California High-Speed Rail DOT High-Speed Rail

DOT Releases Second Round of High-Speed Rail Grants, Bringing Good News to California

» In the shadow of the coming elections, California’s large commitment to its rail program continues to be rewarded by Washington; a focus on the Central Valley encourages long-term thinking about the state’s future train network.

Nine months after allocating $8 billion to intercity rail projects across the nation, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced an additional $2.5 billion in investments designed to encourage the spread of rail passenger transportation. Unlike the first expenditures, these funds do not come from President Obama’s early 2009 stimulus but rather from the FY 2010 budget. Though the FY 2011 budget may also include funding for this mode of transportation, that spending has yet to be agreed upon by the Congress, making today’s announcement the last definite federal distribution of rail dollars.

Each state receiving funds will for the first time be required to contribute its own funds to its respective project. The DOT has asked for 20% or more to be covered locally. The list of projects shows a distribution of funding spread across the country, though many of the states have received only relatively small planning funds so far.

As I discussed earlier this week, the decision by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to devote $800 million to the Tampa-Orlando high-speed corridor indicates that the government expects to use this Florida line as a model for the rest of the country once it opens as early as 2015. Now that funds have been allocated, it appears that were he to win, once-skeptical Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott may not be such an opponent as he once suggested, indicating that this project is highly likely to move forward no matter who wins next week’s election. The Democratic candidate, Alex Sink, is a strong supporter.

Yet the $715 million to be spent on California’s Central Valley high-speed line is of more consequence for the future of the country as a whole, since it will form the central element of the nation’s fastest and most comprehensive set of fast train corridors. When including the $2.25 billion the state received in January for the program and the $10 billion voters approved in 2008, the state now possesses enough funding to begin construction on a large segment of the planned 700-mile network — though the full $45 billion, 220 mph program is far from being completed.

The federal government’s decision to allocate specifically to the Central Valley corridor between Bakersfield and Merced suggests that Washington hopes to grow the fast train system from the center, out. In the first round of grants, the government failed to pinpoint exactly where it wanted California to begin construction — so the rail authority is currently evaluating where to spend those initial funds. Now that a large amount of money has been earmarked specifically for the Central Valley, the state should think seriously about investing most of its funds there for now. Unlike the San Francisco Bay alignment to the north and the route through the greater Los Angeles area, the Central Valley line has encountered little resistance from locals, so its completion could come more quickly. Showing that the state can move forward with actual construction, instead of simply more planning, would be a good move politically.

The large lead Democrat Jerry Brown has taken in the California governor’s race is good news for California’s project, since his Republican opponent Meg Whitman has repeatedly suggested that the state cannot afford high-speed rail for now.

Three slower-speed routes have also been granted major funds from Washington: $230 million for a new connection between Chicago and Iowa City; $158 million for upgrades on the line between Dearborn and Kalamazoo in Michigan; and $121 million for a link between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Each of these states will benefit from substantially improved service standards on these intercity rail lines, though none of them will be getting true high-speed rail in the foreseeable future.

Connecticut’s award is lower than the $220 million the state asked for and arguably unfairly small considering that the legislature has agreed to pay for almost half the costs of the project, a larger percentage than any other state except California. But the DOT is likely assuming that the Congress will decide to allocate increasing funds to intercity rail in the next budget and in the future transportation reauthorization bill; Connecticut seems likely to be one of the first recipients to complete the funding portfolio of an important extension of the Northeast Corridor.

The U.S. Invests in High-Speed Rail, Round Two
StateAwards in HSR II (m$)Awards in HSR I (m$)Total AwardsNew Projects Funded in HSR II
California898.123443242.1Central Valley HSR
Illinois3.712351238.7New bridges Chicago-Milwaukee
Washington30.8590620.8King St/Tukwila Stations;Seattle-Vancouver
North Carolina23.2545568.2Charlotte Station; New bridge
Iowa2300230Chicago-Iowa City
New York26.5151177.5New crossovers; signal poles
Connecticut120.940160.9New Haven-Springfield
Northeast Corridor13.3112125.31.5 miles new track; New bridge
Minnesota40040St Paul Depot
Missouri3.63134.6Downtown St Louis rail
Oregon4812Portland-Eugene; Union Station
Commuter Rail Finance New Jersey New York

ARC Project Definitively Cancelled, But There Are Other Ways to Improve New Jersey’s Transit Future

» Capacity on New Jersey Transit can be expanded by transforming the system.

