Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Last weekend, thousands of protesters marched on Washington in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. Bill McKibben, environmentalist and founder of 350.org, talks to Brian Lehrer about the protest.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The House will vote tomorrow on whether to extend transportation funding another three months -- but President Obama has already threatened to veto it over language mandating approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The White House said in a strongly worded statement Tuesday "because this bill circumvents a longstanding and proven process for determining whether cross-border pipelines are in the national interest by mandating the permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline before a new route has been submitted and assessed, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto this legislation."
TN MOVING STORIES: SF's Newest Subway Line Moves Forward; DC's Population Is Up, But Cars Are Down; LaHood Bearish On Transpo Bill
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
NY MTA Board Member: Overnight Shutdowns Too Broad--And More are On the Way (Link)
Will High Gas Prices Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances? (Link)
Residents Look at Ways to Bring Walkability Back to Old Houston Neighborhood (Link)
It's all systems go for San Francisco's newest subway. (San Francisco Chronicle)
DC's population is up, but car registrations are flat lining. (Or as WTOP puts it, "New DC residents: I couldn't 'car' less.")
Airline co-pilots would have to meet the same experience threshold required of captains—the first boost in four decades—under regulations proposed Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration. (AP via Mercury News)
Ray LaHood is bearish on Congress' chances of passing a transportation bill before the March 31st deadline. “I’m going to use past as prologue. We’ve gone 3½ years beyond the last bill...I don’t see Congress passing a bill before this one runs out, before this extension runs out." (Politico)
Meanwhile, state and local transportation officials are anxiously watching Washington for news about the transpo bill. (Politico)
Auto sales are growing so fast American auto makers can barely keep up -- which could lead to shortages that drive up prices. (NPR)
Lawyers for NYC are heading to court today seeking an appeal of a judge's order that the Taxi and Limousine Commission must submit a long term-plan for wheelchair accessibility. (WNYC)
Following safety concerns, NYC will unveil proposed changes to the Prospect Park loop in Brooklyn that would reduce cars to one lane -- and create two separate lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians. (New York Times)
Future roads will have new technology to ease congestion -- and more congestion because of the new technology. (Marketplace)
TransCanada says it will start building the Oklahoma-to-Texas portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. (NPR)
A bill calling for more transparency at the Port Authority was approved by a New Jersey state senate committee. (Star-Ledger)
New York Times' Room for Debate: how to make cities safer for cyclists and pedestrians? The answers: better street design -- and better enforcement. (Link)
One DC bus rider wrote a song about the errant #42 bus: "One bus, two bus, three bus, four/Can't seem to find those open doors/At this rate how am I gonna get anywhere." (Washington Post)
TN MOVING STORIES: Ray LaHood Says GOP Wants to "Emasculate" Transit, Tappan Zee Bridge Public Hearings This Week
Monday, February 27, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
New Fears Over Revamped Transportation Bill (link)
Mitt and Ann Romney Drive Four Cars (Link)
NY Ports Chief Calls Docks Bastions of Discrimination, Vows Action (Link)
Federal Government Gets Child-Sized Crash Dummies (Link)
Florida Transportation Officials Plug Safety as Train Traffic Increases (Link)
NYC Officials Arrest More for Using Fake Parking Permits (Link)
The next round of public hearings for the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild will happen this week in New York's Rockland and Westchester counties. (Poughkeepsie Journal)
Egypt delayed trial proceedings against a group of nonprofit workers --including Sam LaHood, son of transportation secretary Ray LaHood -- until April. (New York Times)
More New Yorkers are charging their cab rides. (Wall Street Journal)
Will gas prices continue to rise if the Keystone XL pipeline isn't built? (NPR)
Meanwhile: expect sales of fuel-efficient cars to increase if gas prices don't start dropping soon. (Marketplace)
One reason New York's MTA has an 82% fine collection rate: New York State will take the money out the tax refunds of scofflaws. (New York Daily News)
Los Angeles wants to kill a bus line in favor of light rail service, but advocates say the changes will negatively affect poor and minority communities. (Los Angeles Times)
Sex crimes are underreported on most transit systems, including San Francisco's BART -- where just 95 were documented last year. (Bay Citizen)
New York Times: U.S. should get on board with Europe's cap-and-trade plan for airline's carbon emissions. (Link)
Mitt Romney: "I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners." (The Hill)
London is putting its new Routemaster II buses into service -- to the delight of the Guardian's design columnist. (Link)
Paradise Parking: a series of photographs by Peter Lippmann of antique cars decaying in nature. Check out more gorgeous pictures at Laughing Squid.
