New Jersey Transit

Transportation Nation

First Fare Hikes, Now NJ Transit Users Will Pay More to Park

Monday, December 06, 2010

Over there, an empty spot.  Image by Flickr user JGNY

(New York -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New Jersey Transit is preparing to charge more money for parking spots. The cash-strapped agency says its plan to privatize eighty-one parking lots at train stations and bus stops will raise an estimated $100 million dollars.

The agency has narrowed the field of competing companies to seven. The winning firm will be chosen in May and offered a 30 to 50 year lease. It will then control 60% of the parking spots in New Jersey Transit's system.

Prices are expected to rise at lots that already charge drivers to park and fourteen free lots covered by the plan are likely to begin collecting fees. The increases come on top of a 25% fare hike in May for New Jersey Transit train and interstate bus commuters.

Critics say the agency is sacrificing steady income for a large up-front payment. Jay Corbalis, an analyst with the public policy group New Jersey Future, said the plan is mainly designed to deliver a spike of revenue toward next year's budget.

"But that compromises future revenue for the agency," he said.

He added that privatization will lock up some parcels next to train and bus stops that  might better be developed with office buildings and stores. "It raises a number of questions about the long-term use of the lots," he said. "This land would not be available for 30 to 50 years for transit-oriented development."

NJ Transit says a private operator will upgrade the lots and bring consistency to a  system that is operated by a combination of municipal, private and New Jersey Transit operators.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Copenhagen To Open Bike Superhighways, and the Return of the Roosevelt Island Tram

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More on the FTA demanding repayment of $271 million in ARC Tunnel money from New Jersey Transit in the Wall Street Journal.

Construction company Schiavone, which has worked on the subway stations at Times Square and South Ferry, admitted that it defrauded government programs and evaded federal minority hiring requirements. (New York Times)

Copenhagen to open bike "superhighways," which will hopefully alleviate the "two-wheeler traffic jams (which) are especially regular on the main Noerrebrogade thoroughfare used by around 36,000 cyclists a day." (Grist)

Lufthansa says it will begin using biofuel on a daily flight beginning next year. (Alt Transport)

RadioBoston looks at a new interactive map that shows all of Boston's reported bike crashes.

London Underground employees take part in another 24-hour strike--and say that walkouts could escalate in 2011. (BBC)

In Pakistan, trucks aren't just vehicles--they're art. (World Vision via WBEZ)

Some cities are testing a new network-based approach to parking. "Streetline...mounts low-cost sensors in parking spaces, retrofits existing meters and ties them into a mesh wireless network to draw a real-time picture of the spaces available, the cars needing tickets and how much to charge for parking." (Wired)  One of those places is Roosevelt Island, which may also begin its own bike share program. (DNA Info)

Speaking of all things R.I., the Roosevelt Island tram returns to service today. Just to be on the safe side, pack some lunch and forego drinking liquids 12 hours before boarding.

The Nissan Leaf wins the 2011 European Car of the Year designation. Take that, Chevy Volt! (USA Today)

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Transportation Nation

How Far Will Governor Christie Go in Privatizing New Jersey?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

New Jersey Turnpike Shield(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation) – When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed the ARC rail tunnel project (again) last Wednesday, he took the time to knock down some of the possibilities for cost savings that Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood had offered

in an attempt to save the largest public works project in America. One of these options was to use a public-private partnership, or P3.  “There was some interest in the ARC project from some private facilities,” Christie said. “But remember this, none of that will address the cost or the technical risk in the project. None of it will absorb additional costs from the tax payers because in the end, New Jerseyans are going to be responsible in some fashion to pay for the costs of it. In essence, it’s the difference between public financing and private financing. It’s really the only difference.”

But Christie's dismissal of the specific privatization scheme suggested for the tunnel does not indicate a distaste for P3s in general. Christie’s Transportation Commissioner, James Simpson, announced the day before the ARC press conference that the state would be soliciting bids in December to privatize the work of collecting tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike.  Taking toll collection out of government (and union) hands could save up to $43 million a year, or so suggested a report (pdf) delivered in May by the New Jersey Privatization Task Force, which Governor Christie himself created by executive order in March.

