Transportation headlines, Friday, Dec. 7

LaHood defends California high-speed rail plan (The Hill) 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spent Thursday trying to persuade House Republicans to appropriate money for California’s bullet train plan. Republicans say the train is too expensive and won’t attract private investors; LaHood says it certainly won’t get private dollars if no government money is forthcoming.

Our view: give toll road drivers a break (Daily News)

The editorial board of the Daily News says fines incurred by motorists who use the ExpressLanes on the 110 without a transponder should be forgiven until after the holidays. The Daily News also says that 12,000-plus citations issued in the first three weeks of the ExpressLanes is proof Metro needs to do more outreach.

Turning Measure J’s defeat into victory (Move LA)

The transit activist group has a nice piece on their website explaining that Measure J was essentially a Plan B to accelerate transit projects. Plan A was to persuade Congress to fully adopt the America Fast Forward program, which consists of both federally-backed loans and a bond program that supplies lenders with valuable credits to lower their taxes. The loan program was adopted by Congress but Republicans had issues with the bond part — and the bond part, quite frankly, had the potential to supply more dollars to agencies such as Metro. In the post-presidential election world, however, Republicans may be reconsidering the bond program as a way to have a jobs strategy and reduce direct government spending on transit projects. We’ll see!

7 thoughts on “Transportation headlines, Friday, Dec. 7

  1. Go ahead, continue to give us the citations.

    We’ll just protest in the form of delaying the bail (commonly known as “fine”) payment with the one time 90 day extension on LA Traffic Court Online, set the arraignment at an even later date, do the informal discovery request to both the City and District Attorneys and Metro, if they fail to respond, file a motion to compel compliance which you cannot ignore, because if ignored the case is thrown out. What you end up is no fine collection, waste of tax dollars in the log-jammed traffic courts all for what? $3 in maintenance fees.

    Per each extension and arraignment date and trial date, each citation will take over half a year to get processed and as each citation continues to be given out, it logjams the judicial system more and more. And since the cases are automatically thrown out when a trial does not occur within 45 days since arraignment, what you end up is more citations creating more backlog and pushing the trial dates even further. And yes, it cost even more money to send those citations out by snail mail when postage prices are increasing every year.

    What you guys did is open the floodgates of traffic citations and the judicial system becoming log jammed with traffic citations all because you wanted $3 per month from infrequent carpoolers.

    Get rid of the maintenance fee, and we’ll buy the transponders. But no, we’re not going to use them just so you can steal $3 more dollars per month from taxpayers that have the right to use the carpool lanes without any “minimum usage” requirements.

  2. Peope will ALWAYS claim ignorance; there will never be enough outreach, enough notice, enough news. When will people be responsible ans find out for themselves? You know darn well when you choose to enter these lanes that SOMETHING has changed. All the equipment and signs aren’t enough warning? Yet people still choose to go in there and then say “Oh, I didn’t know, so it’s not my fault”.. RIDICULOUS… As for delaying the hearing, Metro now has it’s own Traffic Court to handle these types of things so while they may give you one extension, good luck getting more. You WILL have to come down and take care of it.. Maybe people should ride METRO down to the headquarters and avoid another citation.. Just a thought..

  3. Carlos,

    It is not the taxpayers responsibility to find out things that big brother government imposed on us on a whim WITHOUT CONSENT. It is the government’s responsibility to provide proper feedback and discussions and make compromises to their constituents BEFORE anything is set in stone. That’s why we vote and that’s why we pay taxes.

    What you are saying is you’re absolutely fine with big brother government telling what to do and you having no voice to express your concerns in their all-mighty decisions. Sorry, but this is America, not Syria, Cuba or North Korea.

  4. Disagree.. Driving is a privilege and along with that comes responsibilty. Also, how MUCH is proper feedback? There has been outreach and efforts made. Now, if you don’t want to listen, that’s a different story.. Please stop comparing the USA with these horrible places; there’s NO comparison.

  5. Carlos,

    So are you saying government has no responsibility and should have absolutely no oversight to see how laws and taxes are to be used without the consent of voters? That government should be able to make any regulation and law even if it goes against democratic principles and without listening to the concerns of the public?

    What you are saying is dangerous. Government is responsible to the taxpayers and voters that elected them to office, not the other way around.

    You say “how much is proper feedback.” Clearly there isn’t in this case. 12,000 citations every three weeks is a good indicator that it wasn’t done properly. Even Metro admits in this article that they need to do a better job to listen to the people and provide more outreach.

  6. It’s a mutual responsibility.. No matter how much Metro/government does there will always be the agrument that it was not enough.. We live in a society of blaming others; when do people take responsibility for their own actions? Of course Metro is going to say they need to do a better job; that gives them more reason to hire on board more people. LOL..

  7. I believe Metro wouldn’t be bogged down with thousands of citations that they can’t handle if they actually listened to the public concerns instead of going gung-ho.

    Overall, people generally do not like the idea of “recurring fees with minimum requirements.” “Maintenance fee” or whatever, call it what you want, in the end it’s just another BS fee.

    Banks tried that with monthly fees on checking accounts with minimum balance requirements in the name of “maintenance fees” and all it did was lead to bad public relations and costly class action lawsuits. Many just closed their bank accounts and moved to using credit unions instead. In the end, the banks backed down as they were losing more money than before and went to no-strings attached free checking which is the way it should be.

    It’s the same with Metro. The cost to get through 12,000 citations every three weeks is more costly than the way it used to be. They need to back down just like the banks did. There should be no usage minimum usage requirements and there should be no monthly fees just because they didn’t use the freeway often.

    Carlos,

    Metro doesn’t need to hire more people at taxpayers expense. What they need is to replace the current people working at Metro with transit officials from abroad who have the expertise and knowledge to make Metro run things more efficiently. They need to replace the workers with those who actually use public transit to get to work.

    Americans, let alone Angelenos cannot run public transit. People who work for Metro don’t even use Metro. Bus drivers and light rail operators drive their own cars to the bus and rail depots because even they know that the buses and rails suck. The local politicians on the Board of Metro don’t even use public transit to get to City Hall or meetings. When Metro does community meetings, they drive their own Metro vehicles there instead of taking public transit. Even those that work at One Gateway Plaza drive to work instead of driving; ever see the huge parking lot they have there?

    How do you expect public transit to be better in this city when those that work for it don’t even use them and don’t know what’s wrong with them? That’s how taxes are being used in this city: use it wastefully with no financial responsibility and those that are in power on how to use them don’t even use them themselves.

    Compare Metro to Apple. Those that work for Apple, use Apple themselves personally and at work. They use the stuff that they make. Hence, they know what the current limitations are and they strive to make things better. They are constantly improving upon it because they use the stuff that they make and they know what areas can be improved.

    It’s way better to replace the current people by headhunting transit officials with those that has had experience working for the London Underground and Tokyo Metro instead. Those that worked for the London Underground and Tokyo Metro used the London Underground and Tokyo Metro to get to work. Even government officials in London and Tokyo use public transit to get to work. Since they use it on a day-to-day basis, they know what is needed and where improvements are needed. Since they are on the same eye-level as the public, they too understand the concerns of the general public.

    That’s the direction we need to be moving, not wastefully spending more tax dollars in hiring more people and hope that will solve everything.

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