TN MOVING STORIES: Transpo Bill Differences Heat Up, Gridlock Reigns Over NYC Skies, LeBron James Bikes To Work
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN: a California lawmaker wants to put high-speed rail back on that state's ballot. For the first time ever, NYC gets a subway map that actually shows what trains are running late at night when three lines shut down. And: Why do some cities get car share while others don't?
Amtrak funding, ANWR drilling, and the Keystone XL pipeline are shaping up to be the major differences between the House and Senate versions of the transportation bills. (Politico)
And: the House Republican version would spend about $260 billion over the next four and a half years -- and substantially increase the size of trucks permitted on highways. (AP)
NJ Governor Chris Christie defended recommending 50 people — including dozens with ties to his administration — for Port Authority jobs. (The Record)
Gridlock reigns in the skies over New York City. (USA Today)
Sam LaHood -- son of U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood -- is being sheltered in the U.S. embassy in Cairo after Egypt barred him from leaving the country. (Los Angeles Times)
The auto industry is taking a second look at diesel engines. (NPR)
A recent New York law designed to speed infrastructure projects will be put to the test on the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Bloomberg/BusinessWeek)
A 2010 federal audit of Atlanta's transit system raised safety concerns that included the death of a passenger, faulty third rail indicator lights, and a near miss between a train and a work vehicle in a rail yard. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The NYC intersection where a 12-year-old was recently struck and killed by a minivan has a shorter crossing time than 20 major intersections across the city. (DNA Info)
Why are Chinatown buses so popular? Riders liken it more to an "attractive cultural experience than to an objective travel choice." (Atlantic Cities)
A NY State Senator -- who has made the city's rodent problem one of his biggest issues -- wants to ban eating on subways. (WABC)
Olympic organizers want Londoners to change their travel patterns during the games to ease the strain on public transit. One recommendation: stop and have a beer on your way home from work. (Washington Post)
A program that uses police pace cars to reduce traffic congestion on Colorado's Interstate 70 in the mountains this winter was suspended after too many skiers and other mountain visitors jammed the highway, creating a bottleneck. (The Republic)
LeBron James: basketball player, bike commuter. '"You guys drove here?" James said to reporters after the game. "You guys are crazy."' (Wall Street Journal)
Sunday, January 29, 2012
House Republicans intend to use their upcoming highway and infrastructure bill to push for approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, Speaker John Boehner said Sunday.
“If it’s not enacted before we take up the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, it’ll be part of it,” Boehner said during an interview on ABC's "This Week".
The controversial pipeline has become a political flashpoint between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans demanded an expedited Obama Administration decision on the pipeline's approval as part of a deal temporarily extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits back in December. The administration rejected the approval earlier this month, setting off GOP criticism that President Obama's political allies were preventing a project that could grow jobs.
House and Senate negotiators are now bargaining over a one-year payroll tax extension, and Boehner's statement suggests Republicans are keen to avoid another bruising confrontation with Democrats over the pipeline issue.
“[E]xtending the payroll tax cut that the president has called for, the House has already passed the year-long extension. We are in a formal conference with the Senate, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to resolve this fairly quickly," Boehner said.
Instead, it appears Keystone may become one of a long list of domestic energy projects Republicans try to promote in their upcoming highway and infrastructure bill. The five-year bill calls for $260 billion in highway funding, financed partially through expansions in domestic energy production. Details of the bill are expected this week, and House Republican aides say they expect it to come to the floor in February.
Follow Todd Zwillich on Twitter @toddzwillich
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
By Solomon Kleinsmith : IAFC Blogger
For all the bad that happened last year, most everything that led to gridlock isn't going anywhere, and in many cases will be worse.