Access to the Region’s Core was to be the nation’s largest investment in transit, ever: At a cost of $8.7 billion, the project would have dramatically expanded rail capacity between New York and New Jersey by doubling the number of rail tracks available for use under the Hudson River. The result could have been a large increase in service on New Jersey Transit’s commuter rail and Amtrak’s intercity rail operations.

The project is now dead. After a two-week review demanded by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reaffirmed his decision to stop all work on a scheme for which he argues the state has no money. In other words, the ARC tunnel is low on the Governor’s priority list and certainly not worth raising taxes for: Instead, he has increased transit fares by more than he has road tolls and has done nothing to shore up the major deficits looming in the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. In consequence, Mr. Christie has shown himself to be uninterested in investing in infrastructure for the state’s future.

It’s a disappointing coda to a month of suspense about a project that plenty of New Jerseyans assumed was guaranteed after construction began a few months ago. And it means that it will be virtually impossible to add any more New Jersey Transit or Amtrak trains between New Jersey and New York — for several decades.

All hope for the future of transit connections between the two states, however, is not lost.

New Jersey Transit and Amtrak have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the limitations in tunnel capacity to reform the way they do business, to improve and speed up operations in ways that will bring some benefit to their customers but also seriously increase the number of people that can travel under the Hudson River to work every day. Without making changes, trains will become more and more packed and the total ridership of the services will be limited.

Here’s a comparison worth taking in: Whereas New Jersey Transit carries roughly 275,000 riders a day on its entire rail system, Paris’ RER Line A — one corridor, running through the center of the city using just two tracks — is able to handle a million users daily. It’s a squeeze, and the region is planning to build an relief line, but it still works. How can New Jersey Transit be facing such constraints with so many fewer riders?

The explanation is the agency’s steadfast adherence to the rule that commuter trains are different than rapid transit ones — primarily, that they have to offer each and every one of their riders a comfortable seat. This limits maximum train capacity to about 1,400 passengers when using ten multi-level cars such as the ones pictured above. While this may seem like a lot of people, with only limited tunnel capacity there are only so many trains that can make the trip into Manhattan during peak hours. If the agency were to simply remove a dozen seats or so per car and replace them with standing areas, trains would be capable of carrying up to 2,000 people apiece. There’s a huge bump in capacity, at virtually no cost. The RER A has a relatively even mix of standing and seating areas, and that’s one of the primary reasons it’s able to move so many more people.

Of course, this would come at a comfort cost to the people who now ride the trains, since what had once been a comfortable ride may be replaced by a standing-room only train. But that may be the price to pay if New Jersey Transit wants to ensure that it can transport all the people that need to get into New York City every day.

Amtrak would not be able to make a similar compromise, since it would be unreasonable for any intercity rail service to force its riders to stand, but the lack of additional Hudson River capacity should encourage the national rail operator to expand the length of its trains so that it can carry a larger number of people using the same amount of tunnel space. It is outrageous that the Acela Express service — which hogs 20 of the slots through the Hudson tunnels in each direction daily — only has six passenger cars, one of which is half-filled by a cafe. All of the stations at which these trains stop have the ability to handle at least two more cars per train; if Amtrak desired, it could add these cars to its current rolling stock.

In other words, neither New Jersey Transit nor Amtrak need more capacity under the river right now. They simply must find a way to adapt their existing operations to these newly imposed constraints. Will they be able to do so, or will they leave some potential customers behind?

Governor Christie has been a weak proponent of transit, as is manifested by his decision to cancel ARC. Yet the sudden availability of $3 billion in Port Authority funds once dedicated to the project and the theoretical availability of a similar amount of state money once designated for the program mean that this is also an intriguing moment for thinking about new ways to invest in New Jersey’s transit system. If Mr. Christie obliges, rather than insisting that local dollars go to roads and encouraging the Port Authority to spend away in New York City, some of the funds could go towards the rehabilitation of the Northern Branch and Passaic-Bergen corridors; others could be spent on improvement projects in the Philadelphia suburbs. These would have a minor effect on overall travel patterns compared to the ARC tunnel but would be far less expensive and still worthwhile.

