Earlier this week, Metro Atlanta voters in 10 counties shot down the “Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax,” or T-SPLOST, by an overwhelming a majority, 63% to 37%. If passed, T-SPLOST would have created a 1% sales tax to help pay for an already determined $7.2 billion package of regional transportation projects, including $3.2 billion for transit plus another $1.1 billion in local projects.
Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama signed the new MAP-21 surface transportation bill, funding transportation programs and giving public transit a much needed sense of stability, even if it’s for only two years.
While a light rail line ignites cultural tension in a volatile part of the world, plans for another rail project have been sparking spats in Los Angeles for ages.
Recently, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor conducted a study on the driving habits of 16 to 39 year olds. The study found that number of 17-year-olds that had a driver’s license dropped significantly over a period of 25 years, from 69% in 1983 to 50% in 2008. Meanwhile, American aged 20 to 24 saw a drop as well, from 92% in 1983 to 82% in 2008.
Often when we report on public transit systems across the U.S., they are in urban or suburban areas. Rural transit operations are dealing with many of the same issues as urban ones, but aren’t able to offer as many options, as we report in our upcoming June issue. Additionally, they also have significant paratransit duties, which we also plan to look into in future stories.
A New York Senator wants transit workers armed with Tasers to protect themselves and their passengers against attacks. A transit workers union backs the request, but the state Police Commissioner and the New York MTA are against it. Is the idea too extreme?
Last year was one of the worst on record as far as accidents and casualties for the motorcoach industry, which in the past has typically been one of the safest modes of transportation. If you take the amount of trips taken and compare that with the number of accidents, we’re talking pretty small potatoes; however, anybody in the industry will tell you one fatality is enough.