General Motors

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: The End of a Transportation Era, Bangladesh Pities Transit Fools, and: Is High-Speed Rail Imperiled?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Oberstar's defeat ends era of transportation policy influence (Minnesota Public Radio).

Not to mention the probable death of the president's proposed $500 billion transportation bill, which insiders say will be "a lower number and probably a shorter [duration] bill." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

General Motors goes public...again. (The Takeaway)

As Bangladesh prepares to open up its ports to its neighbor countries--as well as join the UN's trans-Asian road and rail network--that country's finance minister takes some flack for reportedly saying that "Bangladesh is geographically a transit country and those who deny it are fools." (Bangladesh News24)

The dilemma of the Baby Boomers: when should Mom and Dad stop driving? (USA Today)

Derailed? Many, many stories today are talking about the impact that newly empowered House Republicans will have upon high-speed rail grants. Especially representatives like John Mica, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who said: "We'll revisit all of those projects."

Qantas grounds its A-380 super jumbo jets after today's mid-air engine failure (Wall Street Journal).  The near-disaster is wrapped up in these two tweets.

The NY Daily News says: For the first time since the World Trade Center attacks, the MTA did not increase security at bridges and tunnels during last week's terror scare. Reason: cuts in overtime pay.
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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Fear of Public Transit, GM Goes Public, and Behold the First 3D-Printed Hybrid Car

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Is fear of crime one of the factors keeping people from riding public transportation? A new study says yes--particularly for women. (Next American City)

The Infrastructurist says: the survival of American high-speed rail hinges upon today's vote.

Grist talks to PolicyLink's Angela Glover Blackwell about why she says transportation is a civil rights issue--and what her worries are for today's election. "It is probably safe to assume that if the Congress becomes more Republican that having the support for infrastructure investment in public transportation will become a divisive issue."

Tow your charger: one Indiana company plans to market a "range extender"--a trailer that you tow behind your electric car that contains a generator to keep your car charged (Wired). Which you might need: GM's Volt has ten million lines of software code. "A car in the 1980s was roughly 5 percent electronics. The Chevy Volt is 40 percent. GM likens the product development for the Volt to a rocket program." (Smart Planet)

Speaking of GM: it goes public today. "In the next 24 hours or so GM is expected to file final papers for an Initial Public Offering. That sale of shares to private investors would change Uncle Sam from a majority owner into a minority owner." (Marketplace).

Behold: the first 3-D printed hybrid car. (Fast Company)

The head of the Allied Pilots Association opposes body scanner screening for pilots, says that the "practice of airport security screening of airline pilots has spun out of control and does nothing to improve national security." (Dallas Morning News.)  Meanwhile, international cooperation over aviation security is gaining attention. (Wall Street Journal)

Seattle's Metro Transit is watching La Niña and preparing for a snowier-than-usual winter--and hoping to not repeat what happened in 2008, when bad weather caused Metro to cut service in half.  (Seattle Times)

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Transportation Nation

Election Report: Obama bails out GM, Dems tanking in Michigan.....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Luz Guardarrama voted Obama in 2008, but says shes "tired" of politics and will stay home this year. Nothing particularly impresses her about the Obama tenure, not even the bailout of the auto industry.

(Jackson, Michigan - Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) None of the bailouts have made Americans particularly happy. TARP was a Bush initiative -- supported by Obama, but not of his making. The stimulus was a series of internal compromises which gave a huge part of the spending control to Congress. But the GM bailout was an Obama plan, and one the White House considers an almost unqualified success. "The contrast between where these companies" -- Chrysler and GM -- " and the auto industry are today, and the situation President Obama faced when he took office are stark," the White House wrote in a report of April of this year.

In careful language, the analysis says some 1.1 million jobs had been at risk, but that the bailout had enabled the car companies to stay afloat, restructure, and, in GM's case, repay their loan 5 years ahead of schedule. Obama called the bailout a "success," and analysts agreed.

