Wednesday’s Headlines Want to Build Cheaper and Faster

Not much has progressed on the high-speed rail front since Ray LaHood was transportation secretary and Joe Biden was vice president.
Not much has progressed on the high-speed rail front since Ray LaHood was transportation secretary and Joe Biden was vice president.

Why did it take 11 years and $450 million to save rail riders traveling between Boston and D.C. less than two minutes, when France can build a whole new high-speed rail line in six years? (Vice)

Ridership has snapped back on smaller transit systems used mainly by low-income riders, while bigger ones used mainly by suburban commuters are facing an existential crisis — and some are in between, depending on their funding mechanisms. (Governing)

Related: Some advocates argue the tri-state New York City region should integrate their commuter rail systems with NYC transit. (City Lab)

President Biden’s proposal to suspend the federal gas tax comes with a lot of risk and little upside. (The Hill)

This is only tangentially related to transportation at best, but we must point you to testimony that truck-loving former President Donald Trump apparently tried to wrest the wheel away from a Secret Service agent who refused to drive his limousine to the Jan. 6 insurrection. (New York Times)

Three Texas groups are filing a lawsuit seeking to stop the state DOT from expanding I-35 in Austin. (Monitor)

After the Durham-Orange light rail project failed, Research Triangle officials are now considering another line connecting Raleigh and Durham at a cost of about $3 billion. (WRAL)

Kansas City’s Complete Streets and Vision Zero programs aren’t progressing fast enough for the pedestrians who continue to die. (KCUR)

Cities in Washington state are now allowed to use cameras to enforce speed limits, but none of them are rushing to be the first. (The Urbanist)

The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority should follow Alexandria’s example and make buses fare-free. (AJC)

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s vision for transit is informed by her experiences as a mother and a woman of color. (The Guardian)

The Promised Land remains choked with traffic despite promises of better transit. (Jerusalem Post)


Expectations for High-Speed Rail Coming Down to Earth

Three months after the Obama administration announced the first winners of what it hopes will be the first of many federal grants to build U.S. high-speed rail networks, advocates and planners are settling in for a long battle to surmount the obstacles and unknowns that stand in the way of long-term bullet train development. If […]

Final Stimulus Bill Slaps Transit Riders in the Face

The final tally is in, and we now have a breakdown for transportation funding in the stimulus bill that President Obama will sign, barring some unforeseen turn of the screw. Via Transportation for America: $29 billion for highways and bridges $8.4 billion for transit $8 billion for high-speed rail $1.3 billion for Amtrak To compare […]

Glaeser Goes Out With a Whimper

For those just tuning in, economist Ed Glaeser has been writing a four-part series on the potential costs and benefits of high-speed rail at the New York Times‘ Economix blog. He began three weeks ago with an introduction. The following week he addressed direct costs and benefits from a hypothetical line, and last week he […]

The Secrets of Successful Transit Projects — Revealed!

All across America, cities are investing in new transit lines. Which of these routes will make the biggest impact by attracting large numbers of new riders? A landmark report from a team of researchers with the University of California at Berkeley identifies the factors that set successful transit investments apart from the rest. The secret sauce is fairly […]