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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: GOP Ties Payroll Tax to Keystone Pipeline, New Marlins Stadium Lacks Transpo Plan, Big Changes for Chicago Taxis

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Mitt Romney: metro-friendly moderate? (Link)
NY's governor signed the MTA tax reduction into law. (Link)
Northern states are looking for eco-friendly road de-icers. (Link)
Protesters disrupt West Coast ports. (Link)

The new Marlins stadium (photo by Ghost of Fire via Flickr)

The GOP is tying the payroll tax cut extension to the Keystone pipeline. (WNYC)

The Los Angeles MTA released a one-year action plan to address civil rights violations cited in a federal audit. (Los Angeles Times)

The New York MTA’s final 2012 budget plan won’t restore any of the bus or subway service officials eliminated last year. (New York Daily News)

A group of senators is pushing to extend the commuter tax benefit before it runs out. (The Hill)

The transportation plan for the new Miami Marlins stadium remains incomplete -- four months before opening day. (Atlantic Cities)

And: The city of Miami --which owns the stadium -- has yet to lease any of the store and restaurant spaces in the new ballpark's parking garages. "The city administration’s effort to fill 53,000 square feet of commercial space in the publicly owned parking garages flanking the stadium has barely gotten off the ground." (Miami Herald)

The City of Chicago is introducing broad changes to its taxi industry regulations. (WBEZ)

An article about Finland's education system yielded this factoid: "Speeding tickets are calculated according to income." (New York Times)

Cities and counties across Texas are increasingly demanding that drunken-driving suspects who refuse to take breathalyzer tests submit to blood tests. (Wall Street Journal)

Colorado decides today whether to make energy companies list all the chemicals they use to do hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. But environmentalists want them to disclose much more. (Marketplace)

Mobile speed cameras in Maryland are racking up ticket money from nailing drivers who speed through work zones. (Washington Post)

Check out an 1896 map of California bike routes. (LA Curbed)

And on this morning's Brian Lehrer Show: tune in around 11:30am for a conversation about one scientist's subway sleeping experiment. (WNYC)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Texting While Driving Up 50%, House To Hold Hearing on CA Bullet Trains

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top stories on TN:

What Cuomo's tax bill says about transit. (Link)
And: Cuomo says he'll include transit in his infrastructure fund. (Link)
Bloomberg is still optimistic that the governor will sign the taxi bill. (Link)

Waiting for a bus in L.A. (photo by Laurie Avocado via Flickr)

A federal audit says Los Angeles's transit agency failed to fully research its impacts on riders and communities, especially when eliminating bus lines, adding service or changing fares. (Los Angeles Times)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing this week on California's high-speed rail project this week. (Link)

The pre-tax commuter benefit rewards drivers more than transit riders. (New York Times)

And: if Congress doesn't act before the end of the year, the benefit expires. (Washington Post)

New Jersey's Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program has become popular that it may be expanding to other types of communities -- diluting the original intent of the program. (NJ Spotlight)

Texting by drivers is up 50%, even as states pass laws against it. And what’s more, many drivers don’t think it’s dangerous when they do it — only when others do. (AP via Washington Post)

Ford kills a line of small pickup trucks, says demand is for full-size. (Marketplace)

The new Apple store at Grand Central Terminal is a good deal for New York's transit agency. (NY Daily News)

Deaths on Caltrain tracks are increasing--horrifying train engineers, who are the last people to see the victims alive. (Bay Citizen)

More on Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor problem. (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: US Traffic Fatalities Hit Lowest Point In 60 Years, Toronto Went From "Transit City" to "Transit Pity", and: Look Up! Invisible Bug Highway

Friday, April 01, 2011

U.S. traffic fatalities fell to the lowest levels in 60 years--representing a 25% decline since 2005 (New York Times). US DOT head Ray LaHood writes: "Despite this good news, we are not going to rest on our laurels."

A Los Angeles Times columnist says that the MTA, in eliminating bus lines, is making the wrong decision at the wrong time. Says he in the accompanying video (below): "We are cutting back at exactly the time we should be throwing a lot of resources into expanding public transportation."

The Toronto Star feels similarly about that city's transit plan. "Transit City has become a transit pity," they write of Mayor Rob Ford's commuter rail expansion, saying it "will take longer to build, deliver less service, and leave Toronto in search of an extra $4.2 billion."

Skanska AB, the construction giant working on some of New York's largest public works projects (including the Fulton Street Transit Center), will pay a $19.6 million settlement after being investigated for circumventing rules designed to encourage the hiring of minority- and women-owned businesses. (Wall Street Journal)

A decision about contested bike lanes in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood is expected in April. Last November, the city installed about a quarter-mile of a bike path on Charlestown's Main Street, then removed the lanes a short time later after neighborhood complaints. (Boston Globe)

U.S. sales of cars and trucks are expected to rise at a double-digit rate in March (AP via Detroit Free Press). Meanwhile, Toyota USA today announced higher sticker prices for nearly every 2011 model the company sells here. (USA Today)

A new report says that Texas will be facing a $170 billion gap between the amount of money that needs to be invested in transportation to keep commutes from getting worse and the amount of money the state expects to bring in from federal freeway funds, the gasoline tax and vehicle registration fees between 2011 and 2035. (Houston Chronicle)

President Obama signed a bill that funds the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill through May. Meanwhile, a battle is brewing over some controversial pieces of the longer measure. (The Hill)

In Bethesda, Maryland, you can now use your cellphone to pay the parking meter. (WAMU)

Look up! Above your head is an invisible billion-bug highway. (NPR)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Houston is contemplating natural gas-powered buses. NY Congressman -- and bike lane cipher -- Anthony Weiner kills at the Correspondents Dinner (sample line: "Vote for Weiner--he'll be frank.") We have the latest in the inter-city bus investigations. And: the K train rides again -- if only on the subway's roll sign.

