transportation

HSR Just Doesn't Fit

According to many economists, including the well-respected Robert J. Samuelson, the federal government's effort to fund high-speed rail lines is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. If one really breaks down the numbers, the Obama administration's goals of reducing green house gas emissions, traffic congestion, and oil consumption with these rail lines are idealistic to say the least, and this idealism may cost states more than their budgets can handle right now.  read more »

Governor Christie Cancels Under-Construction Tunnel in Unprecedented Move

New Jersey governor Chris Christie reaffirmed his decision to cancel the "access to the regional core" tunnel across the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. Christie had suspended his previous decision pending discussion of alternatives with the US Department of Transportation.  read more »

New York Political Leadership Forces Another Fare Hike

The New York Post editorialized (October 8) against what it called "Another TWU Fare Hike," blaming the union for the fares that will now rise to $2.50 for a ride. The editorial writer goes on to say of MTA chief Jay Walder, "It's not his fault that straphangers get whacked while the MTA's unionized workers -- whose blue collars come with fur trim -- don't have to make a single sacrifice to meet the MTA's shortfall."  read more »

Soccer Moms Against Rail Transit in Tampa

On election day, the voters of Hillsborough County, Florida (Tampa) will vote on a one-cent sales tax that would fund transit (75%) and roads (25%). Part of the funding would be used to build a new light rail line, which is the focus of campaigns on both sides.

The proponents are the usual well financed coalition of business, rail construction companies and consulting engineers, who could well profit from the program going forward.  read more »

Missing the Point on Jobs: The "More Transit - More Jobs" Report

The Transit Equity Network has just published a study called More Transit - More Jobs in which it suggests switching 50% of highway funding to transit in 20 metropolitan areas to create an additional 180,000 jobs over the next five years. Their basic thesis is that each kajillion in spending can produce more jobs in transit than in highways.  read more »

Commuter Rail Brings Slower Transit in Austin

Commuter rail is often sold to the public as a faster means of travel than buses. This can be true if the drive to the park and ride lot is short and your destination is within walking distance of a station. However, it is apparently not true in Austin.  read more »

Cars, People & Carbon Neutrality: A Symbiosis

The potential for a symbiotic relationship between the environment, cars and people may be about to take a giant leap forward. London's Daily Telegraph reports that a group of engineers from Genco have developed a bio-bug (Volkswagen bug) that runs on human waste. The car is powered for 10,000 miles from the excrement from 70 households (annually). The human waste bio-bug would be carbon neutral because it would not add any greenhouse gas to that already produced.  read more »

Transit in Los Angeles: Celebrating the Wrong Thing

Los Angeles area transit officials celebrated 20 years of urban rail at a Staples Center event on July 23. Over the past 20 years, Los Angeles has opened 2 metro (subway) lines, 4 light rail lines and two exclusive busways (though apparently busways aren't worth celebrating). Surely, there is no question but that Los Angeles has been successful in opening a lot of new transit infrastructure.  read more »

The Fifth Estate Clarifies US Driving and Transit Figures

Late on July 26 (Washington time), The Fifth Estate corrected the attribution by Professor Peter Newman of Curtain University to the effect that driving was down 43% and transit up 65% in the United States. This issue had been the subject of my column on the same morning. It was a simple decimal error (in the reporting) and has now been corrected on the site. Driving is now reported as being down 4.3% and transit up 6.5%.  read more »