Mass Transit

The Takeaway

New Tech Maps Mass Transit & More for The Blind

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Navigating mass transit is hard enough for those who see. It poses even more challenges for those who are blind. But new technologies are changing that. 

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Long Island, Connecticut Still Struggling to Recover

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Most of the region was preparing for an almost normal Monday morning commute. But eastern Long Island and much of Connecticut and were still digging out from more than two feet of snowfall.



Local Pols Sound Conciliatory Note on Mass Transit and the Tappan Zee

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If local New York politicians are working through the five stages of grief over the lack of a comprehensive mass transit system for the new Tappan Zee Bridge, they might be moving closer to acceptance.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Gridlock Sam's Master Plan: Mass Transit

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Each Thursday in April, Sam Schwartz, aka Gridlock Sam at The Daily News, and former NYC traffic commissioner, explains another facet of his plan for equitably pricing NYC transit and tolls. This week: mass transit.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Food on the Subway

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Annia Ciezadlo, journalist and author of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War, says efforts to ban subway eating ignore the great global traditions of public eating. Listeners: What was your most recent meal on mass transit?

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Transportation Nation

New Fears Over Revamped Transportation Bill

Friday, February 24, 2012

(photo by Flickr user: IceNineJon)

A federal transportation bill that threatened to cut billions from mass transit budgets around the country has been scrapped.  But as lawmakers return from a congressional recess, new fears are emerging about what will replace that bill.

Republican leaders say they are revamping  the $260-billion dollar bill after an outcry from colleagues.  The bill included a provision that would have funded public transit with a one time grant, instead of through the federal gasoline tax.

Robert Healy with the American Public Transportation Association spoke with staff members on Capital Hill about the bill on Friday.  He said the Transportation Committee is retooling the bill.  “They are considering continuing the current structure of the Highway Trust Fund as it refers to mass transit, and that’s great, but they’re also considering a shorter term bill,” said Healy.  He worried that the new bill would reduce mass transit funding on an annual basis.  Healy said that could upend many mass transit systems around the nation struggling to maintain service and keep up with repairs.

In New York, the initial legislation would have cut $1- billion dollars from New York's mass transit budget.  Several GOP Congressman, including Bob Turner (NY-09) split with party leadership over the bill, and would not support it.  “There is still a lot of uncertainty about the future of the transportation bill. However, I will not support any bill that does not sufficiently address the unique transportation needs of New York,” said Turner.

Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08) has been an outspoken opponent of the  Transportation bill.  He said he’s encouraged by reports that House Republicans have backed off their initial version of the legislation.  But he's still not satisfied that the revamped bill will protect mass transit.  “Even with the proposed fix to transit, I remain concerned about many other aspects of this bill,” said Nadler.

The bill had also called for widely deregulating domestic oil drilling and cut funds for biking and pedestrian infrastructure.  House leaders are expected to formally unveil their new plan after the House returns from a week-long recess.


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Transportation Nation

AUDIO: Mica's Constituents in the Dark About HR7

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Park Avenue, Winter Park, Florida


(Orlando, Fla -- WMFE) "I'm afraid I have not heard about the bill" one voter says. "It's a blank for me right now," another admits. "I have not a clue," a third offers, summing up the general level of awareness about the House transportation funding bill in the home district of its chief author, John Mica (R-Fla.)

Mica has acknowledged that his transportation bill looks unlikely to have an easy road through Congress -- in fact it's been divided into three to boost the chances -- but he believes his constituents will understand the rationale for the $260 billion, six-year spending plan. Given their low-level of awareness about the bill being hotly debated in Washington, his confidence may be justified. (Listen to tape above).

Mica says the push back from fellow lawmakers isn't because of the merits of the bill, but rather, because it doesn't have thousands of earmarks like its previous transportation funding legislation.

The bill has drawn the ire of mass transit advocates, who are unhappy with plans to scrap a requirement to fund public transport from gas taxes, and the bill, HR7, is currently stalled in the legislature.

Despite the bill's unpopularity, the Winter Park Republican told WMFE in Orlando that he thinks people in his district would support moves to put transportation money back in the hands of states to spend as they see fit.

“I don’t think that bureaucrats in ivory towers in Washington know what’s best for Florida, or for our communities," he said.




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Transportation Nation

New York Republicans May Defect on Transportation Bill

Friday, February 10, 2012

(photo by: Flickr user: See-ming Lee)

Three New York City Republicans are expressing reservations about their party's transportation bill.

The legislation would stop funding mass transit through a federal gasoline tax for the first time in about three decades.  Instead it would provide mass transit with a $40-billion dollar one time grant.

But exactly where the money for that grant would come from is unclear, leading to a host of denunciations from Congressional Democrats, editorial boards,  and US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, himself a Republican, who dubbed the legislation "the worst transportation bill" in decades.  The opponents say the bill could cost the New York area $1 billion in lost funds.

Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09), who won a narrow special election to succeed Congressman Anthony Wiener earlier this year,  could vote against his party’s bill.  Turner said in a statement he's concerned about how transportation funds will be allocated.  Turner said "it’s imperative that the necessary funding mechanism"  be in place to maintain and improve the transportation needs of the nation’s largest metropolitan population center.   “I will not support any bill that does not allow New York City to sufficiently meet those needs," Turner said.

A spokeswoman for Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm  (NY-13) said the Congressman is still reviewing the bill but "has concerns about it," and is working to amend it.  She did not mention the specific issues Grimm had with the legislation.