While harping on the importance of ARC has been an essential effort — how else to defend it? — at this point Governor Christie is not going to change his mind. Thus transit proponents have a responsibility to find constructive, helpful ways to define a different mobility future for New Jersey that does not include it, at least for the next few decades. They have a choice: Should they let Mr. Christie control the transportation agenda entirely by refocusing the state’s funds on roads? Or can they play an important role in demanding that the limited funds are spent on prioritized investments that will benefit the state’s public transportation network?

Image above: A New Jersey Transit train in Metropark, from Flickr user Phillip Capper (cc)

DOT Finance Florida High-Speed Rail Orlando Tampa

With More Federal Funding, Florida in Striking Distance of New High-Speed Line

» In sinking $800 million more into the Tampa-Orlando line, Obama Administration is making clear its interest in making this the nation’s model program for fast trains.

In terms of high-speed rail funding, the thinking of the current Department of Transportation is easy to understand: Of the dozens of projects proposed across the country, only one could offer true high-speed service and open before the end of President Obama’s second term, all within a relatively tight budget. That is Florida’s 84-mile Tampa-Orlando link, expected to be complete by 2015 at a cost of less than $3 billion. It is therefore no surprise that in the latest round of grants for fast train services, the project has been awarded enough money to virtually ensure its construction.

The DOT’s announcement, expected to be formalized on Thursday, will hand Florida $800 million of the $2.5 billion in total allocations from the Congress’ FY 2010 budget. The Sunshine State now has $2.05 billion in federal funds to complete its $2.7 billion project, including the $1.25 billion it received in January. A further $300 million is expected to follow in 2011 thanks to the $1 billion in additional funds expected to be earmarked for high-speed rail nationwide in the FY 2011 budget. This would be enough to pay for the whole line.

Of the remaining $1.7 billion to be allocated this week, $902 million will go to California, primarily for the construction of a new line in the state’s Central Valley, between Merced and Bakersfield; Iowa and Illinois won $230 million for a link between Chicago and Iowa City; Michigan received $150 million for the Dearborn-Kalamazoo line; and Connecticut landed $121 million for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield connection. Several other projects, like Virginia’s Washington-Richmond corridor, Oregon’s Eugene-Portland line, and the Atlanta-Charlotte connection, won smaller planning grants. Of these projects, only Florida’s and California’s plans would produce true high-speed rail, operating at maximum speeds above 150 mph.

Unless Republican political foes of high-speed rail shut down these projects after November’s elections (likely in Wisconsin, possible in Ohio and Florida, unlikely in California), these funds are likely to be spent on actual construction, as were the $8 billion in funds distributed earlier this year. Once the DOT makes this week’s allocations official later this week, I will discuss their national implications.

But Florida is the biggest story here: In almost fully funding the state’s first line, the federal government is hoping to produce a model for the rest of the nation to eventually emulate. The Obama Administration, despite inducing a sea change in thinking about the role of intercity rail in American society, also has been rather incrementalist in its thinking. The government has steadily embraced the concept of high-speed rail but the Administration has not been particularly successful in making the issue big enough to ensure a massive Congressional allocation — yet.

Florida, because its project will be the first true high-speed rail line in the U.S. and will be done relatively soon, will be judged on its effectiveness and therefore serve as the standard for future U.S. fast train projects. That means the state has a particular obligation to ensure that the program is implemented with few or no cost overruns and that it is able to attract high ridership once it opens. If it is successful in the eyes of the media and the political class, increasing funding for this transportation mode will be virtually assured. Otherwise, far more ambitious schemes like California’s San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line, will likely remain on the sidelines.

The Florida line will include five stations, in downtown Tampa, Lakeland, the Disney resorts, the Orange County Convention Center (pictured at top), and the Orlando Airport, and is expected to attract 2.4 million riders in its first year. Though trains will accelerate to up to 168 mph, express trains between Tampa and Orlando Airport will make the trip in 50 minutes — roughly 100 mph on average. The majority of the line will be built in the median of Interstate 4 by a public-private partnership responsible for construction, rolling stock, and operations. It is expected to be chosen at the end of next year, after an RFP review beginning in March.