TN MOVING STORIES: DC's Proposed Airport Metro Rail Station Under Fire, San Francisco's Central Subway Moves Closer to Reality
Thursday, January 19, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
President Kills Pipeline: Full Statement (Link)
Backers of the Keystone XL Vow To Continue To Push For The Pipeline (Link)
Federal Money for Transpo Robot (Link)
Governor Jerry Brown, In State of State, Makes Impassioned Case for California High-Speed Rail (Link)
House To Hold Hearings on Cruise Ship Safety (Link)
NY Gov Cuomo: MTA Considering “Additional Transit Applications” For New Convention Center (Link)
VIDEO: How the Dutch Got Their Bike Paths (Link)
Canada said it will begin selling oil to China after the U.S. rejected the Keystone XL pipeline. (Bloomberg)
The authority in charge of building DC's Metro rail extension to Dulles International Airport is considering eliminating the Metro station at the airport. (TN's emphasis, not the Washington Examiner's.)
Indiana recently became the second state to approve an LGBT license plate. (NY Daily News)
San Francisco has received a key approval from federal officials to move forward on its 1.7-mile Central Subway. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Cuts to school bus service in Death Valley, CA -- where 85% of the students are from low-income households and parents say monthly gas prices for round-trip school transportation could exceed $1,000 -- will be "catastrophic." (Los Angeles Times)
China is about to roll out the world's largest bus, which is 82 feet long and can carry up to 300 passengers. (Digital Trends)
The California High-Speed Rail Authority takes issue with the Los Angeles Times' reporting. (CAHSR blog)
Hoping to boost sales, GM is revamping its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle to meet California's strict emissions requirements. (Wall Street Journal)
Despite pumping 2 million barrels of oil daily, Nigeria's four national refineries are barely functional. (Guardian)
China's Ministry of Railways expects a record 235 million passengers to travel across the country between Jan 8 and Feb 16, the country's most important holiday season. But: new ticket policies make purchasing tickets "torture." (China Daily)
How to make transit more family-friendly? "An open-stroller policy is a crucial first step." (Grist)
Occupy Boston is taking on that city's proposed transit fare hikes. (Boston Globe)
Hudson Valley legislators returned to the capital this month ready to fight any attempt by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to merge the New York State Bridge Authority into the New York State Thruway Authority. (Albany Times-Union)
TN MOVING STORIES: Another Speed Bump For California Bullet Train, Canada Annoyed with U.S. Over Keystone Pipeline, FreshDirect Wants Rail Access
Friday, January 13, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
PICS: Haiti’s Transportation Two Years After the Earthquake (Link)
NY MTA Completes Four-Night Shutdown For Repairs Along Stretch Of Busy Subway Line (Link)
Boston Launches App Challenge to Link Transit and Bike Share (Link)
California’s Diesel Decade (Link)
Bloomberg Not Budging on Bike Share, More Bike Lanes (Link)
Mica Praises Romney, Stops Short of Endorsement (Link)
The chief executive of California's bullet train project suddenly announced his resignation, just months before construction was supposed to begin. (Los Angeles Times)
Canada is annoyed that pro-environmental groups in the U.S. are delaying approval of a pipeline that would move Canadian oil. (NPR)
Access to rail is a big factor in NYC grocery delivery service FreshDirect's relocation plans. (Crain's New York)
Pennsylvania's governor will unveil his much-awaited plan for dealing with the state's transportation funding shortfall in his budget message Feb. 7 or sooner. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; h/t Stateline)
2011 milestone: for the first time ever, the roughly $2,800 dollars that a household spent at the pump was more than a year’s worth of car payments. (KQED)
Bike share GPS data will help plan NYC's bike lane network. (Streetsblog)
TN MOVING STORIES: US Exporting More Gasoline and Diesel Than It Imports, Senate Dems Say They'll Pass Surface Transpo Bill in January
Friday, December 30, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
New York City traffic deaths hit historic low. (Link)
Feds shut down Chinatown bus company Double Happyness for safety violations. (Link)
Vermont's Route 107 finally reopened in Vermont, four months after being washed out by Tropical Storm Irene. (Link)
Year in Review, San Francisco: apps launch, rail remains, protests simmer. (Link)
For the first time since Harry Truman was president, the United States is exporting more gasoline and diesel (but not crude oil) than it imports. (NPR)
Senate Democrats expect to pass a long-delayed surface transportation bill soon after they return to Washington next month. (The Hill)
San Francisco's MUNI wants to eliminate some bus stops in order to speed up travel times. (Bay Citizen)
How much do you really know about the Keystone XL pipeline? Reality check time! (Marketplace)
Albuquerque quietly turned off its red light traffic cameras weeks ago. (KRQE)
Los Angeles' Red Line subway is inching towards later hours. (Los Angeles Times)
Biking and gender: where the women commute. (Atlantic Cities)
Thursday, November 24, 2011
(Billings, MT – YPR) – Railroads are benefiting from the drilling boom in the Bakken Oil Formation. The region encompasses southern Canada bordering portions of Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota.