A spokesman for Hudson Valley Republican Nan Hayworth also express doubts about the bill in its current form.

And Congressman Jerrold Nadler says he has bi-partisan support for an amendment that would restore mass transit's funding stream. He says he'll introduce the amendment Monday.

Proponents of the legislation say drivers should not subsidize mass transit.  But opponents of the bill said it would drastically reduce the amount of funds available for subway, bus and train riders.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, a Republican, said projects like the Second Avenue subway and the Fulton Street Transit Center would be in jeopardy if the bill moves forward in its current form.  The Senate is developing a competing version of the bill.

The Transportation bill puts many area Republican lawmakers between a rock and an hard place:   over 50 percent of the region's commuters use transit to get to work, but  their party leadership is pushing another way.

Republicans Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), and Chris Smith (NJ-04) failed to return calls and emails seeking comment.

In New York, Chris Gibson (NY-20), and Pete King (NY-03) also did not respond to requests for comment.

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Federal Transportation Bill Could Cut MTA Funding

Monday, February 06, 2012

There's more alarm about last week's House of Representatives vote to change the way public transportation is funded. A group of New York area lawmakers and transportation officials denounced the Republican sponsored bill at a news conference Monday at Grand Central Terminal. They said the bill would slash $1.7 billion dollars from New York State coffers.



Why Transit Was Dropped From the Tappan Zee Bridge Plan

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


For nearly a decade, planners and local officials in Westchester and Rockland Counties thought new plans for a Tappan Zee Bridge would include rail or bus rapid transit. But when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans for a new bridge last month, transit on the bridge had disappeared, leaving local elected officials and transit backers irate. When did the governor decide to take transit out of the plans?

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Schumer: Extend Federal Mass Transit Tax Break

Monday, November 07, 2011

Senator Charles Schumer called Monday for Congress to renew the federal mass transit break that saves many New York commuters hundreds of dollars a year.


Transportation Nation

Gridlock Alert: President Obama Comes To Ground Zero

Thursday, May 05, 2011

President Obama Comforts Family Members of 9/11 Victims on the The Attacks' Ninth Anniversary, in September 2010 (White House Photo)

As President Obama visits the still not-quite finished World Trade Center memorial to lay a wreath today to honor those killed in the 9/11 attacks days after the attacks' mastermind was shot and killed, most of Lower Manhattan will become a frozen zone.  Most roads in Lower Manhattan  will be closed and PATH trains to the World Trade Center Station will be halted today around midday -- but otherwise, mass transit will be the only way to get around.

The  Daily New's Gridlock Sam advises:

President Obama heads to New York City on Thursday for a four-to-five hour visit.

The President is scheduled to land at Kennedy Airport about 10:30 a.m. Thursday before taking a chopper to Wall St. About 11 a.m., the President will most likely motorcade up the FDR Drive, take the 42nd St. exit and visit with firefighters between Seventh and Eighth Aves. in the 50s. Gridlock Sam will keep you abreast of any route changes at

After the firehouse, Obama will head downtown and lay a wreath at Ground Zero about 1:30 p.m. This means he will backtrack down the FDR, probably through the Battery Park Underpass and up West St. to the World Trade Center site. He'll also visit with 9/11 families before heading back to Kennedy Airport about 3 p.m.

Here are the freezes drivers face as the presidential motorcade zips around town:

- The FDR Drive below 63rd St. between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

- All avenues from Eighth to the FDR between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

- Northbound West St. below Chambers St. and the Battery Park Underpass between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

- Church St. between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

- The northbound FDR below Pearl St. between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

- Heavy delays at the Battery Tunnel and Brooklyn Bridge.

The World Trade Center PATH station will also be closed between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, and the M5 along with some express buses will be delayed and/or diverted

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Outer Borough Bus Service Isn't Keeping Up With Job Growth, Report Finds

Monday, February 28, 2011


New York City's bus service has not kept pace with employment growth, according to a new report.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Back of the Bus

Monday, February 14, 2011

WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog Andrea Bernstein and independent public radio reporter Nancy Solomon join us to talk about the new documentary "Back of the Bus: Race, Mass Transit, and Inequality."

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MTA Says No Complaints So Far About F, G Service Changes

Monday, January 17, 2011

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.

Comments [5]

Transportation Nation

How Americans Decide to (Not) Use Transit

Monday, May 10, 2010

The nation has gone through dramatic demographic and economic change over the last 10 years, in what history may end up calling the "lost decade" because jobs and economic change didn't keep pace.  That loss is coming home to roost now, says the Brookings Institution, which has turned its gaze and powers of analysis to The State of Metropolitan America.  One focus is on commuting, where the latest Census data and research points to a small drop in the number of people driving alone to work.  There is also a stark illustration of transit use: in only two major U.S. do more than one-quarter of residents do something besides drive to work alone (they are SF and NYC).

Today on The Takeaway, Bruce Katz, the Director of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program, shares his findings.  Among them, "if we keep building out low-density sprawl -- subsidized, frankly by government -- people won't choose a (transit) option."  Steve Dutch, Professor of Applied and Natural Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Green-Bay shares his research and views on why people don't use mass transitMore.

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Transportation Nation

WNYC The Brian Lehrer Show: The New MTA Chief

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What will mass transit in New York look like in ten years? Chairman of the MTA, Jay Walder, talks about his vision for the future of the MTA.

Listen to the full story.

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