Damning Report on State of Good Repair Needs Released

April 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Federal Transit Administration’s study indicates that the nation’s largest rail systems have a long way to go before they’re ready for prime time

(SOurce: FTA via The Transport Politic)

In December 2007, several senators asked the Federal Transit Administration to study the capital needs of the nation’s largest rail systems, and the government agency has released its report today. To put it bluntly, its conclusions are damning and indicate that the United States must invest far more in maintaining its existing transit infrastructure than it is currently, or suffer the consequences of rotting tracks, vehicles, and stations.

Notably, the report indicates that the seven systems studied (Chicago’s CTA, Boston’s MBTA, New York’s MTA, New Jersey Transit, San Francisco’s BART, Philadelphia’s SEPTA, and Washington’s WMATA) have a total $50 billion backlog of repairs necessary to upgrade equipment to a state of good repair. Based on current funding, that backlog will stretch on for decades if nothing is done. The existing fixed guideway modernization programprovides about $5.4 billion annually for capital upgrades on the nation’s older lines at an 80% federal share.

The report recommends that the federal government increase spending on funding repairs to existing fixed guideway systems, arguing that it remains necessary for these agencies to upgrade their vehicles, tracks, and stations to an adequate quality. Importantly, the study suggests that the current formula for distributing funds – based on an insane 7-tier process – is inappropriate, and that more money be distributed directly to those agencies most in need of improvements.

More importantly, though, the FTA suggests that the Congress authorize an average of $4.2 billion more annually over the next twelve years with a temporary state of good repair fund (alternatives also provided: $8.3 billion annually over six years or $2.5 billion annually over twenty). That would require the government to commit to a total average of $10.1 billion in funds annually for the program. Thereafter, once repairs are complete, the report suggests that the program should be designed to continue funding agencies at a level of $5.9 billion annually.

Click here to read the entire report.  For those who prefer to browse quickly, here is a Read-only PDF.

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter – April 30, 2009

April 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Thursday, April 30, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057

TIC3 From GEWI – One Platform, Multiple Deployment Options

Whether you are looking to provide Interoperability between legacy systems, launch or upgrade a 511 Service, generate Traffic Flows & Predictive models, Traffic Alerts, Traffic Plans & Simulations, report on Work Zones & Road Conditions, run an automated Radio Traffic Advisory system, or produce Navigation Quality Data, TIC3 from GEWI is the solution. All of these services, and more, can be achieved by simple configuration of this single commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software platform, already in use in over 100+ projects worldwide.  To discuss your requirements, contact jim.oneill@gewi.com and look for GEWI in booth #329 at ITS America.


1) Aviation Industry Presses for ‘NextGen’ at Annual Summit

Link to story on NextGov:


2) Airports Seek Thermal-Scan Solution to Swine Flu Spread

Link to story in Wired:


3) AAAE, FAA Host Airfield Safety and Signage Meeting

Link to story on AviationNews:


4) In-Flight Wireless Ban Needs More Study

Link to commentary in the San Jose Mercury News:


5) FAA’s Turn Toward Secrecy

Link to commentary on AVweb:



6) Norway Joins Galileo Project

Link to story in GPS World:


7) Communication on the Road

A low-cost GPS-based positioning architecture for V2V and V2I systems uses a scalable, flexible system that enables a range of in-vehicle safety features.

Link to story in GPS World:



8) Latest Issue of ERTICO-ITS Europe’s iMobility Newsletter

Link to newsletter:



9) Maryland Program Lets You Pay Parking Meters Using Your Cell Phone

Link to story on WTOP Radio:



10) Report Finds More Flaws in Seattle DOT’s Snow Response

Link to story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:



11) Adirondack Northway Cell Gap Closed

Coverage expanded over sections of previously dark I-87.

Link to story in the Press-Republican:


12) Illinois Lawmakers Propose School Bus Tracking Devices

Link to story in the Quad-City Times:


13) The Dangers of Texting While Driving

Video captures what happens when bus driver is texting.

