Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Dec. 8

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

Americans strongly oppose proposed gas tax hike (Reuters)

Embedded in the slew of proposals offered by President Obama’s Deficit Commission was a recommendation to raise the federal gas tax by 15 cents a gallon. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 75% of Americans are opposed to the increase, which would be needed to keep the federal highway trust fund solvent. The existing federal gas tax has been 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, meaning it has not risen with inflation. On top of that, in the last decade Americans are driving fewer miles and in more efficient cars, further eroding the trust fund.  All told, the tax has been able to pay for fewer transportation investments and Congress has had to pitch in from the general fund to keep it going.

No designated bus lanes for Beverly Hills? (Beverly Hills Courier)

While Beverly Hills’ neighbors to the west duke it out to be exempted from the Wilshire BRT project, Brenton Garen searches for an explanation for why his town was left out. Regulars of The Source know that the primary reason is that Metro had to submit an application for federal funding before it had the chance to coordinate planning the project with either Beverly Hills or Santa Monica.  Aaron Kunz, deputy director of transportation of Beverly Hills, chimes in diplomatically about the prospects of adding bus lanes to the three miles of Wilshire in Beverly Hills: “Before taking a position, the City Council would need to see and review a concrete plan and an analysis of impacts of the bus lanes.”

High-speed rail agency urged to rethink planning (SF Gate)

On the heels of the announcement that the first high speed rail tracks will be laid down in the San Joaquin Valley, a voter-mandated peer review panel has issued a report expressing misgivings with the current state of the High Speed Rail Authority’s planning.  The panel of experts is headed up by Will Kempton, the executive director of the Orange County Transportation Authority. Specifically the panel found that the Authority “lacks sufficient staffing; a clear financial plan; a business model dictating who will plan, build, own and operate the system and how; as well as a plan to manage inevitable cost increases.”

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