Portland Eastside Streetcar Extension to Get Federal Funds

You’ve got to give me some credit for guessing this eleven whole days ago: Portland’s Eastside Streetcar Loop will get federal funds.

The 3.3-mile project, which will cost a total of $127 million, will get $75 million from the federal government. The project will be in operation in 2011. As I wrote in my previous post, this demonstrates the Obama Administration’s interest in promoting streetcar projects and developing mobility solutions that produce livable, attractive cities.

Sorry, not much else to say, just wanted

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Damning Report on State of Good Repair Needs Released

» 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.

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.

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Illinois Shuts Down Transit Project Funding

Governor claims it’s a temporary move for difficult economic times – but doesn’t cut roads funds

Evidently, it’s not impressive enough to have a 9% increase in transit ridership over the last five years. You would think that facts like those would encourage the state to invest more in public transportation.

Rather, the Chicago Tribune reports today that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has put about $1 billion of transit projects, including $900 million in the Chicago region, on hold because of the state’s budget crisis. Transit agencies CTA, Metra, and Pace were ordered to stop committing money to new projects and even to stop planning. The funding had been announced by the governor just several weeks ago as a sort of mini-economic stimulus for the state, and it included funding for roads as well. But those highway projects have been spared, as Mr. Quinn has simply decided that only transit will

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Miami Voters May be Asked to Consider Abandoning Transit Tax

General discontent in Miami-Dade County foments over lack of transit expansion progress

— Update: the measure to allow voters to decide whether to remove the 1/2¢ sales tax for transit was defeated by the County Commission by a vote of 7-4 —

The Miami Herald reported yesterday that Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez has introduced a resolution to the body that would allow the greater electorate to vote on whether to continue paying the dedicated 1/2¢ sales tax that they approved for transit funding back in 2002. The council will have to approve the measure before it would be submitted to voters on the ballot. Allowing voters to cancel the sales tax, however, would result in not only nothing being constructed but also a significant decline in existing transit, which is now quite reliant on the revenue source.

The vast majority of money raised by that tax — $900 million

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Congressional Conference Report Secures $1 Billion Annually for HSR

Obama plan for annual high-speed rail funding approved by House and Senate Democratic conferees

I’ve just read through the conference report of the U.S. FY 2010 Budget Resolution, which outlines spending in fiscal year 2010, and serves as the agreement between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The report includes the $1 billion for high-speed rail that President Obama asked to be included in the budget, in addition to the $8 billion already included for fast rail service in the stimulus bill. The report also sided with the House’s larger $481 billion in transportation outlays to be spent over the next five years, versus the $477 billion that had been proposed by the Senate. This report, though not yet voted on by Congress – a necessary action – will almost definitely be approved and passed into law after being signed by the President because of large Democratic majorities

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  • by Yonah Freemark
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