Posts Tagged ‘public transportation’

Endangered Transit Projects Listed

March 27, 2017

News media accounts indicate that the “skinny budget” recently released by the Trump administration would put at risk 16 transit projects in the United States.

The projects include: Phoenix Light Rail; Los Angeles Westside Subway Extension (Section 3); San Jose and Santa Clara BART Silicon Valley extension (Phase 2); Santa Ana/Garden Grove Streetcar; Fort Lauderdale Streetcar; Lake County, Indiana Commuter Rail; Maryland Purple Line; Minneapolis Light Rail (Blue Line); Minneapolis Light Rail (Southwest); Durham-Chapel Hill Light Rail; New York – New Jersey Hudson Tunnel; New Jersey Portal North Bridge; New York Second Avenue Subway (Phase 2); New York Bus Rapid Transit (Woodhaven Boulevard); Seattle Light Rail (Federal Way); and Seattle Light Rail (Lynnwood Link Extension).

The projects are at risk because they lack “full funding grant agreements,” which are needed in order to receive a New Starts grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers said if the funding rule proposed in the budget is enacted, these projects would either have to seek other funding sources or they would not be built.

NARP noted that the budget’s call for end federal funding for Amtrak long-distance passenger trains would end rail service to 220 communities nationwide. Those trains last year carried 4.6 million passengers.

NARP Decries Amtrak, Public Transit Funding Cuts

March 17, 2017

The National Association of Railroad Passengers said Thursday that the Trump administration budget for Amtrak for the fiscal year 2018 appears to have been adopted from a model proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The administration described the budget blueprint as a “skinny budget” and it contains few program details.

NARP contends that while President Donald Trump has talked up the need for transportation infrastructure investment, “his administration’s first budget guts infrastructure spending, slashing $2.4 billion from transportation. This will jeopardize mobility for millions of Americans and endanger tens of thousands of American jobs.”

The budget, which must be approved by Congress, would end all federal funding for Amtrak’s national network trains.

NARP said this would leave 23 states, including Ohio, without rail passenger service.

The Trump budget would also cut $499 million from the TIGER grant program, which has been used to advance passenger rail and transit projects and eliminate $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” Capital Investment Program, which is used to fund the launch of transit, commuter rail, and light-rail projects.

Political analysts have noted that no budget proposal sent to Congress has emerged without changes.

It is likely that transportation advocacy groups will lobby Congress hard to restore the funding that Trump wants to cut.

March 6 North Carolina Service Disruptions Set, State to Launch Free Bus Transfer Program

February 28, 2017

Amtrak will suspend service at Kannapolis, North Carolina, on March 6, due to track work being performed by Norfolk Southern.

north-carolinaAffected are the Raleigh-Charlotte Piedmont trains and the New York-Charlotte Carolinian.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that trains 73, 75 and 79 will operate normally to Salisbury. At Salisbury, express buses will operate non-stop to Charlotte.

Trains 74, 76 and 80 will originate at Salisbury with express bus service operating  non-stop from Charlotte to Salisbury.

The service advisory noted that buses will depart Charlotte 15 minutes earlier than the trains they replace.

In an another development affecting North Carolina Amtrak service, passengers boarding or disembarking in some cities will receive a free transfer to local transit buses.

Participating in the program are Salisbury Transit, Go Raleigh, Go Cary, Go Durham, Go Triangle, Greensboro Transit Authority, High Point Transit System, Concord-Kannapolis Area Transit (CK Rider), Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and Higher Education Area Transit.

The program is set to begin on March 1 but could be delayed depending on when agreements are signed.

Salisbury Transit Manager Rodney Harrison said that the purpose of the program is to ensure that travelers aren’t stuck at a train station without a way to travel further in the city.

Harrison told the Salisbury City Council that Amtrak will reimburse the city for the bus transfers.

He also said that Amtrak passengers disembarking in Salisbury could also transfer to Rowan County’s transit service.

Votes Approve 33 Public Transit Ballot Measures

November 9, 2016

The American Public Transportation Association said that 33 of 46 local and statewide public transit issues were approved by votes on Tuesday.

It said that was a 72 percent paaptassage rate and that collectively the measures represented a $200 billion investment in public transportation.

One of the top plans that won approval was a $120 billion transit plan in Los Angeles County, which received more than two-thirds approval.

It will fund several transit-rail projects in the region, including the Purple Line subway extension and a Regional Connector rail project.Other rail-related measures that won voter approval include:

• A half-cent sales tax increase in Atlanta that will raise $2.5 billion for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority expansions

A $3.5 billion bond measure that will provide funds for repairing and improving Bay Area Rapid Transit’s infrastructure.

• Measures allowing Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia to issue general bond obligations for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

• A half-cent sales tax increase in Wake County, North Carolina, to help pay for a 10-year, $2.3 billion plan to add commuter rail and increase bus service throughout the county.

Ballot measures that appeared to be headed for approval include a $54 billion, 25-year Sound Transit Proposition 1, which would fund an expansion of the light-rail system in Washington state’s Puget Sound region.

Public Transit Use Rose to 58-Year High in 2014

March 10, 2015

The 10.8 billion trips taken on public transit in 2014 was the highest ridership level in 58 years, the American Public Transportation Association said on Monday. The figures included ridership on rail systems.

“Some public transit systems experienced all-time record high ridership last year,” said APTA Chair Phillip Washington. “This record ridership didn’t just happen in large cities. It also happened in small and medium size communities.”

APTA said that the gains came despite a decline of the price of gasoline of 42.9 cents in the fourth quarter.

“Despite the steep decline in gas prices at the end of last year, public transit ridership increased. This shows that once people start riding public transit, they discover that there are additional benefits besides saving money,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.

“People are changing their travel behavior and want more travel options,” Melaniphy said. “In the past people had a binary choice. You either took public transit, most likely a bus, or you drove a car. Now there are multiple options with subways, light rail, streetcars, commuter trains, buses, ferries, cars, and shared use vehicles.”

APTA said that from 1995 to 2014, public transit ridership increased by 39 percent, almost double the population growth, which was up 21 percent. The estimated growth of vehicle miles traveled was 25 percent.

Light rail (modern light rail, streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) ridership increased 3.6 percent in 2014, with 16 out of 28 public transit systems reporting increases.

Heavy rail (subways and elevated trains) ridership increased by 3.3 percent with eight out of 15 public transit systems reported increases.

Overall regional rail (termed by APTA as “commuter rail”) ridership rose 2.9 percent in 2014, as 22 out of 28 public transit systems recorded gains.

Bus ridership decreased nationally by 1.1 percent. However, in small and medium size population groups, bus ridership saw percentage increases of 2.0 and 0.5, respectively.

Demand (paratransit) ridership increased in 2014 by 0.2 percent while trolleybus ridership declined by 2.8 percent.