transportation

High-Speed Rail vs. Modal Neutrality

Isn't it curious that an Administration devoted to the principle of multi-modalism is so obsessively determined to promote a single mode of its own preference -- that of high-speed rail? All three governors who rejected the federal HSR grants --- Govs. Walker, Kasich and Scott --- told Sec. LaHood that their states could badly use that money for more urgent needs of fixing roads, bridges and transit systems and, in the case of Gov. Scott, rebuilding Florida's ports in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion.  read more »

Maglev-Jitney Could Revolutionize Mass Transit

Using EDS suspension developed in Germany with Halbach array magnets, mini-maglev jitneys are a new technology that could transform congested corridors of Orlando. The train car itself is small – only 8’ wide x 30’ long – and holds approximately 12 sitting people and 8 or 9 standing people. But the ability of the train to zip along the centerline of crowded arteries like 17-92 and 50, and future tracks along secondary strips within the region, could give people a new way to travel.  read more »

Tampa to Orlando High Speed Rail: The Risk to Local Taxpayers

No sooner had Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected federal funding for the Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail line, than proponents both in Washington and Tallahassee set about to find ways to circumvent his decision. While an approach has not been finalized, a frequently suggested alternative is to grant the federal money to a local government, such as a city or county or even to a transit agency.  read more »

Giving the "New Houston Metro" Credit Where it's Due

Tuesday, the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) held a blogger luncheon with senior Metro people (Chairman, CEO, board members, managers) at the Rail Operations Center south of Reliant.  It was an informative event with a lot of good two-way Q&A.  And it included an impressive tour of the facility, which, btw, is not air conditioned in the main maintenance bay.  Let's just say it was the right time of year for a tour and I'm really glad I don't work there in the summer.  read more »

"Patchwork" High Speed Rail System Unraveling?

The widely dispersed opposition to proposals for high speed rail (genuine and faux) led Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to say that the Administration would press forward in a patchwork fashion if necessary.  read more »

Petrol a Green Fuel? The Volkswagen 261 Mile per Gallon Car

There have been reports for some years about the Volkswagen 1-litre car, so called because it would travel 100 kilometers on one litre of fuel. That is the equivalent of 235 miles per gallon. Earlier reports were that the car would be marketed by now.  read more »

A $53 Billion High-Speed Rail Program to Nowhere

Vice President Joe Biden announced today a plan to spend $53 billion over the next six years on passenger high-speed rail projects that will help reach the goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.  read more »

The Real Answer to Houston's Traffic Congestion

The Houston Chronicle editorial board recently argued that light rail is key to combating Houston's traffic congestion problems. But if you look at the three cities with worse traffic congestion than Houston - DC, Chicago, and LA - they have much more transit, including tons of light rail in LA. Transit clearly hasn't solved the problem in these cities. These people aren't stuck in that traffic because they like it - it's because the transit doesn't go where they need to go or isn't timely.  read more »

Confirming International Research: Hudson Tunnel Costs Explode

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is looking like a prophet now. In late October, the Governor cancelled a new tunnel across the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, because of the potential for cost overruns, which would be the responsibility of New Jersey taxpayers. By that point, the cost of the tunnel had escalated at least $1 billion to $9.7 billion.  read more »

California High Speed Rail Costs Escalate 50 Percent in 2 Years

The highly respected Californians for Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) has released a new cost estimate for the phase 1 Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail line. Based upon an analysis of California high-speed rail Authority documentation, including stimulus grant applications and other internal sources, CARRD estimates that the line will now cost $65 billion, rather than the current estimate of $43 billion.

The CARRD release indicated:  read more »