Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 14

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.

Senate passes bipartisan overhaul of highway, transit programs; House action uncertain (Washington Post)

As reported earlier by The Source, the Senate voted today for a bill that would overhaul transportation programs and keep aid flowing to thousands of construction projects. The unusually bipartisan vote was 74 to 22. The Senate bill’s passage puts pressure on the House for quick action to maintain the federal government’s power to collect $110 million a day in federal gasoline and diesel taxes. These revenues are the main source of money for highway and transit programs. The current transportation bill is set to expire on March 31.

Concept drawing of the proposed Downtown L.A. Streetcar. (Credit: CRA/LA)

LA Streetcar project inches forward; begins environmental review (blogdowntown)

Blogdowntown is reporting that the Downtown L.A. streetcar project is moving forward with an environmental review of two possible downtown routes; here’s a post from last week about the routes. The project, estimated to cost more than $100 million, will span four-miles and serve a cross-section of downtown neighborhoods, including Bunker Hill, South Park, Historic Broadway and L.A. Live. As planned, the streetcar would run seven days a week for 18 hours a day.

BART heads to San Jose (San Francisco Chronicle)

With signoff this week on a $900 million federal funding agreement, the BART extension to San Jose moves one step closer to becoming reality. Construction on the 10-mile extension to the region’s largest city should begin next month, with two new stations expected to open by the end of 2016. Backers of the project also tout the possibilities for transit-oriented development and economic development in San Jose.

High speed rail chief: bullet train won’t cost $100 billion (San Jose Mercury News)

The Board Chair of the California high-speed rail project is promising “improvements” to the state’s bullet train plan. Speaking at a public hearing in Silicon Valley on Tuesday, Dan Richard said he now believes building high-speed rail would cost less than the recent $98-billion estimate. Richard added that using existing tracks like Caltrain and speeding up the construction schedule would bring down the costs of the project. Caltrain electrification and $1 billion for similar commuter rail upgrades in Southern California were also promised in the plan.

Is the biker rights movement gaining momentum? (The Atlantic Cities)

The Atlantic Cities considers the growing strength of the biker rights movement. Following the lead of Los Angeles — with its first of its kind biker anti-harassment law — Berkeley instituted a law protecting riders from harassment by granting them the right to sue in civil court. The article also notes that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently gave preliminary approval to an ordinance requiring commercial buildings to let riders take their bikes inside if there’s no bike parking outside.