Transportation headlines, Friday, Jan. 22

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Thursday concluded their investigation of the deadly 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink crash. The L.A. Times reports that federal investigators determined that the crash was caused by the “egregious” text messaging of the engineer, Robert Sanchez. This conclusion has the potential to shift liability and costly lawsuits from Metrolink to the private contractor Connex Railroad, the company responsible for hiring and supervising the engineer. The NTSB recommended constant video surveillance of train crews as the only way to solve the seemingly widespread text messaging problem. Metrolink put cameras in it trains soon after the accident, but it’s been a very controversial move as engineer labor unions have deemed it an invasion of privacy.

EGPNews.com reports that the Eastside Gold Line Extension will be seeing some safety improvements in the coming months. Upgrades will include reflectors for both automobiles and pedestrians and improved signage. Metro is still studying putting crossing gates at certain intersections.

Do you know the last time the federal gas tax was raised? If you assumed it gets raised every year, you’d be wrong. According to The Infrastructurist, the gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993 and it’s not even indexed for inflation. A recent poll showed that a majority of people on both sides of the political spectrum incorrectly believe the gas tax goes up each year. I honestly rarely think about the gas tax — not just because I don’t drive — but because it’s so well hidden in the price we pay at the pump.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s Way2Go blog has a stimulus plan for the country called take transit and save $10,000. According to reports, using transit instead of driving can save an individual about $10,000 a year, and Way2Go ponders all the stimulating ways this extra money could be spent. It’s obviously not doing much for the auto industry. The blog asked, “what would you do with an extra $10,000?” Responses included paying off student loans, investing in the stock market, travel and buying a bicycle, among other ideas. Personally, I use the money I save by not owning a car on video games. A lot of video games.

The 710 On Trial: Find Out How Freeway Expansion Could Affect You
Green LA Girl

710 Tunnel Outreach Starts
Glendale News Press

2010 Will Be A Busy Year for Transit Advocates In Los Angeles
LA StreetsBlog

Building America’s Future Brings Bipartisanship To Rebuilding The Country
(the push for a National Infrastructure Bank)
Transportation For America

Community Briefed On 710 Extension, Community Not Pleased
LA Curbed

Culver City Draft Bicycle And Pedestrian Network Plan Available For Review
Be A Green Commuter

Eastside Gold Line To Get Added Security Measures
EGP News

High-Speed Rail Line Worth $42.6 Billion?
Orange County Register

How Often Is The Gas Tax Raised? Most Americans Have No Clue
Infrastructurist

Media On The I-405 Widening: It’s Going To Take Awhile, But It’s Totally Worth It!
LA StreetsBlog

More On The New U.S. Federal Transit “New Starts” Guidelines
Human Transit

More Proof That L.A. Isn’t Getting Its Fair Share Of Stimulus And Federal Funds
LA StreetsBlog

NTSB Blames Engineer For 2008 Metrolink Crash, Urges Railroads To Install Cameras To Monitor Train Crews
Los Angeles Times

RFID Research To Make Transit Workers More Safe
Metro Magazine

Stimulus Plan? Taking Transit Can Save You $10,000
EDF Way2Go Blog

To Create Jobs, Build Public Transit, Not Highways
Wired

U.S. DOT Previews How New Transit Rules could Define “Livability”
DC StreetsBlog