Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 16

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.

Bus Riders Union alleges that service changes will harm minorities and low-income riders (L.A. Times)

The group has filed a complaint with the Federal Transit Administration that the proposed bus service changes by Metro would discriminate against minorities. In response, the FTA has sent a letter to the BRU saying that it will inquire about the complaint as part of a previously planned compliance review of Metro later this year. The proposed changes are scheduled to be voted on by the Board of Directors at their March 24 meeting and take effect in June.

Kerry, Hutchison Propose National Infrastructure Bank (Infrastructurist)

U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Kay Baley Hutchison (R-Tex.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) are introducing a bill that would finally establish the long-discussed infrastructure bank. Their bill would kick start the bank with $10 billion in seed money from the federal government — less than the $30 billion that President Obama had initially proposed. Once established, the bank would be an independent and self-sustaining entity, free to loan money to projects based on merit and able to help leverage private sector funding. The 30/10 Initiative and America Fast Forward have both proposed an infrastructure bank as a means to increase financing for transportation projects.

End of the dirt highway (San Bernardino Sun)

Yes. Until this week, there was still a dirt road in the California State Highway system, Highway 173 near Lake Arrowhead. But it wasn’t all pastoral fun. The road has only one lane — perched on the side of a steep hillside — and Caltrans was having to spend up to $40,000 each year to keep the dirt smooth enough to pass. Local residents aren’t happy with the closing, however. They argue that 173 provided an important link to the high desert, although there are alternatives in highways. Going forward, a locked gate will restrict access to the public, but will allow the U.S. Forrest Service and emergency personnel to use it.