Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 24

Here’s a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog. Don’t forget you can also follow the Metro Library on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s no secret that people have been migrating to cities over the past century. Now, a new United Nations report says that mushrooming cities are growing into megaregions that could host populations upwards of 100 million people, reports the Guardian. The article cites several examples, most of them overseas in Asia and Africa. I attended a conference on urban freight last year in Long Beach in which federal officials said much the same thing is happening in the U.S., with populations clustered around particular corridors. Some people say that’s a good argument for building a high-speed rail network, some say it means more money should go into urban mass transit — and others say it’s a good reason to do both.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is offering $130 million in grants for streetcar projects in the United States — and has received $1.1 billion in applications from 65 cities across the nation, according to Streetsblog. The effort to build a streetcar line in downtown Los Angeles has asked for $25 million in from the feds for a project expected to cost about $100 million. The awards are expected to be announced this summer. If the recent announcement of federal awards for high-speed rail projects is a precedent, the feds will likely sprinkle the $130 million around the country, covering as many congressional districts as possible. And, David — here’s the link to buying an EZ pass online at the Metro website. It’s not as easy to find as it should be, but it is there.

KCRW’s “Which Way L.A.?” had a segment last night on L.A. Times’ columnists David Lazarus’ recent complaint about the unfriendliness of the region’s mass transit system. Lazarus, in particular, would like to see transit passes that allow for seamless travel between different transit agencies (he doesn’t think the EZ pass does the trick) and also gripes about Metro’s no-transfer policy. Metro spokesman Marc Littman says that these are good points but it takes money to provide that kind of service — and state funding of mass transit in recent years has been dropping. To hear the segment, fast forward to the 35-minute mark.

Categories: Transportation News