Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Jan. 4

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.

Bundling up for global warming (New York Times Dot Earth blog)

California has been soaked and cold for the past month — Mammoth has already received more than 300 inches of snow this season — and the East Coast and Europe have also been the recipient of big snows and cold snaps. This interesting post at the always interesting Dot Earth blog explores the relationship between weather (short-term meteorological events) and climate (what happens over the long-term) and asks scientists to put recent weather in the proper context. Attentive readers know that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases, much of which is produced courtesy of the transportation sector.

High-speed rail: Obama’s high stakes gamble (Time)

One of the best articles I’ve read on the Obama Administration’s push for high-speed rail projects across the country — even in places where the trains were going to travel nowhere near high-speed (Ohio). The article suggests that even though Obama doesn’t have the trillion dollars needed to build a national network of bullet trains, it was following the old Robert Moses maxim of break ground first and worry about how to finish later — because once ground is broken, there will be momentum to find the money to finish. Excerpt:

Big Government is always a convenient political opponent, especially when times are tough and families are cutting back, and the Administration was clearly overconfident that high-speed rail would inevitably expand once stakes were sunk. Still, it’s one thing to complain about federal spending and quite another thing to divert it elsewhere. Shortly after Wisconsin’s money was redistributed, the Spanish firm Talgo announced plans to shut down its U.S. train-manufacturing operations in Milwaukee and relocate the jobs to a state that continues to pursue high-speed rail. “I can’t wait to see the ads in Wisconsin in 2014,” an Obama aide says. “You’ll have some guy working on the train in Florida: ‘Thanks for my job, Governor Walker!’ “

As the South and the West grow, agendas must follow (Next American City)

Recently released Census data shows that the population in the U.S. is shifting toward the south and west — New York state once had five times the number of people in Florida. Now the states are almost even. Although some cities in the South and West are reviving their urban cores, many people in those areas live in suburban or exurban areas. The author of this post, Yonah Freemark, suggests that advocates will need to make new and better arguments to get the funding needed to bring back urban areas.