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VIDEO: Transportation Nation's Mug. It Can Be Yours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Action shot from "Multi-Modal Mug" shot film by Amy Pearl / WNYC

At Transportation Nation, we serve up serious news, with flair, style, and a flash of java.

Rejoice. (And get a tax deduction, too.) You can own a Transportation Nation coffee mug.

'What's so exciting about a coffee mug?' you might ask. 'It doesn't run on a smart grid or move at the speed of a bullet train." But, friends, it is a reminder to you of all the value this site has brought you in 2012. And your donation shows our reporters here at TN that you care.

Plus, the video is hilarious. We present to you the multi-modal mug. Yours as a thank-you gift for a donation of $5 / month to our ad-free, nonprofit public media project.

If you won't donate, consider sending this around to your friends who might.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Minnesota's Transpo Cuts Lessened, NYC Losing Millions in Revenue to Fare-Beating Kids, and Zipcar Has Big Impact on Baltimore

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cuts to Minnesota's transportation bill aren't as bad as originally projected. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Almost half of New York City's subway fare beaters are kids. (New York Daily News)

Seattle drivers might pay $100 more next year to register their cars, with most of that money earmarked for pedestrian, transit, bicycling and neighborhood-safety improvements. (Seattle Times)

Zipcar says it has reduced car ownership and increased public transit use in Baltimore. (Fast Company)

Carmageddon: a photo essay-poem, courtesy of Cute Overload.

How one hamster beat Carmageddon (photo by JDAC via Flickr)

Boston's bike share program -- Hubway-- could come to Cambridge this fall. (Boston Globe)

Wonder how Hubway is going to work? Alta Bicycle Share has a helpful video:

 

In some NYC neighborhoods, a clean street now means less alternate side parking. (WNYC)

Nissan is raising the price of the battery-powered Leaf and expanding sales to nine more states, mostly in the South. (Detroit Free Press)

 

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Transportation Nation

Twin Cities' Central Corridor Receives Federal Funding

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Construction for the Minneapolis-St. Paul light rail project known as the Central Corridor has been underway for some time now (and AP reports the line is now 12% complete). But it wasn't until yesterday that the federal government officially signed a funding commitment to pay for half the line's almost $1 billion cost. As Ray LaHood wrote in his blog: "What I really admire about the Twin Cities community is that they didn't wait for this agreement before getting started."

FTA Administrator Rogoff with Gov. Mark Dayton, US Senator Al Franken, and Twin Cities mayors Rybak and Coleman (photo courtesy of Fastlane.dot.gov)

The Federal Transit Administration is contributing $478 million. The rest of the money is coming from state and local sources.

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The light rail project has generated some controversy. Three lawsuits have been filed over it--including one from Minnesota Public Radio, which is concerned about rail noise affecting its broadcasting capabilities. And there have been civil rights implications as well. As Transportation Nation reported in its documentary "Back of the Bus: Race, Mass Transit and Inequality," initially the light rail line was going to go through--not stop--in the historically black Rondo neighborhood.

Service on the 11-mile light rail line is expected to begin in 2014.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Dynamic Pricing Comes To SF Parking and Amtrak Wants $ To Plan New Hudson River Tunnels

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cuts to the education budget led one Colorado school district to eliminate school buses; parents say more people are driving their kids to school -- and causing more traffic.  (NPR, Denver Post)

San Francisco is rolling out demand-based parking fees ranging from 25 cents to $6 an hour, depending on how many spaces are available. (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)

Is it time to reassess airplane maintenance? (The Takeaway)  Meanwhile, US airlines performed better last year -- but complaints were up 28%. (BusinessWeek)

A turkey visits the parking lot of Minnesota Public Radio. (Full-size picture here.)
Turkey! near the MPR building tonight in d'town St. Paul... on Twitpic

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill that reduces spending on Twin Cities bus and rail operations by $32 million over two years. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Electric car owners in Washington (state) may soon have to pay a $100 annual fee to make up for lost gas-tax revenue. (Seattle Times)

Amtrak applied for nearly $1.3 billion to start planning two new Hudson River tunnels, as well as an expanded in- New York City station -- and Governor Christie signed off on it. (NorthJersey.com)

Peer-to-peer car sharing -- or 'l'auto se partage' -- comes to France. (Sustainable Cities Collective)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York has applied for more high speed rail funding. So has Amtrak. Short haul flights are on the decline. And: the Texas DOT says road projects need to be bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: ARC Repayment Deadline Absolutely, Positively Jan. 25th; NJ Gov. Christie to NY Sen. Schumer: Mind Your Manners

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NJ Governor Chris Christie says when it comes to voicing opinions about the ARC tunnel, NY Senator Charles Schumer should "mind his manners on the other side of the Hudson River."

