A Billion Dollar Federal Grant to Reduce Travel Time by 48 Minutes

The Illinois Department of Transportation has reached a cooperative agreement with Union Pacific and Amtrak that will permit the release of a $1.1 billion federal high-speed rail grant to the state of Illinois to fund passenger rail improvements between Chicago and St. Louis. The agreement was proclaimed by state and federal officials as "historic" and hailed as "one giant step closer to achieving high-speed passenger service between Chicago and St.  read more »

Honolulu Rail Costs Balloon, Ridership Projections Called High

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has released an independent analysis of the proposed Honolulu rail program to the public and to elected officials. The report was commissioned by the state Department of Transportation.  read more »

Beyond Grassroots and Into Congress: California High-Speed Rail

While most of the substantial opposition to high-speed rail in California previously came from local government leaders and citizens, primarily in the Bay Area, Congressmen are now taking the issue to the entire country for debate. House Representative Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, introduced H.R.  read more »

Rasputin's Tunnel?

First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cancelled the proposed intercity and suburban rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan because of the financial obligations its out-of-control costs could impose on the state's taxpayers. Then he delayed the final decision, under pressure from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and other supporters of the tunnel.  read more »

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 »