Writing in Bloomberg Business Week, David Welch noted:

"So far, it is tough to argue that the bailout hasn’t worked. GM is in the black, having reported an $865 million profit in the first quarter with black ink looking likely for the rest of the year.... Chrysler is at least making an operating profit, which puts the company in much better shape than most analysts thought it would be a year ago."

So, you'd think this would be a big selling point for the White House, right? A political plus? Dems should be cruising in Michigan -- if nowhere else? You'd be wrong.

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Transportation Nation

If The Volt Is Electric, Why Does It Have A Gasoline Engine?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

President Barack Obama drives a new Chevy Volt during his tour of the General Motors Auto Plant in Hamtramck, Mich., July 30, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET)  When is an electric car truly electric?  That’s what some auto industry watchers are asking, after seeing new information released by General Motors.

The Detroit automaker says the gasoline engine on the new Chevy Volt can sometimes help power the wheels.

The Volt has been championed as General Motors' effort to make a viable all-electric car that consumers will demand in large quantities.

The car can travel between 25 and 50 miles on an electric charge.  After that, the gasoline engine recharges the Volt’s battery pack for longer distances.

But GM’s revelation that there’s a connection between the gasoline engine and the powertrain makes the car seem more like a plug-in hybrid vehicle to some auto enthusiasts.

GM says it hadn’t previously shared all of the details on the Volt, because it was protecting proprietary information while awaiting patent approvals.

Production of the Volt is scheduled to begin next month.

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Transportation Nation

GM To Recall 4000 Vehicles

Friday, October 08, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET)  General Motors is recalling nearly four thousand vehicles in the U-S because of a power steering issue.  The recall affects Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles from the 2010 model year with two-point-eight or three liter engines.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says some of the vehicles’ power steering pressure lines may have been damaged during manufacturing, and could lead to a leak.  If power steering fluid sprays onto hot engine parts, the fluid could ignite and cause an engine compartment fire. GM says it has a report of one such fire, but no reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue.

Dealers will inspect the power steering lines and, if necessary, replace them at no cost to consumers.  Affected owners will be notified by mail.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Traffic Deaths Drop, DC Metro needs more whistleblowers, and 8 weird transpo devices

Friday, September 24, 2010

Decrease in traffic deaths nationwide, and Florida has the country's largest drop. But why? (Florida Times-Union)

California's budget stalemate has put $3.9 billion in transportation funding on hold. (San Jose Mercury News)

DC Metro safer than last year, but needs more whistleblowers. (Washington Post)

General Motors' return to the stock market might be a smaller sale than previously thought. (Marketplace)

MARTA cuts roll out Saturday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Walking too passé?  Biking getting boring?  AltTransport lists the eight strangest transportation devices you can actually buy. Like the below PowerRiser.

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It's A Free Country ®

Car Czar Looks Back at The Bailout

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It would have been the economic equivalent of an atomic bomb on the midwest."

-Steven Rattner, President Obama's former car czar and author of Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry in America on The Brian Lehrer Show.


Transportation Nation

Moving Stories

Monday, August 30, 2010

Portland streetcar success has fueled interest elsewhere (USA Today)

Union members face potential buyer of GM plant set to be closed in Indiana (Indianapolis Star)

Baltimore Gas & Electric to create smart grid (and 250 jobs) (WAMU News)

Texas celebrates decision said to increase local control over transportation policy (KCBD)

Long Island Rail Road finally running on schedule, after a week of signal problems (NY Daily News)

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The Takeaway

GM Announces Second-Quarter Earnings

Thursday, August 12, 2010

General Motors has announced its second quarter earnings of $1.3 billion. There had been much anticipation surrounding this report, as many were speculating that GM, which came out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. This means that they earned more than $2 billion dollars in the first six months of this year. This is a major turnaround for the company, even though they have a long way to go to make up for the losses that forced them into bankruptcy.



"Hey, These Cars Are Mine!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

by Jennifer Hsu of The Takeaway

The Takeaway's John Hockenberry heads over to the New York Auto Show to check out the cars his taxpayer bailout dollars have bought him.