Transportation headlines, Monday, Dec. 5

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.

After tolls rise, less traffic and more train riders into Manhattan (New York Times)

Tolls that motorists pay to use bridges and tunnels into Manhattan increased in September and in the two months since, according to a preliminary report, there’s been a four percent drop in car traffic. Meanwhile, ridership on PATH trains connecting New Jersey and Manhattan went up 3.7 percent and New Jersey Transit commuter trains look to have gained ridership but final numbers are pending. Of course, the New York area is in somewhat of a unique position to measure these things as Manhattan is an island and there are only so many ways in and out.

California High-Speed Rail Authority spends millions to polish its image (Sacramento Bee)

The newspaper takes a look at the 20 contracts the agency has with “regional outreach” communications consultants. These are the firms that get paid to compile mailing lists, run public meetings, send e-mail blasts and meet with elected officials — among other things. Proponents say they’re a necessary part of keeping the public informed while critics say it’s an unnecessary expenditure. There’s a somewhat unrelated but nauseating anecdote at the end about the Authority paying $240 each way for limo service to ferry an official between San Francisco and Sacramento for a hearing.

Spandex wars in Chicago (Grist)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t shying away from transportation issues. He’s trying to raise parking taxes, build more bus lanes and put in 100 miles of bike lanes in the next five years. He also has required city employees to use transit when in Chicago and on city business. His vision has provoked one prominent critic but many in the activist community are stepping to the mayor’s defense.