TN Moving Stories: BRT On The Rise -- But Not Everyone's a Fan; Mica Wants Reauthorization Bill ASAP
Monday, May 23, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Amtrak is seeking private investors for its Northeast Corridor high-speed rail line. (The Hill)
California's high-speed rail authority is disputing bills from Caltrain that are worth more than $108,000. (San Francisco Examiner)
Rep. John Mica's opinion piece in today's Politico: "Congress must act now" on transportation reauthorization legislation.
San Francisco's cabbies want their fares in cash instead of credit cards (Bay Citizen via New York Times). Meanwhile, NYC livery cab owners are fighting the city's outer-borough medallion plan (WNYC).
New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, a supporter of the city's bike lanes, gives a reporter a taste of his two-wheeled commute. (New York Times)
Maryland's governor signed a bill forbidding a French government-operated company from competing to run that state's commuter trains, because of the company's activities during the Holocaust. (Washington Post)
The NY Daily News blames Mayor Bloomberg for not doing enough for the city's transit.
Boston unveils three electric car charging stations today. (Boston Herald)
Riders at two Brooklyn F and G train stations have their stations back -- for now. (WNYC)
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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:
-- the Yankees' parking garage is losing money, plus it displaced a public park (link)
-- cab sharing on tap for this year's US Open (link)
-- bike commuting in Houston? You betcha. (link)
-- carpooling in Houston? Yep, especially as gas prices fluctuate (link)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
(Washington, DC -- David Schultz, WAMU) I know, I know -- the makeup of a local transit authority's board of directors is not exactly the sexiest topic, especially not at a time when most people are thinking of turkey, football or some weird combination of the two.
But while this may seem like something only a wonk could love, there's actually a sneaky political power play in the works here that could shift the balance of influence in the D.C. region and fundamentally alter the way Metro operates.
In Maryland, Vote for Governor is Vote Between Rail and Bus Rapid Transit Along Proposed "Purple Line"
Monday, November 01, 2010
(Matt Bush, WAMU) In the DC metro area transit has become a key issue for many voters in the Maryland governor's race. Specifically, candidate support or opposition for a proposed extension of DC area Metro known as the Purple Line is likely to decide the votes of many in the DC suburbs.
Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich wants the Purple Line to be rapid buses, saying it is cheaper and more likely to receive federal funding. Incumbent Democrat Gov. Martin O'Malley wants light rail, saying, among other reasons, it is more attractive to potential businesses looking to locate in the D.C. suburbs.
That stance helped O'Malley receive the endorsement of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. "We're at capacity on certain lines already on Metrorail. When you look at buses, they fill up pretty quickly, they don't move as many people, and they don't move them as fast," says Jim Dinegar, the board's president.
A Maryland Transit Administration study also termed light rail better for the environment. But the World Resources Institute in D.C. did its own study, which says rapid buses are better. The institute's Greg Fuhs says they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
"The primary reason being the energy source for light rail, the region covered by the Purple Line system, is heavily coal dependent," Fuhs says.
Fuhs adds many buses now run on cleaner fuels than gas and get better gas mileage. Either way, depending on what plan they support, local residents are heading to the polls knowing the man who wins the governor's race will decide between rail or bus. And that's worth voting on.
Friday, October 22, 2010
(Washington, DC — David Schultz, WAMU) Some cities use letters or numbers to name their train lines; here in D.C., we use colors. Depending on where you're going, you take the Red Line, Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line or Yellow Line. The iconic D.C. Metro map is an artful study in the use of these five primary colors.
But for years, there's been talk of a new color - the Purple Line. Until recently, the Purple Line has been more myth than reality - in part due to the light rail project's nearly $1.7 billion price tag. In the past four years, however, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) made it a priority and has begun seeking federal funds for the Purple Line.
O'Malley is up for election this year and Bob Ehrlich, his Republican opponent and his predecessor as Governor, is not a Purple Line supporter. And that may end up costing him the election.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation) You won’t find a clearer policy statement than the domain name for NoTrain.com. The web site was created on behalf of Scott Walker, the republican gubernatorial candidate in Wisconsin, who in a new campaign spot takes a stand against a proposed Madison-to-Milwaukee rail line. Rather than build the $810 million dollar federally-funded “boondoggle,” Walker says, he’d like to “fix Wisconsin’s crumbling roads and bridges.” He’s worried for the “hard-working families who are going to pick up the tab” for a train they may never ride.
The undercurrents are of states rights and fiscal responsibility. The television ad and the open letter that appear on the web site are directed not so much against Walker’s Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (who supports the rail plan), but against President Barack Obama, who won the state of Wisconsin two years ago by nearly fourteen percent.
Walker isn’t the only Republican gubernatorial hopeful employing the roads-vs-rail rivalry in a state that voted for Obama. California nominee Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO, has complained that issuing bond debt for high speed rail is unwise in the current economy. She wants the plans put on ice. In Ohio, candidate John Kasich has proposed repurposing the $400 million in stimulus money set aside for faster trains serving Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, and using that money for roads. And in Maryland, Republican challenger Bob Erlich has taken issue with Governor Martin O’Malley’s goal to “dial up mass transit.” Erlich says he wants to see a better balance of highway and transit projects, and has suggested that a number of commuter rail projects be converted to a bus program.
The party is not monolithic against rail.