A future extension to Miami would come next; this week the federal government also provided Florida several million dollars to study that project.

As I’ve argued several times before, Florida’s high-speed line is far from perfect. Most problematically, it includes no station in downtown Orlando; its highway alignment also limits associated development possibilities in Lakeland.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration is right in its focus on this project. Florida’s interest in attracting foreign investors in the line’s construction and operation means that the corridor is likely to be well-run and offer a surprising alternative to the mediocre (and under-funded) Amtrak intercity service too many Americans think is as good as it gets. The fact that this link will be operationally profitable won’t hurt, either. By ensuring that the state gets its corridor up and running as soon as possible, the Obama Administration will be providing a model for the quality and undeniably exciting benefits of true high-speed rail, no matter its limitations in this context.

Image above: Conceptual layout of Orange County Convention Center Station south of Orlando, from Florida High-Speed Rail

Elections Light Rail Metro Rail Streetcar Toronto

When Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils Could Save a Transit System

» In a three-way race for Toronto mayor, picking the best candidate could result in the worst outcomes for the city.

Because the U.S. political system is basically a two-party duopoly, few electoral races offer more than a singular comparison between a Republican and a Democrat. In terms of transportation issues, there frequently is little question about who is the better candidate. Nonpartisan elections offer an alternative by opening up a broader range of choice for voters.

Case in point is Toronto, where local voters are going to the polls Monday to pick their new mayor. There, three candidates have made it to the end of the race, right-wing Rob Ford, centrist George Smitherman, and left-wing Joe Pantalone, the last being the heir to current Mayor David Miller. A new poll suggests Ford is leading the race with 43.9% of expected votes; Smitherman follows with 35.6% and Pantalone is expected to receive 15%. The election has one round and is not an instant runoff.

Despite the choice this election offers, voters interested in preserving the quality of North America’s third-largest transit system may unfortunately have to stomach voting for a less-than-ideal candidate to prevent a truly dangerous one from winning. Ford’s positions are dangerously anti-transportation alternatives and could spell trouble for Toronto’s chances to dramatically improve its mobility options over the next decade. For people hoping to keep up the momentum, voters would might naturally prefer Pantalone may have to choose to be strategic rather than idealistic by supporting Smitherman instead. Multi-party electoral systems have their downsides, too.

Mayor Miller has been in office since late 2003 and has been a strong proponent of increased investment in his city’s transit capital program: His 2007 announcement of the eight-line light rail Transit City program and his subsequent campaign to get Ontario provincial funds to pay for the projects were groundbreaking and entrepreneurial on a scale few cities have dared to dream up. After all, 75 miles of new rail lines serving new crosstown routes are no drop in the bucket; if built, they would fundamentally change the ability of people in Toronto to get around by rapid transit.

Yet candidate Ford, who at the moment appears to be on a fast-track to winning this race, would discard the Transit City plan full-stop. Using rhetoric to inflame already disenchanted suburban residents, concerned that their priorities aren’t being considered by a center-city focused city hall, Ford has declared that he will fight to “end the war on cars” (words that are uncomfortably similar to those of British Conservatives). How will he do so? By eliminating bike lanes from major streets and, even worse, by dismantling the city’s 47-mile downtown streetcar system, which serves 285,000 daily customers. Ford claims that these are disruptive to the free-flow of automobiles in North America’s most-congested city, but removing the transit infrastructure now would likely mean never getting it back.

Ford’s comments are couched in familiar conservative terms of “fiscal responsibility,” but it is clear from his message that he is simply more interested in promoting car travel than transit. By removing streetcars, Ford would have to cancel an already finalized C$1.2 billion contract with Bombardier for 204 new trains at a potential penalty of C$100 million and buy 550 new buses as well as construct two new $100 million bus garages. Because Toronto’s streetcar vehicles carry three times as many passengers as buses, operations costs would expand dramatically and the number of buses on the streets would multiply significantly; meanwhile, passenger comfort would decline. How more buses carrying fewer people would result in less traffic congestion as Ford seems to imply is unclear.

