» In spite of previous statements in favor of a major infrastructure bill and support for transit, Donald Trump’s budget proposal would decimate the federal government’s commitment to aiding cities build new transit lines.
Any hope that Donald Trump would prioritize investment in transit infrastructure died on Wednesday night.
His administration’s budget blueprint, a rough outline of what changes he’d like to see in the federal government’s discretionary spending programs, recommends a 13 percent decline in the budget of the Department of Transportation. Much of that $2.4 billion annual reduction would come from slashing investment in transit.
The blueprint would kill new grants by the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program. It would eliminate the popular TIGER grant program, which has supported bus rapid transit, streetcar, station, and pedestrian facilities around the country over the past few years. It would also terminate federal support for long-distance Amtrak lines, cutting service to
Continue reading Trump’s budget hits transit hard »
» There are major transit infrastructure projects under construction throughout North America thanks to significant interest from local officials and support from national governments. That momentum is likely to continue thanks to the passage of several transit-supporting tax referenda last November. But in the U.S., there are big questions about the impact of the incoming Trump Administration.
New rail and bus routes are being built by virtually every large metropolitan area in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Almost 800 route-miles of new transit infrastructure–most of it with dedicated lanes–is now under construction, at a total cost of almost $80 billion, to eventually serve some three million daily riders.
Transit Explorer has been updated to offer the latest information on existing, planned, and proposed routes.
Every January, I compile information on all the transit projects to keep track of what kind of investments are happening. See the end of this post for a full list of projects opening in 2017,
Continue reading Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2017 »
» Donald Trump wants to make a big splash by supporting a huge new infrastructure bill. But we don’t want to end up with the construction of massive new highways from coast to coast.
After six years of proposals for significant new transportation funding being proposed by President Obama, and then being shot down immediately by intransigent Republican Congresspeople, infrastructure is suddenly the talk of Washington. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton proposed major infrastructure packages during the campaign, and the Trump transition team includes a proposal for transportation investment as one of its top priorities. As I’ll describe below, this proposal would likely primarily fund transportation projects that exacerbate climate change and encourage exurban sprawl.
We must remember that the primary goal of transit advocates should not be to simply get projects built. It should be to create more livable, less carbon-intensive cities by shifting the country’s transportation
Continue reading Should the U.S. spend $1 trillion on new infrastructure? »
» The Republican Party, despite its claims about the importance of infrastructure—and big promises from Donald Trump—pushes a more limited federal role. Democrats, in line with Hillary Clinton, advocate large new investments.
During an election year where trade and terrorism have taken center stage, it’s hardly surprising issues related to transportation have played a limited role in the national discussion about how to move the U.S. forward. Some have noted that urban policy has largely been ignored, despite the fact that many American cities continue to face considerable problems related to public investment, poverty, and economic growth.
Yet the reality is that the Democratic and Republican parties and their respective candidates for the presidency, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have laid out positions on the future of the nation’s transportation system through party platforms, candidate issue memos, and public statements. The approval of the two parties’ platforms over the past two
Continue reading Both parties claim support for investing in infrastructure. But how will they do it? »
» Boston’s Green Line extension, bloated after years of planning, gets slimmed down. A lesson for other cities.
Given how reliant the people of New York City are on their Subway, an outsider just looking at ridership data might conclude that the system must be paved with gold, or at least its stations must be decent to look at. After all, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the comfort of a transit system plays an essential role in encouraging people to abandon their cars and get on the train or bus. That’s why, some would argue, it’s so important to put amenities like USB charging and wifi into transit vehicles.
Yet anyone who has ever ridden the Subway knows first hand that its success has nothing to do with aesthetics or access to luxury amenities. Stations are hardly in good shape, trains are packed, and cell service is spotty
Continue reading Frequent service, not escalator access, is what attracts transit users »