Link to story on NBC’s Today:



14) Oregon Lawmakers Want ‘Greeters’ in Place at MAX Stations

Link to story in The Oregonian:


 15) Mobile Transit Payment Project in the Works in France

Link to story in American Banker:



16) Bringing Efficiency to the Infrastructure

A smart infrastructure wave may be coming.

Link to story in The New York Times:


News Releases

1) Inrix Triples Real-Time Traffic Flow Coverage in North America to Over 160,000 Miles
2) More than a Gadget Every Mile Keeps the UK on the Move

3) Automotive DMB/DAB Will Feel Heat from Internet Radio

4) Sensys Networks Honored Among This Year’s Most Promising Private Technology Ventures in North America

Upcoming Events

International Congress on Sound and Vibration – July 5-9 – Kraków, Poland


Today in Transportation History

1939 **70th anniversary** – The New York World’s Fair opened with several transportation exhibits, including GM’s Futurama.



The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday. 

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TCN archives: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transport-communications

Questions, comments about the TCN?  Please write the editor, Bernie Wagenblast at i95berniew@aol.com.   

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast

Raging Debate on Vehicle Mileage Tax – A Media Roundup – April 30, 2009

April 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Mileage-based tax expensive idea – HaroldNet ..I see that a congressional committee wants to put a mileage-based tax on cars and trucks. This would involve installation of expensive GPS devices in every 

Our view: Leave miles-traveled tax at the roadsideDuluth News Tribune – ‎Late last week in Washington, US Rep. Jim Oberstar touted spending half a trillion dollars to solve the nation’s transportation woes. 

Mileage Tax Discussion in Congress Helicopter Association International – ‎House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar said he will push for a mileage-based tax on cars and trucks to pay for highway programs. 

Mileage-Based Tax Not the Answer to Our Nation’s Infrastructure Needs Americans for Tax Reform – ‎By the Numbers: WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) issued the following response to Rep. James Oberstar’s (D-Minn) call for a 

More Congress Critters Want To Track And Tax Your Driving Habits Techdirt – ‎For years, various state politicians have pushed the idea of a “mileage tax” for driving, and it’s never made much sense at all. Yet, just a few months ago, 

Shame on you, New Orleans! Heartless NOLA thives rob solar car team that holds world distance record

April 30, 2009 at 11:10 am

(Source: Tree Hugger & NOLA)

It wasn’t so long ago that we wrote about the Power of One (Xof1) Solar Car breaking a world distance record, and that’s the kind of story we like to write about. But via our friends at Autobloggreenwe learn that someone broke into the solar car’s support vehicle and stole an estimated $10,000 of stuff (including passports). What’s even sadder is that in the video below, you can hear Marcelo da Luz explain how he gave up his job, mortgaged his house, maxed his credit card, etc, to get this project off the ground.

Marcelo da Luz gave up his job, girlfriend and nearly a half-million dollars to build a solar-powered car and drive it all over the Americas, a trek that brought him and several international volunteers, following in a van, to New Orleans early Sunday evening.

But an hour after he parked on a busy, well-lighted French Quarter street, someone broke into the van and stole passports, laptops, credit cards, cash, a digital camera and a portable hard drive.

Despite the estimated $10,000 loss, da Luz seemed in high spirits the next morning, describing the break-in as a “dent” in his ecological barnstorming tour. He insisted that he was still enjoying his first visit to the Crescent City. After discovering the theft, da Luz and an assistant from the Netherlands trotted to a nearby tavern to “drown their sorrows.”

Despite his setback in New Orleans, da Luz plans to continue east to the Atlantic coast of Florida.

“I don’t hope anything bad happens to whoever did this or anything, ” he said. “I just hope their lives turn out better so they don’t need to do this to anyone else.”  

Spoke like a true gentleman, Mr. da Luz!

