Transportation headlines, Thursday, March 14; ridership gains and reasons to be optimistic about region's transportation future

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.

Ten reasons to salute Los Angeles’ transportation future (L.A. Times)

This slideshow on the Times’ Opinion blog touts the ExpressLanes, new transit projects, mobile apps and the new 6th Street Viaduct as reasons to be optimistic. Of course, some of the projects — such as the Westside Subway — are still a few years down the road.

Transit ridership falls since 2008 (Cato Institute) 

The folks at Cato take issue with the American Public Transportation Association’s news release headlined “Record 10.5 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2012.” And the folks at Cato have a point, albeit a very small one: as the news release goes on to say, the record was actually set in 2008; 2010 was a good year and might have been better if Hurricane Sandy hadn’t temporarily shelved service in parts of the Northeast. The bottom line is 10.5 billion rides were taken on transit in the U.S. last year and I suspect we’re better off than if all those people who rode buses or trains were in their own cars.

Which transit agencies gained riders and lost riders last year? (Governing)

Using APTA’s ridership stats, Governing points out that Metro saw an 18 percent increase in the number of light rail passengers in 2012, a fact largely attributable to the opening of the Expo Line. Light rail also performed well in Dallas and Salt Lake City, two regions that have recently expanded their systems.