run the number 7 train under the Hudson River to New Jersey.   And while Mayor Bloomberg didn't shed many tears when the ARC died...when it comes extending his beloved number 7 line? Si se puede! (WNYC)

Do Europeans do a better job of traffic safety than Americans? A new report says yes. "It's not that they have technologies that we don't have; it's that they use them more extensively and they manage their highway safety programs more [intensely] and better than we do." (NPR)

General Motors returns to the stock market; is expected to expand its initial IPO by 31%. (Wall Street Journal)

The head of the Transportation Security Administration went before Congress yesterday to defend new airport screening procedures. (NPR)

DC unveils its first public curbside electric car charging station (Washington Post). Also in the capitol: The DC city council is holding a hearing on the final details of a streetcar plan.  (WAMU)

A NYC Transit supervisor is suing his former employers; says he was fired after reporting safety and security hazards on the subway. (NY Daily News)

The National Transportation Safety Board wants all states to adopt motorcycle helmet laws. One cyclists' group calls the move "disturbing." (Wall Street Journal)

Good Magazine has images from the 15 finalists in its Best Bus Route in America contest.

Virgin's Richard Branson has formed a high-speed rail consortium; wants to bid on contracts in Florida. (Forbes)

On this morning's Brian Lehrer Show, TLC Commissioner David Yassky takes listeners' suggestions about the Taxi of Tomorrow. (WNYC)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Boston's First Solar-Powered Transit Station Breaks Ground, and: Are NYC's Subway Pickpockets Dying Out?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Attorney, labor mediator--and transit activist--Theodore Kheel died Friday; he founded a group called "Nurture New York's Nature" that supported making mass transit entirely free.

Massachusetts breaks ground today on its first solar-powered transit station--Fenway Center. You know it's only a matter of time before the Green Monster nickname gets bandied around. (WBUR)

Are NYC's subway pickpockets going the way of the dinosaurs? "You don't find young picks anymore," NYPD Transit Bureau Detective Nelson Dones said. "It's going to die out." (New York Daily News).  Plus: crime on the LIRR has dropped 15% over last year. (Newsday; subscription required)

GM retirees wrestle with the decision over whether to buy stock in the company or not. (New York Times)

The National Journal's Transportation blog wonders how to resolve the impasse over the fuel tax.

A NJ Transit passenger videotaped a bus driver's unorthodox driving performance ("At some moments he touches the steering wheel with just an index finger, and at other times he does the grown-up’s version of 'Look Ma, no hands'")--and learns some hard lessons about the transit agency's customer complaint system.  (Newark Star-Ledger)

Omaha will kick off a year-long process to update its transportation master plan this week: one goal is trying to create walkable communities with less dependence on automobiles. (Omaha World-Herald).

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