Transportation headlines, Monday, Jan. 3

Happy New Year, everyone! 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 blog.

FTA awards $16.6 million in grants for fuel cell bus research (Engadget)

Two alternative transportation research teams received a nice holiday gift from the Federal Transit Administration in the form of multi-million dollar grants to boost research into fuel cell.  Pasadena based CALSTART got the lion’s share of $10.2 million.  In the short-term, the goal is to build a more compact and more durable fuel cell.  Eventually, the FTA’s hope is to develop a commercially viable alternative that will allow transit agencies to replace loud and polluting diesel buses with cleaner and quieter ones.

Optimism on Villaraigosa’s 30/10 initiative (L.A. Times)

Columnist Tim Rutton kicked off the new year reaffirming his faith in the 30/10 Initiative. Even though there’s been something of a shakeup in Congress, Rutton takes comfort knowing that there is a broad consensus of political support for the plan to build thirty year’s worth of transit projects in ten years using Federal financing.

No Bond Guarantee From Rep. Mica (Wall Street Journal)

The incoming chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica, wants to set the record straight regarding his position on Build America Bonds — those subsidized loans that fund infrastructure projects.  Rep. Mica thinks they might be too generous for these fiscally constrained times, but he is open to any innovative ideas that won’t increase federal taxes.  30/10, as it turns out, is both innovative and locally funded.

Critic’s Notebook: Los Angeles needs a game plan (L.A. Times)

In his last column of 2010, Christopher Hawthorne takes the Los Angeles Planning Department to task for failing to develop plans that steer development in a way that’s good for the city, not just developers.  Specifically, he gives credit to cities like Portland, Ore. and New York for revitalizing their cities with better transit, bicycling infrastructure, and other “human-scaled improvements.”