Meanwhile, New Jersey's third--and final--deadline to repay the federal government $271 in unused ARC tunnel money is January 25th. (NorthJersey.com)

Amtrak passenger rail service will be restored to downtown St. Paul when the $243 million renovation of the Union Depot is complete next year. (Minnesota Public Radio)

San Francisco Muni employees will lose their free parking perk--and agency officials have vowed to crack down on their staff who park illegally on the street and sidewalks around their job sites (San Francisco Chronicle). But exactly when this will happen is unclear.

In his State of the City speech today, Mayor Bloomberg will roll out a proposal to change taxi rules to make it possible to hail a new category of livery cab anywhere in the outer boroughs. (WNYC)

Mismanagement in the Washington State Department of Transportation caused a “gross waste of public funds,” costing the state $42.5 million in cost overruns. (The News Tribune)

The Federal Transit Administration on Tuesday cleared the way for Oahu to begin construction on a $5.5 elevated rail transit system. (KITV)

One side benefit of China's epic traffic jams: enterprising village residents sell food to stranded travelers at a markup. (New York Times)

Ray LaHood says that "the number of laser strikes on airplanes in 2010 nearly doubled from the previous year to more than 2,800. This is the highest number of incidents since we first began keeping track in 2005."

A new British study found public transit riders are six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections, and occasional riders are most at risk.  (New York Daily News)

Which cars cost the most to insure? Rule of thumb: "Any vehicle that would cause a teenage boy to stop and gawk." (MSN Money)

Minneapolis' Caribou Coffee redesigned bus shelters to look like ovens as part of an ad campaign to promote their new breakfast sandwich. Yes, that heating element is real. (Adrants.com)

Why are thieves swiping catalytic converters from vehicles--which happened this week at an auto dealership in Wayne, New Jersey? 1) The pollution-reduction devices contain platinum and palladium, and 2) they're relatively easy to steal.  (The Star-Ledger, KRDO)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following:  NY Senator Schumer and NJ Governor Christie are trading rhetorical blows over the ARC tunnel. Also: House Transportation Committee chair John Mica says the next transportation authorization bill needs "alternate means of financing," and Montana legislators continue to wrestle with that state's DUI problem.

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Transportation Nation

Twin Cities Planning Organization Saw 'Golden Age'

Friday, December 31, 2010

(St. Paul, Minn. -- Dan Olson, MPR) A powerful layer of Twin Cities government that many voters have never heard of has a new chair.

On Wednesday Minn. Governor-elect Mark Dayton appointed Susan Haigh to replace Peter Bell as chair of the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning board that oversees transit in the Twin Cities.

Bell is the Met Council's longest serving chair, and the Republican appointee has overseen the completion of several major transit projects. He says the Met Council experienced a "golden age" on his watch.

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Transportation Nation

Charity CEO Picked to Head Minn. Transit Board

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Susan Haigh, has been picked as the new leader for the board that runs the Twin Cities transit system. has been picked by Gov.-elect Mark Dayton as the new leader for the board that runs the Twin Cities transit system. (MPR Photo / Dan Olson)

(St Paul, Minn--Tim Pugmire, Dan Olson, MPR) Minnesota Governor-elect Mark Dayton filled a key transportation cabinet post Wednesday with his selection of Susan Haigh as Metropolitan Council chair. Metropolitan Council is the board that runs the Twin Cities transit system.

Haigh is currently CEO of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, where she said she plans to continue her work. She also served 10 years as a Ramsey County Commissioner and 12 years as a chief deputy county attorney. In a news release, Dayton called Haigh a "proven leader and consensus-builder."

The governor appoints the 17 member Met Council which oversees the work of 3,700 employees and an annual budget of about $780 million.

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Transportation Nation

Cars Gone: Vehicle Rapture or Minnesota Snow Reef?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snowbank in snow city Minneapolis. Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio

(Minneapolis -- Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio)  Where's the rest of the car?  Buried under a nearby snowbank near this Interstate 35 and Washington Avenue intersection here in Minneapolis?

Probably not.

Our "processed" snow here has been bladed and pushed into rock-like snowbanks, winter time reefs that just like the maritime hazards can shear off otherwise necessary portions of our vehicles.

