This week, as yet another Republican Governor turned his nose up at federal high-speed rail funds, California and New York stepped forward to ask that the funds be redistributed to them. California is apparently the only state close to building a high-speed rail line. If the state receives the extra $2.4 billion, how much would that help?
A report released on Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California says that, to fix California’s traffic congestion issues, policymakers need to encourage “job growth near transit stations and implement strategies that raise the cost of driving.” Higher fuel taxes and road use charges were cited as being the most effective in getting more solo drivers off the road and on to buses and trains. High-speed rail eventually may be a part of this transit oriented development solution, but, it did not factor heavily in the report.
In fact, the report claims that California hasn’t yet reaped the benefits from its substantial investment in passenger rail. “While rail ridership has increased slightly — from 0.9 percent of all commutes in 1990 to 1.4 percent in 2008 — the growth is much slower than the pace of transit cost increases and service expansion.”
Additionally, according to a recent news item put out by the San Ramon, Calif.-based Bay Area News Group, the project has several critics among universities and nonpartisan government analysts, who have published studies — though no specific ones were cited in the story.
Meanwhile, New York at least already has some high-speed rail infrastructure in place, and the residents seem more accustomed to using rail, unlike many car-crazed Californians, with the exception of a couple urban pockets.
What do you think? Should California or New York get Florida’s money?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, which asks about the cost of not funding public transportation here.
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.