Denis Smith is vice president of marketing for industrial products for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). He says railroads have a long history of hauling crude petroleum, including from the Bakken, “but at this scale and at this volume, that’s what makes it unique and different and very exciting,” he says.
Smith says BNSF’s increase in traffic isn't just from hauling crude petroleum from the oil wells in the Bakken and surrounding Williston Basin. He says these wells also need deliveries of drilling supplies like sand, pipe, and other heavy materials. He says the shortage of semi trucks and drivers and the current lack of pipeline capacity means companies are turning to railroads.
He says to accommodate the increase of drilling activity, BNSF has been laying new sections of track for its customers from its main line to the terminals to accommodate these shipments.
“So if anyone is spending a lot of money right here, right now on track and capacity it’s the customer,” Smith says. He says customers are also having to buy rail cars.
TransCanada has proposed building the Keystone X-L pipeline that is to originate at the tar sand oil fields in Alberta Canada and extend to refineries and distribution terminals along the Gulf Coast in Texas. The pipeline was also expected to pick up crude from the Bakken.
The Obama Administration announced earlier this month a decision on a permit will be delayed as the U.S. State Department considers an alternate pipeline route. Originally, a decision was anticipated by the end of 2011.
In the meantime, Smith says oil companies continue to rely on rail to transport crude to market. Even if the Keystone X-L project is approved and permitted, it will take time to construct the nearly 2,000 mile long pipeline. “Rail is the most immediate and quickest way to get the oil to the marketplace at the moment,” Smith says.
He adds rail is also more flexible. He says a pipeline is point-to-point while BNSF transports crude to multiple locations from the Bakken. This includes to refineries and distribution and storage terminals in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, California, and to the East Coast.
That’s why Smith says BNSF expects to have a continued role in the Bakken even if the Keystone X-L pipeline is approved and operating.
“Theoretically, technically, mathematically it will take away a lot more barrels than are currently going, but we feel that on the rail-side we’ll have a solid 20-25 percent of the daily production up there (Bakken) move by rail,” he says.
BNSF is not the only railroad that’s seeing an increase in its rail traffic. The Calgary Herald reports Canadian Pacific is also increasing its investment because of the Bakken oil boom, as are other rail lines.
TN MOVING STORIES: Paris Launches Electric Car Share, Warren Buffett Gets Into Urban Redevelopment, Furloughed FAA Employees Get Paid
Monday, October 03, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Paris launched an electric "bubble car" auto sharing program. Paris transportation head: "It's the same principle as Velib'; you use the car, leave it and that's it. Simple." (Los Angeles Times, The Guardian)
Warren Buffett joined an effort described as "a holistic approach to urban redevelopment." (USA Today)
Forbes magazine: don't bother making transit pretty. "The point of transit is to transport. Money buys movement, and funds are finite."
Furloughed FAA employees will receive back pay for the time they missed. (The Hill)
The Boston Globe interviewed Janette Sadik-Khan: "Change is messy, and change is hard...but it’s really important that we don’t get stuck in an approach that’s 25 years old."
The New York Post looks at who taxi medallion owners give campaign donations to local politicians, and concludes "they are often getting their money's worth."
New York Times editorial: say no to the Keystone XL pipeline.
DC's Police Complaints Board said that district police need to become better versed in the bike laws they enforce. (Washington Post)
Is the Tysons Corner Metrorail link on schedule or not? Fairfax County says no; the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says yes. (WAMU)
Countdown clocks come to Chicago bus shelters. (Chicago Tribune)
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
(Billings, MT-YPR) The developers of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline say they already had included safety measures meant to prevent the type of pipeline break that spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River last month.
TransCanada officials are in Montana this week. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would stretch from Alberta’s oil tar sand fields to refineries in the United States.
The approximately 1,660-mile long pipeline has been assailed by environmentalists as too risky. Opponents stepped up their criticism following the break in Exxon Mobil’s Silvertip Pipeline near Laurel, MT on July 1, 2011.
TransCanada President of Energy and Pipelines Alex Pourbaix says the Keystone XL project was designed to be the safest pipeline in North America.