In exchange for the large network of light rail lines Mayor Miller has proposed to implement (construction is underway on one corridor already), Ford would build new subways that sound good in theory but which would ultimately mean far less transit expansion because of their higher costs. But subways are more convenient for Ford because they’re buried underground, safe from interrupting the travel of his precious automobiles.

Joe Pantalone, on the other hand, has been a full-throated defender of investments in public transportation, pushing the Transit City plan as strongly as the current mayor. He has promoted a 1,000-kilometer bike route plan that would ensure increased safety and convenience for those who choose to cycle around. Under his leadership, it is hard to imagine the city falling behind in the development of alternatives to the automobile.

Unfortunately, Pantalone is so far behind in the polls that a vote for him would help split the vote enough to put Ford in office. People who want to see the improvements he is promoting may have to vote against Ford, not for Pantalone.

In this case, that means checking off the box for George Smitherman. Though his transportation proposals has been relatively vague and he has not proven himself to be willing to put his political ambitions on the line for improved transit, Smitherman has generally supported the Transit City plan and has developed a plan to fund the local transportation network through gas taxes and profits from the power and parking authorities. He has regrettably asked for a moratorium in new bike lanes.

Steve Munro, an influential local transportation advocate, has reluctantly endorsed Smitherman, suggesting that the three-candidate election leaves progressive voters no choice but to vote centrist unless they want the conservative to win with a minority of votes. If Smitherman isn’t perfect, his efforts will be improved by the decisions of the larger city council.

Is Munro right? Is it worth sacrificing one’s ideals and voting against someone rather than for someone else?

Update, 25 October: Rob Ford has won the race, getting about 50% of the vote.

Image above: Streetcar in Toronto, from Flickr user Diego Silvestre (cc)

DOT Finance

TIGER II Grants Emphasize Limited Investments in Small and Mid-Size Communities

» After focusing on streetcar grants for big cities earlier in the year, the Department of Transportation takes a step back, providing funds for a number of smaller communities. Three big exceptions: Atlanta, Orlando, and Salt Lake City.

After months of waiting, the U.S. Department of Transportation has finally revealed which projects it will be funding under the TIGER II grant program, a series of discretionary allocations under the direct review of the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood. $600 million has been split between dozens of communities across the country; most funding has been allocated to small-scale projects in small and mid-size cities for the purposes of street improvements, the construction of transit centers, and the rehabilitation of freight railway lines.

Of the total funding, 29% went to roads projects, 26% for transit improvements, 20% for railway renovations, 16% for ports, 4% for bike and pedestrian programs, and 5% for planning. Rural communities got a large slice of the financing, taking in $140 million. The grants have clearly been distributed in the interest of promoting geographical equity across the country. A full chart of the grants distributed is included at the end of this article.

The previous TIGER grants, distributed in February, had a unique focus on the development of new or improved transit and rail services in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and included funding for the renovation of Moynihan Station in New York City, the improvement of the freight rail system in suburban Chicago, and the creation of new streetcar or bus rapid transit lines in Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Tucson, and Washington. This time, a smaller financing pool available meant that many of the most ambitious cities that applied for more than $19 billion in grants simply could not be funded.

Even so, several large projects will move forward thanks to TIGER II. I wrote last week that the decision to allocate $20 million to Los Angeles to leverage $546 million in federal loans for the Crenshaw light rail line was perhaps the most significant of the schemes because it provides a new model for financing large infrastructure projects.

But other programs are also interesting. The biggest single grant, $47 million, went to Atlanta for the creation of a streetcar line between the Centennial Olympic Park downtown and the Martin Luther King, Jr. historic district. This was the first major transit grant allocated to this New South city in several years, but it may not be the ideal investment for this city, which currently has many plans on its plate, including the innovative Beltline project. Salt Lake City received a major allocation for the creation of a 2.1-mile streetcar from the Central Pointe TRAX light rail station to the Sugarhouse business district in South Salt Lake City. This will allow this city to continue its relatively quick expansion of transit provisions. With a TIGER II grant, Orlando will be able to extend its LYMMO bus rapid transit line by 1.9 miles from its current terminus downtown towards an isolated neighborhood on the other side of Interstate 4.

