Transportation headlines, Friday, January 8

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn’t disagree with the selection of “distracted driving” as the word of the year for 2009 by the Webster’s New College Dictionary. And he wants 2010 to be the year  that problem is put to rest. I appreciate his optimism but I think it’s going to take more than a federal website to stop the dude in the car next to me from playing Scrabble with his Facebook sweetie.

Rand researcher Paul Sorensen makes that case at NewGeography that charging people to drive some roads is the best option in the L.A. metro area to reduce congestion. Why? The area already has a dense network of roads and there’s little room or appetite to build more roads. The most intriguing argument he makes is that in most regions, the amount of driving per capita tends to drop as the region grows denser. But our metro area has bucked that trend, the reason that more severe steps need to be taken.

I’ve been impressed with the resurgence of downtown Denver in recent years and it appears the city is getting another boost with a $500-million plan to renovate and greatly expand Union Station. The Transport Politic has a nice rendering and the details. The region is in the midst of a massive expansion of light rail, commuter rail and busways, the result of a sales tax increase approved by voters a few years ago. Sound familiar?

The rest of today’s headlines, sponsored by the busy bees at the Metro library, are after the jump.

Caltrans To Report To Public On 710 Tunnel Study
Pasadena Star-News

Evaluating Transportation Economic Development Impacts: Understanding How Transport Policy And Planning Decisions Affect Employment, Incomes, Productivity, Competitiveness, Property Values And Tax Revenues (97p. PDF)
Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Finding The Rail Line Bucks To Get LA To LAX In 2010
CityWatch

First Couple Of Public Transportation
LA Weekly

For Better Or Worse, Webster’s Word Of The Year 2009: Distracted Driving
U.S. DOT Fast Lane Blog

Funding Problems Could Delay 7th St. Freeway Reconfiguration
Long Beach Press-Telegram

A Grand Gateway For Denver’s Transit Users
Transport Politic

High-Speed Rail Authority Head To Retire In March
Sacramento Bee

Highway Barriers Stifle Sound, Sight, And Soot
U.S. National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration

Improved Sepulveda Boulevard Makes Its Debut
Los Angeles Times

LA Traffic Tips And Shortcuts
Huffington Post

Little Truck, Big Job, For Westside Subway Planning
Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District

Los Angeles Tops List Of 99 Metros Losing Jobs
Los Angeles Business Journal

Public Transit Best Vehicle For Economic Recovery
Progressive States Network

Record Year For Muni Bond Sales Seen As N.Y. MTA Preps Offering
(round-up of issuers of Build America Bonds)
Business Week

Reducing Traffic Congestion And Improving Travel Options In Los Angeles
NewGeography

Statewide/Local Advocates Slam Schwarzenegger’s Rumored End-Around Cut On Transit Funding
LA StreetsBlog

Study: Almost Half Of PCH Intersections In South Bay Need Fixing
Daily Breeze

Transport Economist Challenges Claim That “VMT Causes Growth” (vehicle miles traveled)
DC StreetsBlog

The U.S. Transportation Financing Crisis: A Snapshot From The States
LA StreetsBlog

Waiting For Multi-Year Legislation (For cash-strapped state and local governments with critical transportation infrastructure needs, the coming year will be bittersweet)
Bond Buyer