Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 15

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.

Senate vote to repeal ethanol tax credit fails, but some in GOP break ranks (Washington Post)

Federal subsidies for ethanol — that fuel made in the U.S. mainly from corn — top $5 billion a year, and that has some deficit-conscious lawmakers taking a harder look at the program’s value. However, a vote in the U.S. Senate yesterday to end the subsidy failed to gain enough votes to avoid a filibuster. While many lawmakers argued that it’s important to find alternatives to imported oil, making fuel out of food crops can have serious adverse impacts on the price of food. Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute, noted in a 2006 Washington Post editorial the stark terms: “The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol would feed one person for a full year.”

Transportation boss wants screens with commuter info in bus shelters (Chicago Sun Times)

Chicago’s new Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein wants to bring high-tech digital information displays to the city’s 2,200 sheltered bus stops. The plan comes after Klein successfully implemented a similar pilot project as transportation chief in Washington D.C. The Windy City’s signs would display real-time bus arrival information, as well as other nearby transportation services like bike- and car-sharing facilities.

By 2015, nearly one in five Angelenos won’t have access to transportation (L.A. Streetsblog)

Transportation for America has released a new report titled “Aging in Place: Stuck without Options” that examines how well cities are prepared for a generation of aging Baby Boomers who will become increasingly dependent on transit. L.A. Streetsblog digs into the data and finds that the Los Angeles metro area is in the middle of the pack nationally in terms of seniors’ mobility. But a lot of work still needs to be done. A couple areas that need improving include enhancing pedestrian safety at intersections near transit stations and boosting bus and neighborhood shuttle service.

Big Blue Bus costs major moolah to run (Santa Monica Daily Press)

Ever want to know what it takes to run a municipal bus service day-in and day-out? This meaty piece breaks down the cost of running Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus into the big pieces — purchasing 3,000,000 gallons of natural gas fuel for the 125-bus fleet — and the smaller ones — printing timetables.