The New Jersey Privatization Task Force put forth a number of privatization opportunities from across virtually every department of state government.

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Filling in the Holes: Reversing the ARC Tunnel

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Now that New Jersey Govenor Chris Christie has cancelled the ARC tunnel project under the Hudson River once and for all, state agencies will begin to undo the work of the past year and a half.


Transportation Nation

New ARC Estimates Embolden Christie

Friday, October 22, 2010

(New York -- Matthew Schuerman, WNYC) Governor Chris Christie is taking new federal estimates of the Hudson River train tunnel as confirmation the project’s way off budget.

“Secretary LaHood confirmed today what we knew two weeks ago,” Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, said in an e-mail. “The ARC Tunnel project is over budget and puts New Jersey taxpayers at risk of being saddled with billions of dollars in added costs.”

LaHood earlier today released revised federal estimates that put the likely cost for the Access to the Region’s Core Tunnel between $9.775 billion to $12.708 billion.

That’s $1 billion to $4 billion over the $8.7 budget for the project.

That’s still a little shy of Christie’s contention, as voiced earlier this week that the tunnel is “running $2 to $5 billion over its original budgeted estimate.”

(Christie’s office says he is counting the $775 million needed to redo the Portal Bridge, a necessary component. Still, the bridge was never included in the $8.7 billion estimate.)

But it’s pretty close.

LaHood’s statement though emphasized the low end of that range.

“DOT is committed to working together through the life of the project to keep costs down to the lowest estimate,” he said.

Christie, meanwhile, is emphasizing the high end.

“Critics who seem to be using the moment for political advantage need to answer the question that remains today and was brought into focus by Secretary LaHood: how would they pay for potentially billions of dollars in cost overruns?” his press secretary said.

Still, Christie’s expected to spend this weekend studying recommendations from the federal and state working group that was set up two weeks ago.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Combating "Range Anxiety," NJ Transit wants commercial development of Hoboken Terminal, and remembering "the bus station from hell"

Monday, October 11, 2010

NPR takes a look at the efforts in the U.S. to make electric vehicle charging stations more widely available -- thus combating "range anxiety." One place charging stations will be: big box store Best Buy. (Earth2Tech)

As wrecking crews tear down San Francisco's Transbay Terminal ("the bus station from hell"), KALW talks to the people who have spent years commuting through it.

NJ Transit to propose commercial development of historic Hoboken Terminal. (Star-Ledger)

Google is testing a car that can drive itself (New York Times). But the BBC wonders:  are drivers really ready to "surrender the pleasures and frustrations of life behind the wheel?"

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was on today's Brian Lehrer Show to talk about his new report on bike lane chaos.  Listen to the audio below.

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Transportation Nation

Is public transit really cheaper?

Monday, July 19, 2010

(Secaucus, New Jersey - Matthew Schuerman, WNYC News) One common piece of advice you'll hear for cutting the household budget is to take public transit. Get out of your car and onto the bus. Or the subway. But in some areas, that financial rule doesn't cut it anymore. Because transit authorities are cutting service and raising fares. Here's how riders in New Jersey are coping with the new math.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: a Hot July Senate Energy Debate? CA high-speed rail chief speaks, 3,000 will move for NY tunnel

Friday, June 04, 2010

Harry Reid says Senate will take up an energy bill in July.  (Fire Dog Lake)

Ugly air delays down.  Hawaiian, Alaska and US Airways top on-time ratings as airlines try to get ahead of new federal penalties.  (USA Today)

3,000 people get letters telling them they will have to move to accommodate new tunnel across Hudson River in Manhattan.  (NY Times)

In first public comments, head of California high-speed rail says he will reconsider some of that project's assumptions.  Funding is first, surprise surprise.  (SF Chronicle)

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