This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.
Utah Transit Authority to open new commuter-rail line in December
A 45-mile extension of the Salt Lake-area’s FrontRunner commuter rail line will open later this year to Provo, Utah, the home of Brigham Young University. The line is one of several that have opened in the last few years — or will open soon — as part of Salt Lake City’s locally funded transit expansion program, FrontLines. Progressive Railroading has additional details on the commuter rail line here.
$196.6 million Tucson streetcar project breaks ground
Tucson, Ariz., broke ground this week on a 3.8-mile streetcar line that will connect downtown Tucson to the University of Arizona and a variety of other activity centers along the way. This press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation notes that 85,000 residents live or work within walking distance of the line. Most importantly, the line is expected to substantially improve transit trip times along the corridor. $63 million of the project’s cost is coming from USDOT’s competitive transit grant funding program TIGER.
BART to San Jose construction to break ground
A crowd of dignitaries, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, was on hand this afternoon to usher in the next great phase of BART expansion — a $3 billion extension from Fremont to East San Jose. BART expects construction on the first 10-mile segment to wrap up by 2015 with service starting a year later. A further extension into the heart of downtown San Jose is as yet unfunded. NBC Bay Area described the extension as the single largest public works project in the history of Silicon Valley.
Vancouver, Wash., C-Tran board: Light rail vote will happen this fall
The transit agency for Vancouver — that is, Portland’s neighbor across the Colombia River — has approved allowing city residents to consider taxing themselves to fund a connection to the popular MAX light rail network. However, according to the news outfit, the Columbian, the board of Vancouver’s transit agency, C-Tran, has yet to determine what kind of tax that would be — apparently turning away from a sales tax increase, which has become an increasingly popular means of financing transit. Despite some uncertainty about what kind of tax will be on the table, the board is pushing for a city-wide vote this November.
Amid political bickering, NY-NJ rail tunnel at least a decade away
When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed the ARC rail tunnel project last year — over concerns about cost increases — the project’s advocates feared a seemingly interminable delay in improvements to the New Jersey-to-New York commute. Next American City takes stock of the situation going forward: “No new rail tunnel will be built under the Hudson River for at least a decade, and the new tunnel will end up costing a lot more money [than ARC] when it is finally built.” Transit backers are now turning their sights to Amtrak’s proposed Gateway Tunnel, hoping that New Jersey commuter trains could gain access and provide relief on the already maxed out bridges and tunnels across the Hudson River.