» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.
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The Transport Politic
- New York to study Red Hook streetcars, but what are the city’s goals?
- New Heartland Corridor increases freight capacity between East Coast and Chicago
- Tampa outlines plan for spending after transit tax referendum
- Political will disappearing, New Jersey’s ARC project could be on the way out
Bus Rapid Transit in San Francisco’s East Bay, on Next American City
- Look Out? Building a BRT line in California is No Simple Matter
- Opposition to a Bus Rapid Transit System is More than Just NIMBYism
- Envisioning a Different Kind of Region
California and Its Friends
- With the November elections in the U.S. likely to be difficult for generally pro-high-speed rail Democrats, the likelihood of increasing federal funding for the transportation mode over the next few years is depressingly low, putting in peril California’s plans for a $45 billion network of fast trains linking all of the state’s major cities. This in spite of increasing evidence that high-speed rail provides serious economic benefits.
- Foreigners, however, may be coming to help. Last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to Asia and received commitments for aid from both Japan and China. Each pledged significant loans for the project, even as China continues its domestic rail expansion; it announced that it would have 13,000 kilometers of high-speed rail in operation by 2012 and 16,000 kilometers by 2020.
- Siemens, which is intent on selling its Velaro trainsets to U.S. customers including California and Florida, will be shipping an example model to the latter state. In California, especially if Asian countries step in to help finance that project (Germany has made no such agreement), Siemens may face competition from Chinese and Japanese manufacturers.
- Houston continues to face the negative consequences of its decision to award a contract to a Spanish company to build light rail trains for its planned transit network. That deal, which included the construction of several example vehicles in Spain rather than the U.S., was called out as in violation of federal “Buy America” rules by the Federal Transit Administration. This will delay the completion of the North, Southeast, and East End corridors, once expected to be done by October 2013 but now at least a year late.
- Germany may finally be lifting its 79-year ban on domestic intercity buses, which it has had in place to ensure the stability of its national rail system.
- Charlotte, which has had a major transit expansion plan on the table for more than a decade, runs into major cost limitations thanks to the effects of the recession. This means that the city and its suburbs will have to duke it out over the next few years to determine which lines will be prioritized and how to find more funding.
Image above: CAF light rail train such as was planned for Houston, from CAF