Video report from London: Wired takes you inside the underbelly of London’s Tube

April 30, 2009 at 10:25 am

(Source: Wired)

Chrysler to File for Bankruptcy Following Collapse of Negotiations; President Obama to address the nation

April 30, 2009 at 9:45 am

(Source: Washington Post)

Chrysler, one of the three pillars of the American auto industry, will file for bankruptcy today after last-minute negotiations between the government and the automaker’s creditors broke down last night, an Obama administration official said.

 U.S. officials had offered Chrysler’s secured lenders $2.25 billion in cash if they would agree to writedown the $6.9 in secured debt that the company owed. But a small group of hedge funds refused the 11th-hour deal, forcing an imminent bankruptcy.

An administration official this morning expressed disappointment, saying the holdouts had failed to “do the right thing,” but that “their failure to act in either their own economic interest or the national interest does not diminish the accomplishments made by Chrysler, Fiat and its stakeholders, nor will it impede the new opportunity Chrysler now has to restructure and emerge stronger going forward.”

President Obama is scheduled to address the issue at noon today at the White House.

As talks broke down late last night, it became near certainty that the Obama administration would send Chrysler into bankruptcy under a plan that would replace chief executive Robert L. Nardelli and pump billions of dollars more into the effort, all in hopes that the company could emerge from court proceedings as a re-energized competitor in the global economy.

The U.S. government’s attempt to save the automaker amounts to another extraordinary intervention in the economy and a landmark event in the history of the American auto industry.

Under the administration’s detailed plan for a “surgical bankruptcy,” ownership of Chrysler would be dramatically reorganized, the leadership of Italian automaker Fiat would take over company management and the U.S. and Canadian governments would contribute more than $10 billion in additional funding.

Negotiations between the government and the company’s stakeholders — Chrysler’s lenders, the union and proposed merger partner Fiat — went well into the night, as dealmakers rushed to meet President Obama’s April 30 deadline.

Last night, the United Auto Workers union overwhelmingly ratified the administration proposal to give its retiree health fund the 55 percent equity stake in Chrysler. In exchange, the health fund must give up its claim to much of the $10 billion that Chrysler owes it. Eighty-two percent of production workers and 80 percent of skilled-trades workers voted for the agreement.

While four of Chrysler’s major creditors — J.P. Morgan ChaseCitigroupGoldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — have agreed to the Treasury’s plan, other lenders, mainly hedge funds, had held out. The holdouts included Oppenheimer Funds, Perella Weinberg Partners and Stairway Capital, two sources said. The last two have funds that invest in “distressed” companies. It is not known what companies ultimately failed to reach agreement with the government.

The hedge funds likely think they could get a better return in a bankruptcy filing or in a sale of Chrysler’s assets, said Sheldon Stone, a turnaround expert at Amherst Partners. The government offer made yesterday would represent a recovery of about 32 cents on the dollar. A recent Standard & Poor’s analysis said the lenders could recover 30 to 50 cents on the dollar.

US Transportation Secretary LaHood cites stimulus money success

April 29, 2009 at 7:07 pm

The federal government has already committed nearly $11 billion in stimulus money to help get road, bridge and environmental projects off the ground, administration officials told Congress on Wednesday.

“I believe we have already achieved enormous success,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the House Transportation Committee, giving a progress report on infrastructure money allotted under the $787 billion economic stimulus bill passed in February.

Lahood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, told the panel his department had made decisions on $9 billion dollars in projects around the country out of Transportation’s $48 billion share of the stimulus package.  However, he was less specific about the jobs directly resulting from stimulus spending.

It was originally estimated that the $64 billion in the stimulus for infrastructure — for transit, high speed rail, aviation, federal buildings and Army Corps of Engineers projects as well as roads and bridges — would create or sustain 1.8 million jobs.

But so far, reports on new jobs were mostly anecdotal. The Transportation Committee said its survey of state and local transportation officials revealed that work had begun on 263 highway and transit projects in 30 states, putting about 1,250 workers back on the job.

D.J. Stadtler, Jr., chief financial officer for Amtrak, said it expected to produce about 4,600 jobs in the first year of the stimulus with investment of $1.3 billion.