Greetings from snow-blasted Minnesota!

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Tax Cut Bill Has Mass Transit Tax Break, and Airline Bag Fees Reap Billions

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tucked into the tax cut bill is a provision that would allow thousands of transit riders to save hundreds of dollars a year on their commuting costs.  And it could have a financial ripple effect. (Marketplace)

Airline bag fees brought in $4.3 billion this year. (USA Today)

NYC Transit considers taking entire subway lines out of service for equipment and maintenance. (New York Daily News)

Pennsylvania's Port Authority gets $45 million in emergency funding to postpone record-breaking Port Authority service cuts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Right now if people charge their electric cars slowly, the grid can handle it. "But people will want faster charging, which will require bigger transformers and heavy-duty power outlets that deliver 240 volts. And running the grid will get more complicated." (NPR)

Snowplow drivers are working around the clock to keep roads passable in the Twin Cities. Snow day! (Minnesota Public Radio; slideshow)

Jet Blue was fined $600,000 by the US DOT for violating rules protecting disabled passengers, as well as failing to disclose code share information. (Washington Post)

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $1.1 billion finance package for two major transportation projects that will help ease traffic gridlock in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. (AP via NPR)

When is carpooling like a the end of a big group dinner? Which Bay Area commuter will reach for their wallet first when the toll booth/check comes? Video below! (Oakland North)

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Transportation Nation

A Bridge to ... London?! Historical Map with Grand Rail Plans

Monday, December 06, 2010

(St. Paul, Minnesota -- Dan Olson, MPR News) Who says people out here in Flyoverland don't dream big  transportation dreams?  Remember the contemporary kerfuffle over the bridge to nowhere?  Well, here's  a circa 1871 vision for a bridge to somewhere -- a rail line from St. Paul to the East Coast, with a bridge to London! Note the heading reads "St. Paul in the year 1900."

It's a map in the Minnesota Historical Society collection in St. Paul.  MnHS curator and map wrangler Patrick Coleman says the idea was created by the Tea Partiers of that era. Check with him for more on that.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Transportation Funding Woes Dog States, and Looking Ahead to Looking Back: Will Rear View Cameras Become Status Quo?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell wants to redirect $45 million in federal funds to stave off huge Port Authority service cuts, but says it's a short-term fix. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

NJ Spotlight writes about "New Jersey's troubled transportation outlook" and says that "a proposed subway to Secaucus and a depleted Transportation Trust Fund are only the beginning."

And PA and NJ aren't alone: Virginia is considering a host of options to help cover a massive shortfall in state transportation funding, including a small sales tax, tolls and the use of toll credits (Washington Post). And: Rhode Island officials are warning that "basic elements of the state’s transportation system are threatened. Officials responsible for both the highways and the transit system said a lack of money is undermining their efforts." (Providence Journal)

Now Ontario's transportation minister is getting into the transit fray, says it would be wasteful to scrap the $8.15 billion Toronto light rail plan because work has already started. (Toronto Star)

Rear view cameras could become more common in cars, as the Transportation Department proposes new safety rules. "There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," says Secretary Ray LaHood. (AP)

Buffalo Bills safety Bryan Scott bikes to practice. In Buffalo. In the winter. (Well, not when it's really snowing.) (Sports Illustrated)

Honda is ending production of the Element. (Auto Guide)

Outgoing congressman Jim Oberstar may land at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, where he's in talks about a possible role. (AP via Minnesota Public Radio)  But first, he gave an exit interview to TN's Todd Zwillich, which aired on today's The Takeaway. Listen below!

Tweet of the day, from WNYC's Azi Paybarah: "Think Rev. Billy, the eccentric 2009 candidate for #nyc mayor was just on my F train to #brooklyn. And he wasn't yelling about term limits!"

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Transportation Nation

Rep. Oberstar Chairs Final Transpo Hearing after 46 Years of with Committee

Thursday, December 02, 2010

(St. Paul, Minn. — Bob Kelleher, MPR) Rep. Jim Oberstar on Thursday chaired his last meeting of the House Transportation Committee that he's served in some capacity for 46 years.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski said he's drawing up legislation to name a new Department of Transportation headquarters building after the outgoing Minnesota Congressman.

Lipinski joined members of the committee with words of praise for Oberstar. Comments were bi-partisan, led by incoming chair and ranking member Rep. John Mica, R-Florida.

