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Reforming Georgia’s transportation system

February 22, 2009 at 12:15 am

 

Source: TiftonGazette.com

Over the last six years, Georgia has invested heavily in transportation improvements, yet commuters are still stuck in traffic and economic development corridors still have not been expanded. As frustrating as it is to acknowledge, we have not achieved the value that we believe Georgians deserve because of a lack of focus, transparency and accountability at the Department of Transportation.

We share a commitment to do better.  As the three people most accountable to Georgians, we announced a proposal this week that would completely transform the way we think about delivering transportation solutions in our state and dramatically improve the way transportation projects are planned, constructed and maintained.

The basic premise of this proposal is simple – transportation policy decisions should be made in a strategic manner by people who are representing the best interests of the entire state.  And the decisions these people make should be executed in a manner that provides for transparency and accountability to the legislature and the people of Georgia.

Click here to read the entire article.

On-time Performance Soars for U.S. Airlines

February 22, 2009 at 12:12 am

(Source: stltoday.com)

Believe it or not, you had a better chance of reaching your flight destination on time last year than in 2007 because major airlines are cutting back their schedules.

Passengers flying in and out of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport benefited as well, according to annual numbers published this month by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Slightly more than 77 percent of inbound flights reached Lambert on time in 2008, compared to just under 75 percent in 2007. Nationally, about 76 percent of flights operated by the 19 largest airlines landed on time last year.

Slightly less than 70 percent of flights left St. Louis on time in both years — with a slight improvement in 2008.

Flight cancellations also dropped last year compared to 2007.

Click here to read the full article.

GPS-Monitored Vehicle Fees: Change You Can’t Believe In

February 22, 2009 at 12:07 am

(Source: InsideGNSS.com)

One change that apparently won’t happen under the Obama administration is replacing the federal gasoline tax with a GPS-monitored mileage fee.

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) Secretary Ray LaHood had suggested that his agency should look at a “vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled.”

 

It was one of the shortest flights of a trial balloon so far this year.

When asked at his February 20 news briefing about the mileage fee concept and whether President Obama had “weighed in” on the subject, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said, “I don’t believe the President has. I can weigh in on it and say that it is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Full Steam Ahead for California Bullet Train

February 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm

(Source AFP via Yahoo.com)

One hundred and forty years after a transcontinental railroad linked California to the world, trains are being hailed as integral to the state’s growth in the 21st century.

This time, state officials are preparing to spend billions of dollars on high-speed rail lines modeled in part on Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train and France’s sleek TGV systems.

Supporters say an 800-mile (1,200 kilometer) system of trains running at up to 220 mph (350 kph) will cost about half of the 100 billion dollars that otherwise would have to be spent on new highways and airport runways.

They say it will reduce environmental damage, lessen the state’s dependence on foreign oil, create 450,000 jobs and give a huge boost to California businesses. They envision a system, to be completed by 2030, that will carry 90 million passengers a year.

“We need a high-speed rail. Our rail system in America is so old, we are driving the same speed as we did 100 years ago,” said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Click here to read the full article.

Editorial: Reform and revenue for transportation

February 21, 2009 at 5:22 pm

(Source:  EnterpriseNews.com)

For more than a year, Gov. Deval Patrick has been promising a response to the state’s ever-worsening transportation woes. Friday he delivered a proposal that includes most of what the situation requires.

Patrick starts with reform, as he should. His plan would finally put the much-despised Mass. Turnpike Authority out of business, merging it, along with the MBTA, MassPort and the Registry of Motor Vehicles, into a single, more accountable, transportation agency.

Patrick also vows to do away with the administrative redundancy and unjustifiable perks that have grown over the decades in these transportation fiefdoms. The MBTA contract, for instance, allows union workers to retire after just 23 years on the job and immediately begin collecting healthy pensions, with the state providing health insurance for the rest of their lives. With the “T” burdened by more than $5 billion in debt, such excesses are inexcusable.

Click here to read the full article.

MTA Ridership Up, So Let’s Cut Service and Charge More

February 21, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Source: New York Press

The New York Times reports that MTA ridership on both subways and buses is up: “Despite a slumping economy, New York City Transit recorded a total of 2.37 billion rides across the city’s subways and buses in 2008, a 3.1 percent increase from 2007 and the highest figure since 1965.”

That “despite” beginning the lede sentence makes very little sense. OF COURSE ridership would be up in a weakened economy: PUBLIC transportation should be the most affordable, efficient way to get from one point to another. Who can afford taxis or car insurance and parking? Are we supposed to be walking the length of the island. It should actually read: DESPITE massive service delays and inconveniences, MTA ridership is up. In fact,some people think the subway should be FREE!

Click here to read the full article.

Saab Officially Files For Bankruptcy Protection

February 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm

(Source:  NYT via Jalopnik.com)

Saab, GM’s meatball-of-a-badge, officially filed for bankruptcy protection today in Sweden. Remaining to be seen is what role, if any, GM will have with the born-from-jets brand.  

Here’s what the NYT has to say:

Unmoored from its parent, Saab went to a Swedish court for protection from its creditors, and said the company would – with assistance from the Swedish government – reorganize to pave the way for private investors to buy all or part of the company.

“We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab, and it was determined a formal reorganization would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment,” the managing director of Saab, Jan-Ake Jonsson, said in a statement.

Click here to read the full article.

Airline: Please Turn on Cell Phones

February 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm

(Source: CNN)

Airline: Please Turn On Cell Phones

Love it or hate it, the person next to you on your flight may be able to use their mobile phone. CNN’s Jim Boulden reports.

Inside the Brains of the Smartest Bridge in America…

February 21, 2009 at 12:47 am

(Source:  Gizmodo.com)

The bridge built to replace the one that crumbled like delicious goat cheese in Minneapolis in 2007—is a smartie, packed with built-in sensors that perform wonders like automagically de-ice the road in winter.

Less than one percent of the cost of the St. Anthony Falls bridge was spent on the sensor system, which tracks weather, stresses and even traffic, and it’ll save money in the long run, with its automatic de-icing system cutting “weather management” costs by 10 to 50 percent. It’s the incorporation of the smart sensor tech that actually won the contract to build the bridge for the FIGG team. The next step will be wireless sensors that are even cheaper, so it’ll be loaded up with thousands of them, not hundreds.

To read the entire article, click here.

Jobs: Transport Analyst @ SAIC; Reseach Fellowship @ Transport for America

February 20, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Transportation for America Research Fellowship (Posted: Feb 20, 2009)

The Transportation for America Campaign seeks a Fellow to undertake research in support of national transportation policy reform. This is a tremendous opportunity for a recent graduate to learn about federal transportation policy and reform issues while performing applied research on federal, state and local transportation programs.

Transportation for America is a growing and diverse coalition focused on creating a national transportation program that will take America into the 21st century by building a modernized infrastructure and healthy communities where people can live, work and play. To find out more about Transportation for America visit the www.t4america.org.  The campaign is staffed by Smart Growth America andReconnecting America.