Transportation headlines, Tuesday, August 3

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Bee columnist excoriates high-speed rail p.r. effort (KALW)

Dan Walters, the longtime political columnist for the Sacramento Bee, is interviewed about the high-speed rail project proposed in California. Walters, who has often been critical of the political process around the project, isn’t sure it will get the private financing it needs to get built. Nor does he approve of the public relations efforts funded by the California High-Speed Rail Authority — which he says amounts to little more than propaganda. This is a pretty juicy read.

Orange Line extension moving along (Daily News)

The DN provides a nice overview of work so far on the four-mile extension of the popular busway to the Chatsworth Metrolink station. Metro has finished acquiring properties it needs to demolish to make way for the project and some other necessary preliminary work has also been completed. The targeted opening date is 2012.

Slow boat to China (the Guardian)

To save fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions, some shipping companies have slowed their massive container frigates to a crawl. Some of the ships are now traveling at the same speed that ships were going in the mid-1800s. Excerpt:

Ship engines are traditionally profligate and polluting. Designed to run at high speeds, they burn the cheapest “bunker” oil and are not subject to the same air quality rules as cars. In the boom before 2007, the Emma Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, would burn around 300 tonnes of fuel a day, emitting as much as 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a day – roughly as much as the 30 lowest emitting countries in the world.

Maersk spokesman Bo Cerup-Simonsen said: “The cost benefits are clear. When speed is reduced by 20%, fuel consumption is reduced by 40% per nautical mile. Slow steaming is here to stay. Its introduction has been the most important factor in reducing our CO2 emissions in recent years, and we have not yet realised the full potential. Our goal is to reducing CO2 emissions by 25%.”

Expo Line video sparks the imagination (Kevin Roderick on KCRW)

The publisher of LAObserved was mighty impressed (as were we) with the recent video showing part of the right-of-way of the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and West L.A. The video shows a side of the city rarely seen from the freeways, Roderick says. Excerpt: “In one scene the videographer comes upon a small group of boys playing on a stretch of track that looks especially rural. The illusion works. They could have been in Indiana or Kentucky, not deep within the nation’s second most populous city.” Nice commentary and the video is below if you haven’t seen it.