"We are truly blessed to be able to serve the people," Lipinski said. "And the people have been blessed to have your service for these years."

Oberstar told committee members his service has been a long, fulfilling and productive journey.

Oberstar commended the significance of the committee's work funding enduring infrastructure like highways and bridges.

"That our body of work, when we leave this place, will be there for our children, that it will be an enduring monument for this country, then we will have achieved our goal of serving the public," Oberstar said.

Committee members from both sides of the aisle gave Oberstar two standing ovations and ongoing praise. Oberstar leaves office after losing his re-election bid to incoming Republican Chip Cravaack.

For audio of Oberstar's final hearing head to our partner, MPR.

Watch this site for a Transportatio Nation interview with Oberstar to be posted soon.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Reconnecting What the BQE Severed, Mass Transit Expanding in L.A., and Looking Ahead to Intelligent Flight Paths

Monday, November 29, 2010

New York City ponders how to reconnect two neighborhoods that were severed years ago by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. (WNYC)

Second Avenue Sagas talks budget woes with the MTA's Jay Walder.

The Guardian is providing live updates from the U.N. climate change summit, which opens today in Cancún. Last year's summit was described as an "unmitigated disaster" or a "moral outrage," so it's probably fair to say that expectations for consensus on reducing carbon emissions is low.

A proposed high-speed rail link between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities is the topic of two public meetings, with the first one scheduled for today in St. Paul. (Minnesota Public Radio)

The TSA says Thanksgiving travel went smoothly (Washington Post). But it might go even more smoothly in the future, when the FAA overhauls its air traffic control systems and institutes intelligent flight paths. (Smart Planet)

Mass transit is expanding in Los Angeles. “The whole old-school L.A. thinking that people don’t ride subways, that’s a thing of the past.”(New York Times)

Bicycle commuting has tripled in big cities over the past two decades."It's almost like a snowball effect...People see other people cycling and they say, 'Wow!' (NPR)

Your parking history lesson for the day: Think vertical parking lots are futuristic? Check out this Chicago lot, circa 1930.

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Transportation Nation

The Winding Path to Build an Unusual--and Expensive--Bike Lane

Friday, November 19, 2010

(Minneapolis -- Dan Olsen, MPR) An unusual, and expensive, bike trail through one of the most hectic areas of Minneapolis may not open this year. The Cedar Lake bike trail, just slightly more than one-mile long, is eagerly awaited by cycling enthusiasts, but the path to building it has been long and difficult.

City of Minneapolis civil engineer Jack Yuzna says building this stretch of the Cedar Lake biking and walking trail in downtown Minneapolis is one of the most challenging projects in his professional career.

Yuzna says it involves negotiations with office building owners, a railroad company, various levels of government and the Minnesota Twins.

"We're actually walking underneath the promenade overhead of the Target Field ball park," Yuzna said while showing the project. "And if you listen you can hear there's a freight train passing through which was all part of the complexities of building the ball park along with the trail."

Bicycling advocates have been waiting 20 years for the link.

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Transportation Nation

Minn. Commuter Rail Celebrates 1st Birthday, Not Meeting Ridership Targets

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Image: (CC) by Flickr user Mulad.

(Tim Nelson, MPR) Minnesota's first commuter rail line marked its first anniversary Tuesday morning.

This year, nearly 600,000 people have stepped aboard the line's trains for the half-dozen round trips Northstar makes daily between Big Lake, Minn. and downtown Minneapolis.

But there haven't been as many riders as Northstar's builders had hoped when the line opened with great fanfare. Ridership is running about 5 percent below projections -- or about 30,000 fares. The shortfall is expected to worsen to as much as 15 to 20 percent below projections for the rest of this year.

Still, commuters who use the line are happy that they can take the train instead of driving.

"Traffic's pretty bad, and the train is a lot easier," said Jeff Burrell, a systems administrator who lives in Coon Rapids. "It's cheaper than paying for filling my tank every four days. It's convenient, it's more convenient [and] it's a smoother ride than the bus."

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Transportation Nation

Minn. Lawmaker Defends Earmarks, Vows to Save Light Rail Funds

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(St. Paul -- Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio) While Republicans are set to formalize a non-binding pledge banning earmarks, not every legislator thinks it's good policy. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), defended congressional earmarks today, saying limits have been put in place and that the money spent on them represents only a small part of the overall federal budget.

Republican House leaders called for a moratorium on the earmark process, which allows members of Congress to fund specific projects in their states or districts. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has said he also supports a ban on earmarks.

