Charlotte Ridership; HSR in the UK and China

Charlotte‘s year old light rail system, according to the Observer, experienced a slight drop in ridership in November, from 16,470 average weekday trips in October to 15,551. There are several reasonable explanations for this drop – colder whether, a broken economy (including the collapse of the city’s largest employer, Wachovia), and the Thanksgiving vacation. But even the new ridership numbers are far higher than those originally predicted for first year ridership – 9,100 a day.

The south’s second city, then, remains an example for how new LRT projects can be implemented successfully. Charlotte’s focused land use program, which encouraged dense development around the LRT station sites starting ten years before the project’s completion date, ensured a steady ridership. Meanwhile, the city’s 1/2-cent sales tax, whcih was reaffirmed by voters by a huge margin in November 2007, provides a degree of financial security that any city with a strong transit system necessitates.

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Updated «Under Construction» and «Planned» Pages

It’s a slow news day here in the transportation world, but we’ve been working hard to give you more information on transit expansion that you’ll be able to find at the tip of your fingers.

We’ve updated our Under Construction and Planned pages, links to which you can obviously also find above, with the most recent information we’ve been able to find about major mass transit projects being built or being considered around the nation. We hope you’ll find the information useful and take advantage of this resource when you need some quick facts or a link or two.

We’ll also try to keep the information updated as frequently as possible.

As always, thanks for reading.

» P.S.: The future will provide additional changes to these two pages; we’ll increase information on each project as we receive it and we’ll eventually divide each page into separate,

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Mass Transit in the Stimulus; Shanghai's Rail Boom

The New York Daily News and Newsday report that New York State stands to gain billions of dollars in the upcoming stimulus bill, enough to not only iron out the enormous expected budget deficit that is coming as a result of decreasing tax revenues, but also enough to provide for the improvement of transportation in the Empire State. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Jerry Nadler had a press conference yesterday in Manhattan to announce that they were busy negotiating with the incoming administration on the specific terms of the now $675-775 billion stimulus. And they suggest that transit capital projects will receive $20 billion of the total bill, with one-fifth of that amount, as per tradition, going to New York because of its huge mass transit ridership. This is very good news for New York City, whose fiscal crisis is threatening transit especially dramatically.

Keep in mind that

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Phoenix Light Rail Opens

This weekend, Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the United States with 1.5 million people, opened its first rail line in sixty years. This light rail line, a part of the region-wide Valley Metro system, will also serve the cities of Tempe and Mesa, with populations of 174,000 and 453,000, respectively, and the airport in the middle, called Phoenix Sky Harbor International. This passes the honor of “largest U.S. city without a rail transit system” to San Antonio, Texas, with a population of 1.3 million (#7), which, as far as we know, has no plans to build one (other than a potential commuter line to Austin).

Phoenix’s light rail opening attracted a lot of crowds this weekend. People were attracted to th $1.4 billion project, whose 20-mile line crisscrosses the region and will allow easier access to downtown Phoenix, Arizona State University, and the airport (which is

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HSR in CA, NV, and TX

For whatever reason, the Christmas holiday brought news about a variety of major high-speed rail projects around the country. Here’s the roundup:

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California‘s High-Speed Rail planners are hoping to get $15 to 20 billion out of the coming economic stimulus package. This money, in addition to the $10 billion tax payers approved in November, as well as a few billion more from municipalities and private groups, would allow for the completion of the first stage of the project, from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The potential flaw in this plan to take some of the federal stimulus money is that those funds are intended to “ready-to-build” projects, which the California High-Speed rail system certainly is not. In fact, current plans have construction on the project beginning in 2012 – and presumably (hopefully!) we’ll be out of the recession by then. One possible alternative, however, is to

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The Site / The Fight

  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
  • Le progrès ne vaut que s'il est partagé par tous.

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