Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Jan. 12

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.

California Budget: On Balance, Not Bad for Transportation (Transportation Nation)

Governor Jerry Brown’s budget plan proposes major cuts to services across the state, but transportation funding will actually return to more reasonable levels. This has transportation advocates and agencies, including Metro (read our official statement), feeling thankful. Not all is peachy though as Brown also plans to eliminate redevelopment agencies which are often responsible for transit oriented development that encourage the density and ridership that transit needs to thrive.

Hit the brakes on California’s high-speed rail experiment (Washington Post)

The editorial staff at the Washington Post is not convinced that California high-speed rail is anything more than a grand waste of taxpayer money. WaPo harbors doubts as to whether high-speed rail can attract private funding, guarantee ridership or be competitive to highway driving.

The Washington Post’s Ignorant Attack on California HSR (California High Speed Rail Blog)

The California High Speed Rail Blog strikes back against the Washington Post editorial with a point-by-point rebuttal of the editorial. One point that the blog reiterates is that the California High Speed Rail Authority has yet to settle on a business model, and that once it does many of the unanswered questions about implementation of the system will be answered. The blog also takes offense to very headline of the Washington Post story, noting that high-speed rail is not an “experiment” but a proven success around the globe.

It’s time to lease city-owned parking structures to private businesses (L.A. Times)

This editorial from the L.A. Times stands behind Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan to lease out city parking garages to raise revenues and help balance the city’s budget. The Times notes that it’s likely parking rates will go up, but in many locations with city-owned garages like Hollywood and downtown, Metro Rail can be used as an alternative – not only saving drivers some money, but also taking another car off congested streets.

Social media: Transit agencies connect with riders in new ways (Progressive Railroading)

Progressive Railroading takes a look at how transit agencies are joining the social media fray and the pluses and minuses of this new form of communication. On the one hand there’s increased direct engagement with customers without the possible spin of media outlets, but on the other hand there’s direct engagement with public criticism and the question of how to best handle it. Twitter, Facebook and even blogging (there’s a few paragraphs devoted to The Source) are all becoming tools transit agencies can use to keep in touch.