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Transportation Nation

Metro GM Apologizes After Especially Bad Week On Red Line

Friday, November 15, 2013

WAMU

The head of D.C.'s transit agency is apologizing to Red Line riders for the delays this week which were unusually bad -- even by the standards of the oft-beleaguered Metro line.

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Transportation Nation

Plans Move Ahead For Houston's New Commuter Rail Line

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Houston Metro (photo by .imelda via flickr)

(Houston, TX -- KUHF) As work on Houston's new light rail lines reaches the halfway point, Metro is now looking at plans for the area's first commuter rail line that would bring people into the city from the suburbs.

Right now Metro is gathering public input on the proposed US 90A/Southwest Rail Corridor. It would be a nine-mile line that would bring commuters from Missouri City to the Fannin South Station. Riders could then hook up with the Red Line that runs through downtown and the Medical Center.

Metro's Jerome Gray says they're estimating about 24,000 people a day would use the new line to travel into the city from the southwest. "That corridor, that area, census projections show that we're going to see quite a population boom, about 25 percent until 2035."

Gray says they're looking at two proposed track alignments that would run along Highway 90 and they're now studying how the rail line would affect the local environment. They also have to figure out how to pay for the project, which is expected to cost about $500 million.

"While we're still going through the process of considering and figuring out where the money would come from," Gray says, "we also have to go ahead with this FTA (Federal Transit Administration) process, this environmental impact study, and the various things that we must do before requesting any type of federal assistance."

Construction on the line is still several years away and could start close to 2020.

For more about this project -- and to listen to the radio version of this story -- visit KUHF here.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: US Exporting More Gasoline and Diesel Than It Imports, Senate Dems Say They'll Pass Surface Transpo Bill in January

Friday, December 30, 2011

Top stories on TN:
New York City traffic deaths hit historic low. (Link)
Feds shut down Chinatown bus company Double Happyness for safety violations. (Link)
Vermont's Route 107 finally reopened in Vermont, four months after being washed out by Tropical Storm Irene. (Link)
Year in Review, San Francisco: apps launch, rail remains, protests simmer. (Link)

San Francisco MUNI bus (photo by torbakhopper via Flickr)

For the first time since Harry Truman was president, the United States is exporting more gasoline and diesel (but not crude oil) than it imports. (NPR)

Senate Democrats expect to pass a long-delayed surface transportation bill soon after they return to Washington next month. (The Hill)

San Francisco's MUNI wants to eliminate some bus stops in order to speed up travel times. (Bay Citizen)

How much do you really know about the Keystone XL pipeline? Reality check time! (Marketplace)

Albuquerque quietly turned off its red light traffic cameras weeks ago. (KRQE)

Los Angeles' Red Line subway is inching towards later hours. (Los Angeles Times)

Biking and gender: where the women commute. (Atlantic Cities)

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Transportation Nation

Metro Employees Union Tries to Build Bridges To Riders

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Metro employee union leaders listen to riders during a town hall meeting.  Courtesy of: David Schultz

Metro employee union leaders listen to riders during a town hall meetingm (photo by David Schultz/WAMU)

(Washington D.C. - WAMU) The second anniversary of the Red Line train crash that killed nine people at Fort Totten Metro Station is this week, and the occasion has Metro's employee union trying to bridge a gap between workers and passengers.

In the two years since the crash, Metro has faced a litany of problems -- everything from faulty track circuits to federal reprimands to broken escalators.

Metro's employees union has come under fire during that time. But local union president Jackie Jeter said reports of conflict between riders and workers are overblown.

"It's projected that there's this antagonistic or combative type of relationship and I don't believe that," she said. "I truly, truly don't believe that."

A train operator was one of the nine people killed in the crash. In the months that followed, a string of workplace accidents killed several more Metro front line employees.

Union official Jim Madaras says he believes there's a natural alliance between riders and workers.

"We all are in the same boat. The employees want to go home to their families," he said. "The passengers want to get to and from where they want to go safely."

Since the Red Line crash, Metro has undergone a major management shake up. The agency has hiring new CEO and its board of directors has almost entirely turned over since the 2009 accident.

Listen to the story here.

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Transportation Nation

When Public Transit Kills, Who To Sue?

Friday, November 05, 2010

(Washington, DC — David Schultz, WAMU) You can sue your boss, you can sue your spouse, you can sue your best friend - you can even sue yourself!

But you can't sue the government.

Photo courtesy: flickr user kristinashan

If the government enacts a law or a policy that injures you in some way - either physically or financially - you can't sue it for damages. That's because of a legal clause known as "sovereign immunity."

The clause has roots dating back to monarchical times. It's designed to give legislative bodies the freedom to make laws in the public good without fear of crippling legal payouts that would deplete their treasuries.

Of course, if you or your loved one has had your lives upended by, say, a horrific subway train crash, you're not a huge fan of sovereign immunity.

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