“Everyone would acknowledge that Exxon’s incident with the Silvertip Pipeline was very unfortunate,” he says. “At the same time we find it concerning that many people have tried to compare the silvertip incident with the Keystone XL pipeline. And we really do believe that is completely inappropriate.”
Pourbaix says TransCanada will bury its pipeline a minimum 25 feet beneath major river crossings, exceeding current federal regulations. The proposed pipeline would cross three Montana rivers: Milk, Missouri, and Yellowstone.
Pourbaix says TransCanada made no changes to its projects proposal as a result of the Yellowstone River oil spill. Clean-up crews are still in Montana. Exxon Mobil officials are awaiting regulatory approval to rebuild its line.
The oil spill was the latest in a series of spills across the U-S. It brought Congressional scrutiny of the spider web of pipelines across the country, particularly those that cross rivers and streams.
Keystone Pipeline Project Vice President Robert Jones welcomes the increased attention. He’s not worried the spotlight will harm the Keystone XL project.
“And we try to do best practices,” Jones says.
TransCanada officials say their project exceeds current regulations, including: the use heavy wall pipe with an abrasion resistant coating; check valves will be installed at river banks; lower pressure at river crossings; regular monitoring and maintenance, and aerial patrols every two weeks.
The U.S. State Department is charged with overseeing the permit because the pipeline crosses an international border.
A final Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released this month.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
(Billings, MT – Yellowstone Public Radio) - Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer says pipelines will continue to be part of the state’s landscape -- despite a recent spill--and he hopes regulators will give a green light constructing another one.
On July 1, 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil into the Wild and Scenic Yellowstone River.
TransCanada wants to build a pipeline -- the Keystone XL -- that will carry crude from oil fields in Alberta Canada, through Montana and on to Cushing, Oklahoma.
Schweitzer, a Democrat, says federal regulators will decide whether the Keystone XL pipeline becomes a reality. He added that it would be an opportunity lost, however, if the pipeline isn’t built.
“The Keystone represents about 5% of the oil we use in this country. There’s a lot of oil in Alberta,” Schweitzer said. “I would rather buy it from our neighbors to the north than I would from petro-dictators in Africa or the Middle East.”
Schweitzer spoke in Billings Wednesday to a group of landowners who have property along the Yellowstone River affected by the oil spill.
Citing the Yellowstone River oil spill, environmentalists have stepped up opposition to the Keystone XL project
An estimated 79 protesters, some affiliated with the group Rising Tide North America, some with Earth First!, demonstrated on Tuesday at the State Capitol in Helena. They demanded a meeting with Schweitzer. Eventually, the governor agreed to meet with the group in the reception room.
The meeting broke up after someone started playing a piano in the room and about a dozen protesters jumped on the large tables and began dancing and stomping their feet. Schweitzer left, and five protesters were later arrested. They pleaded not guilty in Helena Municipal Court. The protesters were released without bail Tuesday on the conditions that they remain law abiding and stay away from the Capitol.
During a public meeting in Billings the next day, Schweitzer was asked about the incident. “Well, some of the folks who don’t like the Keystone are snappy dressers -- and good dancers, I found out,” he quipped.
He said there will be pipelines built in Montana in the future because the state has oil and cars use it. There is a current oil boom in eastern Montana and northern North Dakota.
“Look, any new pipeline that’s going to be built in Montana is going to be built to the most modern up-to-date standards,” he said. He said the alternative is to transport crude and gasoline by semi trucks or trains, but those are not fail-safe either. “Through time we’ve found that these pipelines are probably safer than some of the other ways of moving oil and gasoline around."
Schweitzer says while no one wants breaks to occur, as long as we continue to use gasoline, citizens in some way accept that accidents can and do happen.
“And so we’re going to hold this company (ExxonMobil) and other companies that have spilled oil, they understand that it’s their liability. They understand that it's their mistake and they’re responsible for this effort. But until we don’t use oil anymore we all have some responsibility here,” Schweitzer says.
ExxonMobil officials said continuing high and fast water in the Yellowstone River is hampering efforts to determine why the Silvertip Pipeline broke. The pipeline carries oil from fields in Wyoming to an ExxonMobil refinery in Billings, Montana.
During a Congressional hearing today on the pipeline break, company officials said if regulators approve, the tentative plan is to replace the Silvertip pipeline with new technology.
Pipelines are regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Adminsitration (PMHSA) in the US Department of Transportation.