Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 3

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.

A single day on the Moscow subway … in 2 minutes (The Atlantic Cities)

And we complain about crowding? Russian cinematographer Sasha Aleksandrov captures a day on the Moscow subway … to the music of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Norwegian (not Russian) composer Edvard Grieg.

Gov. Brown looks to global warming fees to pay for high-speed rail (Silicon Valley Mercury News)

As reported yesterday on The Source, the price tag for the new high-speed rail plan has been pared back from $98 billion to a mere $68 billion. But what to do about the $55 billion or so for which no source has been identified? Bullet train backers are suggesting the shortfall could be patched with money from California’s new cap-and-trade program — a pollution auction established by the state’s landmark global warming law.

The program would force polluters to buy credits in electronic auctions to offset greenhouse gas emissions, with the revenue going to programs that reduce greenhouse gasses. Under that definition, high-speed rail could certainly be a candidate for some of the money — a guesstimated $2 billion to $14 billion a year — but it remains unclear whether it would get it, how much it would get and if any of that money actually will show up. A massive showdown between the state and business leaders on the legality of cap-and-trade is expected and it will not be a quiet one, since billions of dollars are at stake.

How did downtown transform itself to a great place to live? (KCET)

To say downtown L.A. has been transformed from a dark and (in some areas) scary sci-fi set to a bright and sometimes beautiful city center is an understatement. An obvious reason for this is the arrival of new apartments and condos. During an almost 30-year period beginning in 1970, downtown Los Angeles gained a grand total of 4,300 units of housing. Then between 1999 and 2008 downtown gained at least 7,300 housing units just from long-term vacant buildings. What accounts for that tremendous uptick? Many factors, of course, including a growing transit system to attract new residents to downtown. But at least in the policy realm, arguably no reasons are as significant as a single ordinance passed by the L.A. City Council in 1999.

California gas prices soar as consumption falls (Sacramento Bee)

Gasoline prices soared by an average of 23 percent statewide last year, and in-state consumption of gas declined nearly 2 percent, according to 2011 statistics released Friday by the California Board of Equalization. We knew that and we don’t like it. But what’s to be done about it?