Infrastructure in the News: July 31, 2012
National Journal: Transportation is a Civil Right
The protest is a potent reminder that transportation systems are about more than state budgets, contracts, and traffic manipulation. A transit system sets the character for an entire city. Even the best-intentioned changes to it can have devastating and unexpected consequences. What are city residents entitled to when it comes to mass transit? Do the same rights apply to road access? Does it make sense to consider access to transit or roads a civil right? If so, how does that change the policy conversation?
DC Streetsblog: The Politics of the I-35 Bridge Catastrophe: Not Just Minnesota’s Problem
An ambitious politician drawing a hard line against tax increases, even as gas tax revenues dwindle. A state department of transportation with limited resources. Warning signs pushed aside. Those were the circumstances that preceded the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007. While the story is specific to Minnesota, the same factors that led to the I-35 bridge collapse plague many other states. To mark the five-year anniversary of the tragedy, David Levinson at Network blog Streets.mn has for the last few weeks been examining the various forces at play. Today, he gets into the details about how politics set the stage for a deadly infrastructure disaster:
Transportation Nation: Central Florida looks South for Ideas on How to Integrate Transit
Central Florida faces a transit planning challenge in the next few years with the arrival of publicly funded SunRail commuter rail in 2014, and private companies also lining up rail plans. Recently Orlando city officials toured the new Miami Intermodal Center, a ground transportation hub linking rail, buses and rental cars to Miami international airport. Orlando Transportation Policy Advisor Christine Kefauver says after looking at MIC, she thinks Central Florida is heading in the right direction.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Your morning jolt: One-third of early voters supported TSPLOST, says poll
Only a third of early metro Atlanta voters supported the transportation sales tax, according to the firm that conducted a general poll for Channel 2 Action News last week. Rosetta Stone Communications, a GOP-oriented political service firm, last night polled 656 randomly selected early voters in the 10-county TSPLOST district. Support was measured at 32 percent. As of last Thursday, 123,870 early votes had been cast – we should have updated numbers that include Friday’s ballots by sometime this morning.
Minnesota Public Radio: MTA cutting train fare by $1 this week
Metro Transit is hoping that a $1 decrease in fares will tempt more riders to use Northstar Commuter Rail, which runs from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. Metro Transit is dropping most Northstar fares by $1 starting Wednesday. The fare from the Fridley station will decrease by only a quarter. That puts the line's fares at $3 to $6.
Houston Chronicle: Houston-Galveston passenger rail may be revived
A Houston-to-Galveston passenger rail line postponed indefinitely after the economy hit bottom in 2009 is getting another chance, but it could be a decade or more before the first spike is driven. The original plan called for a passenger line carrying 1,000 to 2,000 people per day to be in operation as early as this year, but a series of events starting with Hurricane Ike and the stock market crash in 2008 stalled the project.
Desert News: The UTA faces a decrease in ridership with elimination of TRAX free fare zone
The Utah Transit Authority painted itself into a bit of a corner when it decided years ago to offer free fares on its successful TRAX system in the downtown area and discounted fares to certain classes of patrons. Now, the agency is searching for ways to stabilize its long-term revenue picture and, as a result, is contemplating the possible elimination of the free fare zone and programs offering discounts to college students, government employees and others.
The Hill: LaHood touts proposed upgrades to DC's Union Station
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday that Amtrak's plan to spend $7 billion upgrading its station in Washington, D.C. would "transform Union Station into a 21st century transportation hub worthy of a 21st century city." Amtrak said last week that upgrading Union Station was a part of its master plan for the capital region's main intercity railway stop. Among the agency's plan is creating a new train shed and building new passenger concourses and street entrances.
America has 26,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways.