Transportation headlines, Wednesday, January 15

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Jimmy Fallon’s and Bruce Springsteen’s alternative take on “Born to Run. It’s an ode to New Jersey traffic and Gov. Chris Christie and well worth three minutes of your time. Warning: mild adult language I can’t post on the blog.

And a more serious Springsteen performance on Fallon’s show:

Can L.A. find a way to create jobs from local transit projects (L.A. Times)

The editorial argues for a change in federal law that would allow for more local hiring. Excerpt:

But Metro officials say federal transportation law prohibits the agency from steering jobs to local residents if the project receives federal funds. The agency can — and has — required contractors to hire 40% of workers from low-income areas. But because of the prohibition, those workers may come from any impoverished ZIP Code in the nation.

The ban on targeted geographical hiring may have made sense in the past, when the federal government covered 80% of the cost of major transportation projects. The argument was that if taxpayers nationwide paid for the project, workers nationwide should have a chance at being hired to build it. But the funding model has changed, particularly in Los Angeles. Since the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase passed in 2008, the county has committed to paying most of the cost of big transportation projects.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wants better ground transportation at LAX. But do airlines? (Airspace blog) 

LAX’s general manager says that airlines are skeptical about a people mover being built at the airport — specifically they don’t think it will create much incentive for passengers to use the airport. Gina Marie Lindsey also says that there are concerns about the cost of a people mover and the fact that it doesn’t create revenues. It’s worth noting that studies of the project are moving forward and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said that connecting LAX to Metro Rail — likely via a people mover — is one of his top transit priorities.

TriMet ridership continues to fall in Portland (Oregonian)

The city is well-known in planning circles for its light rail system, streetcar and extensive bike ridership — but recent service cuts plus a fare increase have resulted in a big dip in ridership of the light rail system.

More density doesn’t mean more traffic (Transitized) 

Residents fear some big new developments in Chicago that they say will generate more traffic. The author explains why tall buildings don’t necessarily have to result in gridlock because it really comes down to other factors that determine how much residents want to drive. The article is about Chicago, but it may as well be about Los Angeles.


Categories: Projects

8 replies

  1. Ron,

    Los Angeles is a world class city with LAX being a major airport hub for all the three airline alliances.

    There will never be a non-stop flight to/from New York-JFK/Newark, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Reagan/National, London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Tokyo-Narita/Seoul, Seoul-Incheon and Shanghai-Pudong to/from Ontario. It’s not gonna happen no matter what Ontario dreams about. Ontario has neither the attraction to be so close to LA, nor does it have the multiple connection opportunities that LAX offers.

    In sharp contrast, there will always be MULTIPLE non-stop flights to/from New York-JFK/Newark, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Reagan/National, London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Tokyo-Narita/Seoul, Seoul-Incheon and Shanghai-Pudong to/from LAX. LAX is right at the “sweet spot,” close to where to all the action is in LA. LAX also offers all the connection opportunities that the major international airlines want as an international hub airport.

    The fact that landing fees at Ontario are much cheaper than LAX, and yet LAX still has all these airlines both US and international flying to LAX pretty much sums it up. Even if a rail line is added to LAX that ends up costing the airlines $5 more for a price of ticket, they will still be flying to LAX.

  2. Regarding the Airport People Mover article:

    “They’re non revenue,” Lindsey said. “There is no way to make money off of an APM. It’s essentially a sunk cost that you have to find other mechanisms to pay for. And they worry all the time that the mechanism to pay for them is going to be them.

    You know what’s funny, you can make the exact same claim about a Freeway.

  3. Theo: Here’s why we care what the airlines think. If the airlines don’t have to pay for the rail connection, then they’re all for it. But if, as the article says, some of the cost is passed to the airlines, it means ticket prices will go up. Perhaps you and I don’t mind paying $5 extra per air ticket in order to have a rail connection, but this difference will cause some people to fly less. Some routes, which are marginally profitable today, will become money losers and the airlines will have to cancel them (this is exactly what happened at Ontario with the new terminal). So the question is not just whether we want a rail connection to the airport (everybody does), but rather it is a question of alternatives: which do we prefer — a direct rail connection, or non-stop air service to places like Albuquerque and El Paso? The way costs are structured now, one of these may come at the expense of the other.

  4. The Portland TriMet problem illustrates what not to do when Metro starts talking about fare restructuring soon.

    Keep it at today’s rate of a $1.50 per ride, Metro loses money because their farebox recovery ratio is too low. It doesn’t help that we’re not even collecting fares from everyone because of high fare evasion rates either.

    Jack it up too much like $2.50 per ride with free transfers, less people will ride it and Metro loses money either way. People can find alternative means to get around. No one is going to pay $2.50 each way just to go to their neighborhood supermarket less than 5 miles away to buy milk. Not everyone has a need to go far, not everyone has a need for transfers.

    Or, Metro can do something else than this “pay the same flat rate no matter how short or far you go” system. Learn from Singapore where they mastered distance based fares on buses. Learn from Salt Lake City which recently ditched the flat rate system and is moving to distance based fares on their rails and buses as well. Pay less for traveling shorter distances, pay more when traveling longer distances. Everyone’s travel distance differs from person to person. Pay-by-the-distance, not pay-per-ride. Riders only pay what they need, nothing more, nothing less. Fair for everyone.

    Learn from other city’s mistakes like San Diego and Portland. Learn from other cities where they get transit right like Singapore and Salt Lake City.

  5. Who cares about what airlines think? The citizens of LA want a rail line to LAX and they wanted this decades ago! That’s the only thing that matters. Forget the airlines, the parking lot owners, the taxi lobbies. This is supposed to be a government that should be responsive to the needs of its citizens, not corporations and the unions!

  6. How many workers are being hired from out of state to build new lines like Crenshaw. My guess is that it is very small. I know the local politicians wanted the people hired to be just from right around the Crenshaw Line. While this sounds great, in reality it raises costs, which we don’t need. For example, what if a contractor needs to hire a specific type of welder for a job. Maybe none exist in the local area with the skills. They then have to hire someone locally anyway and train them, which is great, but adds time and a lot of expenses.