But McCollum said she's concerned about the $45 million earmark pending before the House for Minnesota's Central Corridor light rail project. She said the project is worthwhile and will create thousands of jobs.

"[Earmarks are] one half of one percent of the entire federal budget," McCollum told MPR's Morning Edition. "This is for local communities. I'm a big supporter of local control, especially when it comes to spending some of our tax dollars."

McCollum said she is working with the Obama administration to save Central Corridor from Republican cuts.

While the light rail project is a priority, McCollum said there are other earmarks she's supported in past years, such as money for the Harriet Tubman crisis centers in the Twin Cities.

"That's a community project that the community came together and said, 'Would you help us fund this,'" she said.

Listen to the full interview with McCollum at MPR.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Unintended Consequences of the Tarmac Rule, NJ Transit Not Eager to Repay $271 Million, and Cabbies Help Tweak GPS

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wisconsin gov-elect Scott Walker's response to Ray LaHood: fix roads before you build rail. Also, some friendly advice: "All across the country, in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, the voters chose new governors who are opposed to diverting transportation funding to passenger rail. I believe it would be unwise for the Obama administration to ignore the will of the voters." (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

New Jersey is not exactly whipping out its checkbook to repay $271 million to the Federal Transit Administration for the canceled ARC tunnel project, because "NJ Transit does not agree that the issues are as clear cut as portrayed in the FTA letter." (Asbury Park Press)

US airlines are stranding less passengers--but canceling more flights. Unintended consequences of the tarmac rule? (Bloomberg via MPR)

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 41% of drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point. (Los Angeles Times)

How can you improve GPS directions? Ask a cabbie. (Good)

Lansing wants to dip its toes into bus rapid transit. (Lansing State Journal)

Czech transport minister loses his license for 6 months for driving without valid license plates. (Czech Happenings)

Good Magazine wants to know: What is the best bus route in America?

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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

Oberstar Stands Firm on Record in Transportation-Filled Farewell Speech

Wednesday, November 03, 2010



(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) Chair of the  House Transportation Committee was unseated Tuesday. He has served Minnesota since 1974, an he sure had a lot to say about his transportation tenure. Below is the full audio of his emotional, proud, and of course, transportation-filled farewell speech.

"In the business world when the profits of sales go down, the CEO says, well it was sales, or marketing ... in this arena you look into the mirror and say, it was me. But there is nothing I would take back. "

About 6:25 into his remarks, Oberstar starts to list off all the work he is proud of, and it reads like the list of roads, bridges, tunnels and infrastructure that cover Minnesota.

"I can't change, and I wouldn't change any of the votes I cast this year to bring us out of the worst recession, to chart a course for the future ... I wouldn't change any of the votes I cast to bring forward the stimulus. Because the bridge over Interstate 35 at North Branch will be there long after I leave office, and long after any successor. That's a 100 year bridge. And the bridge at County Road 17 over I-35 ... that will be there long after..."

As for what this transportation legislator will do next, he says he will reflect for a while and look for something "in the public arena."

Download the full audio as broadcast by MPR.

Read more at MPR.

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Transportation Nation

Ousted Transpo Leader Oberstar to Speak Today

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) U.S. representative Jim Oberstar (D-MN), who was narrowly defeated yesterday by Republican Chip Cravaack, will speak today at 2pm Eastern time. This will be his first statement since losing the election.

Political newcomer Cravaack defeated Oberstar by about 4,000 votes and a single percentage point--but the margin isn't small enough to trigger a recount. Cravaack accused Oberstar of neglecting his home district and told supporters his victory should serve as a warning. "The voters have spoken, and I hope they are paying attention in Washington," Cravaack said. "Because you have spoken loud and clear, not just from Minnesota, but from across this great nation. Let this serve as a warning to Congress. We don't work for you. You work for us."

Speaking on Minnesota Public Radio this morning, MPR reporter Stephanie Hemphill said that "there will be a lot of people waking up this morning and pinching themselves, including Chip Cravaack and Congressman Oberstar. It's hard to believe that someone who was in Congress since 1975 is not going to be there anymore."

Oberstar chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was the only member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to fail to win re-election, and his defeat leaves many wondering what this means for transportation projects.

Minnesota Public Radio will carry Oberstar's speech live, and they'll be streaming it live on their website. To listen, go here and click on the "Listen Now" button the right side of the page.

To hear Chip Craavack's victory speech, go here.

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