Transportation headlines, Monday, January 25

I really should have been a scientist. Fox News reports that slime mold expands in a way that mimics road and rail networks and that slime mold is perhaps better at building such networks than, say, urban planners. In other words, give me a map and some slime mold and I’ll give you a new transit system for L.A. Hmm.

A couple of years ago, Chicago turned over the operation of its 36,000 parking meters for 75 years to a private firm in exchange for an up-front payment of $1.15 billion. The city of Los Angeles has looked into a similar deal as the Chicago deal has been roundly criticized on a number of fronts — one of them being that Chicago vastly undervalued the worth of its meters. At the Governing website, former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith defends the deal as a good example of privitazation but says some key p.r. mistakes were made.

An addition to the list: The L.A. Times takes a look at the projected $251 million shortfall in Metro’s 2010-11 budget. The paper says that major rail projects aren’t likely to be severely impacted because they have dedicated sources of funding but that bus and rail service may need to be restructured. No decisions have been made yet — Metro’s Board of Directors are scheduled to adopt the next budget this spring.

The rest of today’s headlines, from the Metro library, are after the jump.

Can Slime Mold Solve Traffic Jams? (a species of gelatinous amoeba could help urban planners design better road systems to reduce traffic congestion)
Fox News

Could Eli Broad’s Art Museum Be Headed To Grand Avenue?
Blog Downtown

DOT Joins Haiti Relief Efforts
U.S. DOT Fast Lane Blog

Feds On New Miami HOT Lanes: Good For Transit
DC StreetsBlog

Gov.’s Newest Transit Raid Receiving A Frosty Reception
LA StreetsBlog

L.A. County Transit Agency Projects Historic Budget Shortfall: A Broad Array Of Options Is On The Table For Bridging The Gap, Which Is Blamed On Cuts In State Funding And A Drop In Ridership – Major Expansion Projects Are Unlikely To Be Severely Affected
Los Angeles Times

Maglev Train Backers Woo Contractors With Promise Of Jobs
Las Vegas Sun

Main Street Chases Transportation Money: Why 650 Local Governments Use Lobbyists To Get Cash For Buses, Trains, And Roads
The Center For Public Integrity

Metro’s TAP Card Embezzlement Scam
The Bus Bench

NTSB Determines Engineer’s Failure To Observe And Respond To Red Signal Caused 2008 Chatsworth Accident; Recorders In Cabs Recommended
NTSB Press Release
Report Summary of Findings

Omnitrans Bus Riders Brace For More Hikes
Contra Costa Times

Open TripPlanner Project (When finished, the multi-modal trip planner software will plan journeys by a combination of biking, walking, and transit in the areas where it has been implemented)
Trillium Solutions

Railroads Signal A Tepid US Economic Recovery: Major Freight Railroads Report Lower Profit As Weak Economy Continues To Limit Shipping Demand
ABC News

Riding The Rails: The Gold Line’s Eastside Extension
Franklin Avenue

Successful “Fiasco:” Chicago’s Parking Meter Mishap – Critics Call Chicago’s Privatization Of Parking Meters An Epic Failure, But Could It Be It’s An Epic Success?

U.S. Transit Needs An “Emergency Operations Fund”
Human Transit

US Transportation Secretary Urges Swift Passage Of Jobs Plan

White House Restarts Search For TSA Head
Wall Street Journal

You Can’t Fight The State DOT — Or Can You? (how citizens can exert political and technical influence over large transit agencies)

Categories: Transportation News