The effort is being led by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). They say the project is deeply flawed and want the $3.3 billion back that the federal government had previously committed to the project — Denham would like to see the money pumped into highway projects. The money is needed to begin construction next year of the Chowchilla to Bakersfield segment in the San Joaquin Valley. It will likely be an uphill battle: President Obama wants to preserve what’s left of his push for a national high-speed rail network.
A long follow-up on the Times’ Opinionator blog with some fascinating statistics and links. There’s a ton of interesting stuff here, such as:
What can we learn by comparing ourselves with Europe? A recent paper by Ralph Buehler and John Pucher in the journal Transport Policy looks at Germany, where the public transit systems have five times the market share compared to the United States, and have increased ridership while becoming more financially self-sustaining. Germany did not accomplish this by expanding its system, but by improving it. Between 1990 and 2007 Germany decreased its miles of service and nearly doubled fares, but ridership rose by 22 percent and riders paid for 77 percent of the cost of the service. The United States, by contrast, increased its service miles by 20 percent, and ridership remained flat when population growth was taken into account. The system became less sustainable: Passenger fares paid for 37 percent of the cost of service in 1992 but less than 33 percent in 2007. During this period German transit agencies lured in more riders by increasing quality: They upgraded passenger facilities, tightly coordinated schedules, started a program that allows riders to rent bikes when they exit the train, and made monthly passes too attractive to pass up. (A host of other government policies “pushed” riders onto transit by making car travel more expensive, slower, and less convenient.) Many of these strategies could work in densely populated parts of the United States, but the authors caution that some changes may be socially unsustainable. “There are concerns of inequitable burdens on labor, since many of the cost reduction measures involved reducing wages or benefits of workers.”
Artist Danny Heller signs iconic “Chatsworth” poster commissioned by Metro in the “Through the Eyes of Artists” series.
In the bright neon glow of Northridge Cruise Night’s convergence of muscle cars and classics, artist Danny Heller was autographing Metro posters for lines of Chatsworth fans lining up at the West SFV Bob’s Big Boy restaurant this past Friday night.
In the poster, Heller paints an iconic Chatsworth scene in photographic detail: a two-toned 1955 Chevy Bel Air cruises past a trio of grazing horses alongside the landmark Stoney Point.
And, there, among the car buffs and local historians and residents laying claim to birthrights, was Joe DiFatta, a Chatsworth resident and owner of the very same 1955 two-toned Chevy Bel Air featured in Heller’s artwork.
Artist Danny Heller, right, greets Joe DiFatta in his '55 Chevy Bel Air featured in Metro's 'Chatsworth' poster pictured here.
The Chatsworth poster is part of the “Through the Eyes of Artists” series commissioned by Metro Creative Services. The posters depicting various neighborhoods served by Metro are displayed on Metro trains and buses.
Missed the signing? You can pick up a free print of the Chatsworth poster at the Metro Library, on the 15th floor of the Metro headquarters building next to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. There’s also a few remaining copies of the Whittier, Compton and Azusa posters, but supplies are limited until the next round of commissioned posters go up in 2012.
Work is proceeding on the “Iconic Bridge” that will carry the Gold Line tracks over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway in Arcadia.
The latest, shown above: crews are installing the first of 18 “small diameter cast-in-drill-hole piles” that will be the foundation for the abutment on the freeway’s south side.
The Foothill Extension will run for 11.5 miles from the Gold Line’s current terminus in Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. The project is funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.