Reminder: On Labor Day, Metro buses and trains will be running on a Sunday schedule.
From the Department of Climate Change:
Want to reduce your own carbon footprint? Try walking or biking instead of driving or take transit, which generally speaking is more efficient than driving alone. Even if you can only walk, bike or take transit occasionally, it’s something!
From the Department of Happy Labor Day!:
From the Department of Other Types of Transportation: ever wonder what it’s like to take a cargo ship from Vietnam to China?:
The article is in response to Metrolink’s announcement on Thursday that it will begin adding leased BNSF locomotives in front of Hyundai Rotem cab cars. The Rotem cars are built to better withstand collisions but Metrolink wants to further evaluate whether plow-like devices at the front of the cars are effective.
Metro is one of the five county transportation agencies in Southern California that funds Metrolink.
The crux of it: Gov. Jerry Brown supports a new $65 fee for vehicle owners and an increase of six cents to the state gas tax (and 11 cents to the diesel tax). About $500 million would come from the state’s cap-and-trade program. Transit would stand to get $400 million.
In a legislative update to staff, Metro CEO Phil Washington says the agency backs the proposal:
This proposal does not appear to have the support of the Republican caucuses in both houses. As this proposal is consistent with our Board’s priorities and provides funding opportunities for Metro’s projects and programs, we would urge the Board to communicate support for this proposal especially with members of the Republican caucus in the Senate and Assembly.
Will the state Legislature go for it? We’ll see. Raising the federal gas tax has proved to be politically impossible since it was last increased in 1993. Raising the state tax may not be much easier, considering that Californians tend to pay more for less polluting gasoline required by the state.
Putting aside the annual legislative wrangling — not to diminish its importance — it’s interesting to see the state’s cap-and-trade program tapped for transit and transpo. According to the LAT, the program raised $969 million in 2014 and is expected to raise about $2 billion in the future. I’m guessing the future tension will be between how much of those funds go to local transit agencies and how much to the state’s bullet train program, which needs tens of billions of dollars in order to build the line between L.A. and S.F.
Things to read while sitting/standing/stuck on transit: Hey, it’s Force Friday, i.e. a made-up day to sell a bunch of Star Wars stuff. In that vein, here’s a good read on Wired about BB-8 toys.
This provocative post takes aim at the “1099” economy that relies on firms such as Uber hiring independent contractors instead of employees that would be more costly. The problem, says Mom Jones, is that Uber drivers are getting hosed and deserve to make more money. They just might, depending on the outcome of a lawsuit by former drivers.
For those with HBO, Bill Maher launched into a similar tirade on a recent show that was pretty funny and interesting. In a really interesting column in 2013 headlined “Need a Job? Invent It,” the NYT’s Thomas Friedman wrote:
This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do.
I look around and I’m surprised at how many of my friends and acquaintances are working as contractors in various fields — some by choice, some because the jobs have dried up. I’ve certainly spent a healthy slice of my career as a contractor. Most everyone I know says it’s a mixed bag: definitely more freedom, definitely more self-employment taxes and health-care costs and definitely more uncertainty.
As someone who still hasn’t managed to use Uber, I’ll say this: I have plenty of friends who do and what they like is that it’s cheap. The disconnect, of course, is that their cheap ride trickles down and has a real impact on others.
While on the subject of jobs and working, a few things come to mind. I had a few other songs I wanted to post but was prevented by Government’s Aversion to Questionable Adult Language on Blogs 🙂
Categories: Transportation Headlines