Transportation headlines, Thursday, Feb. 2

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

House to link energy and transportation bills (Wall Street Journal)

Energy may be shaping up as a potent issue in this year’s election. The Wall Street Journal reports that a House committee Wednesday passed three measures to boost domestic energy output and that Republicans are preparing to attach them to the $260 billion transportation package. The bills will face opposition in the Democratic majority Senate but could form the basis of negotiations as Republicans seek support for their energy agenda in exchange for their support of the transportation bill. Interesting that the transportation bill, which can help the environment, may be paired with oil exploration, which may not. Sophie’s choice?

How the House transportation bill is really bad for California (Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard Blog)

And speaking of the House transportation bill, the Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard Blog summarizes its opinion, particularly where California is concerned, “Hey, what’s there not to hate?” Among the complaints, as also mentioned in yesterday’s Headlines: It opens up sections of the California coast to offshore drilling with reduced environmental review. It eliminates bicycle and pedestrian funding, including Safe Routes to School programs and dedicated bicycle and pedestrian program coordinators at Caltrans. Nor is there any mention of High Speed Rail. The piece concludes by pointing out that California is a national environmental leader and that a transportation bill that works against so much of what our state stands for deserves serious attention, particularly in California.

Traffic solution: Make drivers less lonely (Miller-McCune)

Rather than moaning about too many cars on the road, the Ridesharing Institute says the real key to battling traffic congestion and pollution is filling empty passenger seats. Makes sense but the real question is: “How?” One thought, particularly useful for all of you who suffer long commutes: Metro’s Vanpool Program offers a monthly lease subsidy for vanpools of 7-15 passengers commuting to a Los Angeles County worksite. Check it out.