transportation Mixes Apples and Oranges on "Worst Cities for Drivers"

The website mixes apples and oranges in producing a list of the 10 worst "cities" for car drivers in the United States. The ratings hardly matter, since the score is based on a mixture of urban area and municipality data.  read more »

Top GOP Budget Officials Call for Investigation of Xpress West High Speed Train from Victorville to Los Angeles

Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee and Sen. Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee have expressed serious reservations on the proposed taxpayer loan to the Xpress West high-speed rail line that would operate two thirds of the way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas (from Victorville).  read more »

Is the Acela Killing America?

Has the finance industry trainjacked America?

By all accounts the Acela has been a success. Thought it is far from perfect and constitutes moderate speed rail for the most part, it seems to have attracted strong ridership. A midday train was totally packed on both the BOS-NYC leg and NYC-DC leg the last time I rode it. I didn’t see an empty seat anywhere. Which is pretty amazing given how much more expensive it is than the regional, and frankly not that much faster. It does seem to have accomplished its mission of more closely linking Boston, New York, and Washington.  read more »

Higher Gas Tax Unlikely to Gain Support in Congress

Although some infrastructure advocates are hoping to use the current budget negotiations to win support for an increase in the federal gasoline tax, the idea is unlikely to gain support in Congress or the Administration.  While  the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission proposed raising the federal gas tax by 15 cents/gallon as part of a broad deficit-reduction plan, neither House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have endorsed the idea.  Nor is an increase in the federal gasoline tax popular among  the  read more »

Finally, A Vegas Train That Makes Sense

Las Vegas Railway Express has signed an agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad to operate a conventional speed train from Fullerton, in Orange County to downtown Las Vegas, according to a story by Michelle Rindells of the Associated Press.  read more »

Election: "Stop Portland Creep" Resonates in Suburbs

Election results from all three of Portland, Oregon's largest suburban counties indicate a reaction against what has been called "Portland Creep," the expansion of the expansive light rail system without voter approval and the imposition of restrictive densification measures by Metro, the regional land-use agency.  read more »

Honolulu Rail Project Legal Problems Mount

According to the Hawaii Reporter, Honolulu's rail transit project has lost a major legal test in The Federal Ninth Circuit Court, as Judge Wallace Tashima ruled in v. Federal Transit Administration et al  read more »

The Future of Passenger Rail in America

On October 19, an Amtrak passenger train hit 111 mph in a test run on a 15-mile stretch of track between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois. It was the first tangible return from a three-year $1.5 billion program of improvements funded under the Administration's high-speed rail initiative. The program hopes to shave about an hour off the 5 ½ hour rail trip between Chicago and St. Louis. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn who were aboard, called it a "historic" event.  read more »

BBC Monster Traffic Jam List Includes Lexington, Kentucky? Really?

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has just published a list of 10 "monster commutes" around the world. Some are to be expected, and are usually found on any list of extreme traffic congestion, such as Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Nairobi and Dhaka.  read more »

Chicago Tribune Joins the Ranks of High-speed Rail Critics

Last year, in congressional testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on high speed rail, we cited the Chicago-to-St.Louis "high-speed rail" project as an example of the Administration's wasteful use of its economic stimulus money. We pointed out that the $1.4 billion program of track upgrades will allow top speed of 110 mph but will raise average speeds of Amtrak trains between Chicago and St. Louis by only 10 miles per hour, from 53 to 63 mph.  read more »