Unemployment in the construction industry soared to nearly 2 million in March, about 21.1 percent compared with 13 percent a year ago.

Rep. John Mica of Florida, top Republican on the committee, questioned the job-creation effectiveness of the program, saying some projects might take three to four years to get off the ground. But he said he would withhold judgment, saying, “We have to give folks a pass at this juncture.”

The Government Accountability Office, in a report prepared for the hearing, also raised questions about the ability of states and Washington to track how the money is being spent. But it gave some states high marks for moving the money quickly.

The Transportation Committee said that, as of April 17, states had received approval for 2,163 projects, about 25 percent of the $27.5 billion.


_The Federal Transit Administration has awarded five projects totaling $48.6 million and has another 109 grants totaling $1.47 billion pending review.

_The Federal Railroad Administration has approved 52 Amtrak capitol improvement projects worth $938 million.

_The administration is to announce plans by this summer on awarding projects for $8 billion in high speed rail development.

_The Federal Aviation Administration has announced more than $1 billion in tentative spending for runways, aprons and terminal improvements.

_The General Services Administration has a plan for investing $5.55 billion, including $4.3 billion for a green building program.

(Source: AP)

Put a fork in it? Obama planning to announce Chrysler bankruptcy tomorrow

April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm
According to a report by Bloomberg citing the usual unnamed sources, President Obama will announce tomorrow that Chrysler will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy while continuing to work on its alliance with Fiat.

Bloomberg‘s source made it clear that the there are still several loose ends and the plan “is not finished yet,” but it will likely involve Chrysler’s strongest assets being bundled and sold to a new entity. In that scenario, Fiat would become a 20% owner of the Auburn Hills-based automaker, the UAW retiree health-care trust would take a 55% percent stake and the government would gobble up the rest. Essentially, it’s the same out-of-court deal initially proposed, but now, with all the benefits (and hurdles) of bankruptcy protection. 

As part of ongoing negotiations, the U.S. Treasury raised its offer to Chrysler’s lenders, offering them $2.25 billion in cash to forgive $6.9 billion in secured debt, two other people familiar with the matter said. The previous offer had been for $2 billion in cash.

One issue remaining is the U.S. government’s effort to combine Chrysler Financial and GMAC LLC, the lending units affiliated with Chrysler and General Motors Corp.

The idea is to ensure that Chrysler has a well-capitalized credit arm, as required by Obama’s automotive task force, said people familiar with the situation.

Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has expressed concern that such a combination would involve her agency guaranteeing its debt, according to two people familiar with her views.

(Source: Bloomberg & Autoblog)

Averaging 81.5mpg, Ford Fusion Hybrid hypermiles to a record 1445 miles on a single tank of gas

April 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm

(Source:  Autoblog)

You read it right! It is one thousand four hundred and forty five miles from a single tank of gas!   Analyzed from any angle, these numbers are amazing, especially from a Ford vehicle, a brand that is not well associated with thrift fuel consumption in the past.   Though the goal was to clear 1000 miles, the hyper-milers knocked that number and added 445 miles more , beating their own estimates to set a new world record.

 For the high-mileage odyssey, the Fusion hybrid was pushed to an average of 81.5 mpg. Even considering that hypermiling techniques were employed to reach these numbers, we’re quite impressed, as the event took place on city streets and public freeways, not on a closed course. Better still, the entire 69-hour event raised $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. You can read the details of how the driving teams managed the 80 mpg in the official press release – and no, they didn’t find a thousand-mile downhill road.



The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge Car

* Drivers trained in mileage-maximizing techniques achieve 1,445 miles on a single tank of gas in a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid – averaging 81.5 mpg in Washington, D.C. – and set world record for gasoline-powered, midsize sedan
* The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge proves that fuel-efficient driving techniques can nearly double a vehicle’s EPA-rated fuel economy
* The demonstration of the Fusion Hybrid’s ultra high-mileage potential also raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2009 – Drivers trained in mileage-maximizing techniques such as smooth acceleration and coasting to red lights were able to get an extraordinary 1,445.7 miles out of a single tank of gas during a fund-raising effort in Washington, D.C. that concluded today. They did it by averaging 81.5 miles per gallon in an off-the-showroom floor, non-modified 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient midsize car in North America – nearly doubling its U.S. certified mileage.

