Wednesday’s Headlines From All Around this Land

  • When it comes to driving, Americans are partying like it’s 1999. The number of vehicle miles driven fell nearly 20 percent in March — when 32 states issued shelter-in-place orders — dropping to levels not seen in 20 years. But it’s still way too high. (Quartz)
  • Will the drop-off in driving last? In Wuhan, China — where the coronavirus outbreak started — car use has doubled since before the pandemic. Contrast that with the U.K., where officials are pouring money into pop-up bike lanes in anticipation of a massive shift to cycling. (Treehugger)
  • Americans owe nearly $400 billion on their cars — up more than 50 percent from 10 years ago, and all that debt could stall the coronavirus economic recovery. (Brookings Institute)
  • America’s biggest transit systems are asking Congress for another $24 billion to offset coronavirus losses. Congress awarded transit agencies $25 billion in March, but it has not been enough. (Transportation Today)
  • If you want funding for better transit, make sure you’re counted in the Census. (Arizona Daily Star)
  • Loss of gas tax revenue due to coronavirus could delay road repairs and transit projects in Illinois (Chicago Tribune). Same goes for Pennsylvania, where turnpike tolls that fund transit are down (WHYY).
  • Local bus routes in Pittsburgh will return to normal service this Sunday, though not commuter or express lines or light rail, because residents are still under orders to work from home if possible. (Post-Gazette)
  • The D.C. Metro is planning to slowly ramp up, but probably won’t return to pre-pandemic levels of service until next spring. (Washington Post)
  • Officials proposed new bike lanes in Jacksonville at a virtual town hall meeting celebrating the opening of the city’s new transit hub. (Florida Times-Union)
  • It’s time to restart the push for intercity passenger rail in the Upper Midwest. (streets.mn)
  • Bay Area Rapid Transit has added a San Jose extension to its map, but there’s no opening date for the two new stations. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Uber drivers staged a caravan at the company’s San Francisco headquarters to protest its labor practices. (Tech Crunch)
  • Science has proven that Rice Krispie treats would make good highway safety barriers — at least until they get stale. (New York Times)

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Our transit vehicles haven't looked like this since the early 80s. Isn't it time our federal transit funding policies got a 2020 upgrade, too? Image: Creative Commons

It's Time to End The 80-20 Split

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A single, 38-year-old transportation law has locked America into a car-dominated status quo for far too long — and advocates believe the next congress could be the ones to finally get our country out of the 1980s for good. 

FRA Chief: America Is Driving Less and Congress Needs to Catch Up

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Speaking to reporters earlier today, Federal Railroad Administration chief Joe Szabo said that people are driving less and using transit more — and that those changes are permanent. “America’s travel habits are undergoing rapid change,” he said. It’s a fact, he said (“not opinion — statistically proven”), calling on Congress to show that it understands […]