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TN Moving Stories: Japan Trying to Get A Handle on Infrastructure Damage, LA Passes Sweeping Bus Service Cuts, and Boston Band Powers Concerts with Bikes

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nearly two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, engineers still do not know the full extent of damage to roads, bridges, rail lines and other infrastructure. (NY Times)

Meanwhile, Toyota is warning factories and dealers in North America that production delays are coming, while Nissan is looking for ways around its factory closures in Japan by flipping the supply chain around. (Marketplace)

The Los Angeles MTA approved sweeping bus service cuts, eliminating nine lines and reducing 11. Officials say they are still providing adequate service while making the bus system more efficient; critics say L.A.'s low-income residents will be hurt the most. (Los Angeles Times)

WNYC looks at the 2010 New York census map.

A Boston-based band uses bikes to power their concerts. "One person can sustain about 100 watts without breaking too much of a sweat. Five people can amass enough wattage to power a small live show." (WBUR)

City-funded parking garages at Yankees Stadium have become a "financial swamp for taxpayers," writes a NYDN columnist. "Ever since it opened...two years ago, the 9,000-space parking system has operated at barely 60% capacity, even on game days. Meanwhile, its operating expenses have run twice what was expected."

NJ Transit paid nearly $3.6 million for unused vacation and sick time last year -- even as it raised fares and cut service. Gov. Christie says the agency should go to a 'use it or lose it' policy. (Asbury Park Press)

The Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission made a $10 million commitment to a new $50 million revolving fund for loaning money to developers to build affordable housing near rail stations and bus stops. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Ohio Senate voted to pass a measure banning signs that tout federal stimulus spending along Ohio's roadways. (AP via BusinessWeek)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: As massive bus cuts loom, Long Islanders get emotional at a hearing. A NYC deputy mayor goes on the BL Show to defend the city's bike lane program -- and voice support for the city's transportation commissioner. And: after reports that a former DC Metro employee left the agency to become a lobbyist, the agency's board put the brakes on a contract.

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TN Moving Stories: NYC's Transit Police Scooters, Airlines Set to Report Robust Profits, and Seats Available for 2013 Ride to International Space Station

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Transit police scooters in Union Square subway station (Kate Hinds)

The New York Daily News says that "law enforcement in the subways has taken a cartoonish turn with transit police increasingly tooling around on three-wheeled standup scooters."

Having failed to get federal stimulus money to establish new Amtrak passenger rail service from Jacksonville to Miami, the Florida Department of Transportation wants to spend $118 million out of the state's transportation trust fund. (St. Augustine Record)

As it prepares to enter one of the largest construction booms in its history, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is operating with an internal watchdog staff that has been cut by more than half since 2000. (Los Angeles Times)

Seats are available for a 2013 ride to the International Space Station. All you need are many (many) millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of training. (Wired/Autopia)

The Washington Post says that Metro's board is off track.

Continuing a recovery from one of the worst economic slumps in airline industry history, the nation's air carriers in the weeks ahead are expected to report robust profits for 2010. (Los Angeles Times)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it hasn't received any complaints from F and G train riders in Brooklyn after big service changes went into effect on Monday. (WNYC)

The Mountain Line--Missoula's bus service--is setting ridership records and planning high-tech upgrades. (The Missoulian)

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TN Moving Stories: LA Retires Last Diesel Bus, Why Taxis Are Scarce in NYC at 5pm, and Snowstorm Disrupts Travel -- but Newark Is Prepared

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Giant amoeba-shaped" snowstorm blankets northeast, snarls flights, causes some transit disruptions. (New York Times)

Get your NYC winter storm travel advisories here.

Senator John Kerry warns that partisan fighting threatens US's global standing, urges colleagues to invest the hundreds of billions to repair the nation’s decaying transportation infrastructure and build a renewable-energy technology sector. (The Hill)

Wondering how Newark prepared for today's snowstorm? Wait no more!

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority retires its last diesel bus today, becomes first (and only) major transit agency in the nation with a fleet that is totally equipped with alternative-fuel technologies. (Los Angeles Times)

Ever feel like you can't get a taxi on a NYC street at 5pm? You're right, because data proves cabs disappear by the hundreds between 4pm and 5pm. (New York Times)

Chicago's Metra commuter rail introduces a quiet-car program, providing a haven for passengers who don't want to "hear about every medical malady in the world." (Chicago Tribune)

A federal audit sharply criticizes Miami-Dade Transit for shoddy financial management and weak internal controls -- including improper accounting for bus fare boxes and a failure to document how federal grant money has been spent. No word yet on when federal transit dollars will flow to Miami again. (Miami Herald)

TheCityFix takes a look at how transit systems worldwide use symbols to help you find your way.

The Takeaway looks at hybrids vs. electric cars at the Detroit Auto Show; listen below!

New York Daily News cartoonist Bill Bramhall neatly combines Mayor Bloomberg's apparent flight from Bermuda during the 12/26 blizzard with his attempts at improving city snowplows.

Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News

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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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