The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge started at 8:15 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 25, from Mount Vernon, Va., and ended this morning at 5:37 a.m. on George Washington Parkway in Washington, D.C. After more than 69 continuous hours of driving, the Fusion Hybrid finally depleted its tank and came to a stop with an odometer reading of 1,445.7 miles – setting a world record for gasoline-powered, midsize sedan.

The challenge team, which included NASCAR star Carl Edwards, high mileage trailblazer Wayne Gerdes and several Ford Motor Company engineers, raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) by exceeding the goal of 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas. The Fusion Hybrid’s official estimated range is approximately 700 miles per tank.

“Not only does this demonstrate the Fusion Hybrid’s fuel efficiency, it also shows that driving technique is one of the keys to maximizing its potential,” said Nancy Gioia, director, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. “The fact that we were able raise much needed funds for JDRF while raising the bar on fuel efficient driving performance made the effort doubly worthwhile.”

Maximizing mileage
A team of seven drivers prepared for the challenge by learning a few mileage-maximizing techniques, most of which can be used in any vehicle to improve fuel economy, but are especially useful in the Fusion Hybrid where the driver can take advantage of pure electric energy at speeds below 47 mph.

CleanMPG.com founder Wayne Gerdes, an engineer from Illinois who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe the mileage-maximizing techniques, provided the pointers. They include:

* Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure;
* Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking;
* Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions;
* Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear;
* Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine;
* Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag;
* Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic;
* Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and
* Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum

“You become very aware of your driving because you’re constantly looking for opportunities to maximize mileage, and a more aware driver is a safer driver, too,” said Gil Portalatin, Ford hybrid applications manager.

In addition, it is important for Fusion Hybrid drivers to manage the battery system’s state of charge through the use of regenerative braking and coasting, and balancing the use of the electric motor and gas engine in city driving to avoid wasting fuel.

Fusion Hybrid drivers also can stay more connected to the hybrid driving experience with Ford’s SmartGaugeTM with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster that helps coach drivers on how to optimize performance of their hybrid.

The Challenge
The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge team took turns driving several routes in and around the national capital over the course of approximately three days and nights. The route involved elevation changes, and ranged from the relatively open George Washington Parkway to a 3-mile stretch in the heart of the city that is clogged with roughly 30 traffic signals.

“The Fusion Hybrid works brilliantly,” Gerdes said. “When you don’t need acceleration power while driving around town, the gas engine shuts down seamlessly. There’s not another hybrid drivetrain in the world that does that as effectively. The Fusion engineering team really knocked it out of the park.”

Ford NASCAR star Carl Edwards took time away from the high speed world of professional car racing to contribute to the Fusion Hybrid team’s success in D.C.

“It was exciting to be an active part in this challenge. The fact that it will help spread the word about the Fusion Hybrid’s great mileage, and help out a great charity, makes it even more special,” said Edwards, whose ’99’ team has used fuel-saving techniques to win races. “There’s no question that the Fusion Hybrid will help consumers save fuel when they drive it. Having driven the car, I feel strongly about how great it is – so strong that I’ve purchased one myself.