Just as intriguing is the $16 million grant to New Haven, Connecticut for the first phase of its Downtown Crossing project. This will involve the removal of a portion of part of the city’s central city highway for the purposes of reconnecting the street grid. This scheme will be integrated into the development of a streetcar line between downtown and Union Station’s intercity rail services. Two notable projects that received planning grants were New Orleans and New York, both of which are also considering eliminating freeways in dense urban communities (the Claiborne and Sheridan Expressways, respectively). Here, the federal government has for the first time positioned itself clearly on the side of those who believe that is necessary to remediate the pain caused by the imposition of large roadways into neighborhoods during the 20th century, and that’s good news.

Elsewhere, most funding went to the creation of complete streets (in Bridgeport and Peoria, among others); the improvement of freight rail corridors and port facilities (Fort Worth, Maine, Miami, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota); and the improvement or installation of transit centers and stations (Cleveland, Des Moines (shown above), Niagara Falls, Philadelphia)

The TIGER funding comes from the FY 2010 general federal appropriation bill. These are the last of the funds from the 2009 federal stimulus to be distributed to transportation projects.

Major TIGER II Stimulus Projects
(not including road or bridge projects or planning programs)
PlaceProjectTIGER Grant ($m)Total Cost ($m)Description
AtlantaDowntown Streetcar47.772.2New east-west streetcar from Centennial Olympic Park to MLK
Fort WorthTower 553491.2Removal of grade-level freight rail crossing
Salt LakeSugar House Streetcar2655.6Construction of a new streetcar downtown
MiamiPort Rail Access22.846.9Reinstatement of rail cargo system to freight facilities
Los AngelesCrenshaw Line201715Funding to leverage loan on new light rail line
Niagara FallsInternational Railway Station16.525Creation of a new railway station with platforms and signalling
New HavenDowntown Crossing1631.7Removal of downtown highway for reconnection of the street grid
South DakotaMRC Rail Line1621Reconstruction of freight rail line between Mitchell and Chamberlain
Los AngelesWest Basin Railyard16125.8New intermodal railyard, staging tracks
ArkansasNW Arkansas Regional Greenway1538.540-mile bicycle, pedestrian corridor from Fayetteville to Bentonville
PhiladelphiaDilworth Plaza/Concourse1555Rehabilitation fo downtown plaza to improve transit hub areas
North DakotaMinot Bypass14.123Better connections to freight facility
Coos Bay ORCoos Bay Rail Line13.614.6Reconstruction of freight rail line between Eugene and Coos Bay
BridgeportSteel Point Complete Streets11.244.7Reconstruction of streets to include better ped/bike facilities
MaineAroostook Railway Preservation10.529.6Improvements to existing railway
ClevelandUniversity-Cedar Rapid Transit Station10.531.9Renovation of existing rail station
Kansas/ OklahomaGreat Plains Freight Rail10.219.9Relocates rail hub from urban to rural area, improves track
East Bay CAPedestrian and bike network10.243.3Will aid in closing gaps in 200-mile network
MolineQuad Cities Station1021.8New Amtrak station along riverfront
Des MoinesTransit Hub1012.5Constrution of new terminal for transit system (Phase II)
New YorkFordham Transit Plaza1019.5Improvements to inner city public space
PennsylvaniaCentral PA Rail and Road Expansion1052.9Adds track, rehabilitates older track section
OrlandoParramore BRT10106.11.9-mile bus rapid transit route
PeoriaWarehouse District Complete Streets1037.4Creates a complete streets network in downtown area
West Vancouver WAFreight Access1092.9Provides new rail access route to alleviate train congestion
Staples MNStaples Corridor7.79.9Reconstructs crossing to eliminate grade crossing
Chadron NEFreight Rail Reactivation4.96.2Rehabilitates 7.5-mile rail line
Hailey IDWoodside Blvd Complete Street3.54.4Rebuilds 2.4-mile street to include ped/bike access
OregonElectric Vehicle Corridor24.6Provides fast charging stations along I-5 corridor
Waterloo INWaterloo Station Improvements1.81.8Full length platform, additional parking
Moscow IDIntermodal Transit Center1.52.8New transit facility to connect bus services
Fort Valley GAState U Drive Complete Streets1.51.7Small amount of streetscape improvements downtown

Image above: Planned Des Moines Transit Hub, from The Bus Blog – Des Moines, Iowa