» After thirteen years of planning, a federal financing guarantee puts the project to connect the Connecticut capital and New Britain on sound footing.
The New Britain-Hartford busway, a 9.4-mile bus rapid transit line that has been under consideration since the late 1990s, has finally locked in the funds to be completed. A New Starts grant announced last week by the Federal Transit Administration will cover about half of the project’s $567 million cost; construction of the segregated right-of-way and 11 stations will begin next year, with completion expected in 2014. It will be the latest true busway to open in the United States, following similar projects in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Pittsburgh.
The decision to move forward with a busway at a cost of $60 million a mile was controversial — just as it was in other cities that have implemented bus rapid
Continue reading Now Funded, Hartford’s Busway Survives a Decade of Dissent »
» Los Angeles submitted an application for U.S. TIGER funds with the intention of building a downtown streetcar line. But the alignments proposed are very similar to those offered by existing rail and bus services — and each would operate in a one-way loop, a failed transit concept.
Los Angeles has big hopes for its downtown, and, like most of the country’s major cities, it has seen significant population growth in the inner core over the past ten years. Now, to extend this renaissance, the city — also like many others — is planning a streetcar line that would traverse the district from north to south. Last month, it applied for $37.5 million in U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant dollars, which it hopes to supplement with local and private funds to complete an initial route of between 3 and 5 one-way track miles at
Continue reading Los Angeles’ Streetcar Plans: Too Duplicative of Existing Services? »
» A 30-year plan to bring increased bus service and three new rail lines to the Research Triangle gets off to a promising start with an election in Durham.
In 2000, North Carolina’s two largest metropolitan regions each planned big transit improvements, and each had received preliminary approval to do so from the Federal Transit Administration.The Triangle’s leaders wanted to build a diesel multiple unit-powered regional rail line connecting Durham and Raleigh while Charlotte’s elected officials planned an electric light rail line linking downtown with its southern suburbs.
Ten years later, Charlotte’s Blue Line has been up and running for almost four years, attracting higher than expected ridership. The Triangle’s efforts were flummoxed in November 2005 by an FTA ruling that the regional rail project was not cost effective, and the project was cancelled.
Yet the passage yesterday of a half-cent sales tax increase dedicated to transit in Durham
Continue reading In North Carolina’s Triangle, the Passage of a Sales Tax Increase in Durham is Just the First Step »
» Over the long run, California’s fast train project remains within an acceptable range of costs, despite recent increases.
The release of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s revised business plan on Tuesday underlined concerns about the future viability of the nation’s biggest proposed transportation project: Not only would its completion have to be delayed significantly — to 2033 or later — but projected costs have risen dramatically, to $98 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars. In a political environment where making a large long-term commitment to anything other than the military is almost impossible, the increasing costs required to pay for the program put in doubt its future. This fast train project designed to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2h40 is not dead, but its completion is less likely now than it was last week.
The steadily rising nature of the public expenditures that would be required to build the project as
Continue reading High Costs Threaten California’s High-Speed Rail Project, But the Wider Context Must be Understood »