Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 14

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Senate passes bipartisan overhaul of highway, transit programs; House action uncertain (Washington Post)

As reported earlier by The Source, the Senate voted today for a bill that would overhaul transportation programs and keep aid flowing to thousands of construction projects. The unusually bipartisan vote was 74 to 22. The Senate bill’s passage puts pressure on the House for quick action to maintain the federal government’s power to collect $110 million a day in federal gasoline and diesel taxes. These revenues are the main source of money for highway and transit programs. The current transportation bill is set to expire on March 31.

Concept drawing of the proposed Downtown L.A. Streetcar. (Credit: CRA/LA)

LA Streetcar project inches forward; begins environmental review (blogdowntown)

Blogdowntown is reporting that the Downtown L.A. streetcar project is moving forward with an environmental review of two possible downtown routes; here’s a post from last week about the routes. The project, estimated to cost more than $100 million, will span four-miles and serve a cross-section of downtown neighborhoods, including Bunker Hill, South Park, Historic Broadway and L.A. Live. As planned, the streetcar would run seven days a week for 18 hours a day.

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Power Point presentation on Green Line to LAX

GreenLinetoLAXPP

I thought those interested in the Green Line to LAX project would want to see the above presentation. It includes a lot of maps and charts on the various options for connecting Metro Rail to the airport.

In addition, below is the webstream of last week’s community workshop on the project.


Live video by Ustream

Here is the project’s comment form [pdf version and online].

Senate passes transportation bill by wide margin

This just in from Metro’s government relations staff — it’s a nice step forward for the America Fast Forward program:

Moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly (74 to 22) to adopt its surface transportation bill (S. 1813), also known as MAP-21. The bill, championed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), represents an unusual triumph of bipartisan legislating in the current Congress. The bill will fund surface transportation projects through 2013 at a cost of $109 billion. The bill includes an innovative finance section, entitled America Fast Forward (title II of Division A of the bill) that was the product of our agency’s Board-approved plan to accelerate our Measure R funded highway and transit program. As recently as last week, Senator Boxer praised her strong working relationship with Los Angeles County transportation leaders in crafting her bill, namely the America Fast Forward title of S. 1813.

As we shared in a Legislative Alert yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives is in recess this week. The House leadership expects to work on their surface transportation bill (HR 7) in a yet-to-be determined form when they come back to Washington next week. Metro’s federal team is actively engaging with our Los Angeles County House Delegation to ensure that they and their aides have all the information they need on our Board-approved legislative program should the House bring HR 7 to a vote next week. The current surface transportation bill extension expires on March 31, 2012.

The art of transit

photo by Steve Hymon/Metro

An Expo Line test train perched on the La Cienega station structure, taken a couple of weeks ago. The photo was taken with a Nikon 5100 DSLR and I gave the photo a color boost in iPhoto.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to sourcemetro@gmail.com or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

Update on federal transportation bill

Metro’s government relations provided the agency with the following update late Tuesday. The multi-year bill provides considerable funding for transit agencies across the nation:

Today, the U.S. Senate continued debate on amendments related to S. 1813, also known as MAP-21. It is expected that the Senate will vote on final passage of the bill tomorrow. The bill will fund surface transportation projects through 2013 at a cost of $109 billion. Due to an agreement in the Senate, the bill will not be sent over to the House for consideration, ensuring a conference committee between the two chambers. The U.S. House of Representatives is in recess this week. The House leadership expects to work on their surface transportation bill (HR 7) in a yet-to-be determined form when they come back to Washington next week. Metro’s federal team is actively engaging with our congressional delegation, especially as the current surface transportation extension expires on March 31, 2012.

Video: the greening of L.A.

This video comes from the office of Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa. With Los Angeles the largest city in L.A. County, the video also features Los Angeles’ expanding bike lane program and some of the ongoing efforts by Metro to expand and go green.

The Gold Line’s Mission Station in South Pasadena is also shown in the video. If you haven’t been out that way, it’s worth the 15-minute ride from downtown — and there’s a very good farmer’s market next to the station on Thursday afternoon and evenings.