Biggest news of the weekend is Barack Obama’s new economic stimulus plan, which proposes creating 2.5 million jobs in infrastructure and alternative energy solutions. Though the specifics have not yet been worked out, the plan would, in the current plan, be passed almost as soon as he entered office – he would hand it over to Congress before he moved into the White House. Look for the bill to be in the $300 billion range, and look for it to provide specific funds for mass transit – and perhaps high-speed rail.
Meanwhile, the plans for high-speed rail links in the United Kingdom continue to advance. A new line would run from London, through Glasgow, to Edinburgh, decreasing total travel time from 4h30 today to 2h15. The total cost of the project would run up to 31 billion pounds, a not-insignificant sum, especially considering that Conservative leaders are plotting another plan for a high-speed rail line from London to Manchester and Birmingham.
In California’s Santa Clara County, the BART extension plan has passed, now with 66.78% approval rating, “well” above the 66.67% needed to pass. This extension, though it would be paid for by a 1/2 cent sales tax in the county, would require additional federal funding for it actually to be built.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, there is an increasing push to convert the very-popular Orange Line busway to light rail operations. This would save about 15 minutes of travel time, but one wonders whether the city would continue to invest when there are so many other corridors in the County that also need significant improvements in transit service.