Scoopful of GM News – April 29, 2009: Idling in US & thriving in Mexico; Danger to nation; Le Miserable; Dealer deals; Ethanol love; Camaro Crap-out; 150mpg?; Volt; Saturn stories; Pontiac killer?; Looming pay cuts

April 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm

REPORT: Largest American Axle plant to idle as work shifts to Mexico…choking GM‘s demand for American Axle components (accounting for 74% of the floundering supplier’s sales). Founded in 1994, American Axle will start moving the facility’s production to Guanajuato, Mexico over the summer. More than 500 of the 700 workers at the Detroit complex will be laid off indefinitely, and only 232 of the company’s most seni…

DetNews columnist warns of the dangers of nationalizing GMGM, UAW/UnionsDetroit News columnist Daniel Howes has penned a commentary on what he believes the “mind-numbing” future could be if the White House and the United Auto Workers end up with majority control of General Motors.Howes fears that a government-and-UAW-controlled boardroom would end up an echo chamber, with both parties worried mainly ab…

Michigan Screws Up Laid-Off GM Factory Worker Unemployment, Forces Payback [Carpocalypse]…Unemployed former GM factory worker Greg Eddy has his share of problems, but thanks to Michigan’s inability to calculate unemployment benefits, he’s now also getting less money and a whopping $2,400 bill. After Eddy lost his job with GM — twice — he decided to go on unemployment while heading back to school at ITT for a degree in communications….

REPORT: GM won’t pay dealers for franchises, will buy back parts, vehicles…GMIn a special broadcast to dealers yesterday, General Motors’ sales chief, Mark LaNeve, explained that the automaker would buy back unsold new vehicles and parts from dealerships slated to be phased out by the end of 2010, but GM wouldn’t pay off dealers for their franchises.As reported earlier this week, GM plans to cut it U.S. dealerships by …

GM makes the case for testing E15 ethanol blendGM has long been a proponent of using high-level ethanol blend, E85, in motor vehicles. But, with all of the talk of putting E15 or E20 (gasoline with 15 or 20 percent ethanol blended in) into the national supply – see these earlier posts about the EPA, the Minnesota Ag Department, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Underwriters Laboratories…

First Camaro Crap-Out Comes 40 Miles From Dealership [Chevy Camaro]Maybe worse than the first Camaro wreck is the first Chevy Camaro breakdown. This “p**sy magnet” Bumblebee-yellow Camaro lost all electrical power and coasted to a stop with a scant 40 miles on the odometer. The ecstatic new owner, a forum fan-girl by the name of BUMLB, was crushed when the car conked-out cruising through a parking lot at a leisure…

AFS Trinity brings “150 mpg” plug-in hybrids to Capitol Hill for some sweet stimulus cash…an old GM plant and build “hundreds of thousands of plug-in hybrids” that could be sold for just $8,000 more than the non-hybrid versions. Gallery: AFS Trinity Cross Country Trip with XH-150[Source: NYT]Filed under: Emerging Technologies, EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, Legislation and PolicyAFS Trinity brings “150 mpg” plug-in hybrids to Capitol Hill for s…

Chevy Volt: First Drive? [Vaporware]We’d love to drive the Chevy Volt test mule like Wired and others, but we’re pretty sure the Volt PR team is afraid of us. As well they should be. We actually have readers. [Wired]

Saturn’s death could hurt GM CAFE numbers…part of GM. One of the primary reasons that Saturn is being disposed of is poor sales. There is, however, one exception to that sales record: hybrids. So far, Saturn has accounted for about a quarter of GM‘s sales of hybrids. Saturn also had the best CAFE numbers of any GM division, thanks to the absence of any full-size body-on-frame vehicles o…

Killing Saturn Kills 25% Of GM Hybrids [Carpocalypse]…of GM hybrids. Damned if they do… [AutoNews via AutomobileMag]

The Cause of Pontiac’s Demise for $5,000! [Nice Price Or Crack Pipe]…of the GM H-body cars began with the justifiably maligned Chevrolet Vega which begat the Monza, which begat the Pontiac Astre, which begat the Pontiac Sunbird. Several body styles were offered on the 97.5 inch wheelbase, including the Ferrari 365 GTC/4- homage hatchback, a two-door wagon, and a notchback coupe. Today’s candidate hails from the n…

GM Salaried Workers to See Pay CutGeneral Motors confirmed Wednesday it will force some salaried workers to take up to three months off with partial pay as part of an effort to reduce costs during its expected summer shutdown of its car-making plants.