Transportation headlines, Thursday, January 23

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Record numbers riding easy on Expo Line (ZevWeb)

The Expo Line has already surpassed Metro’s ridership estimates (which tend to be on the low side) but there often remains plenty of room on trains. That may not last long — the second phase, when complete, is expected to substantially increase the number of people on board and trains may struggle to keep up. Riders interviewed said they like the convenience of the line and having the spare time to do something besides staring at the tail lights stopped in traffic ahead of them.

Airlines likely to balk at transit link (Daily Breeze) 

When LAX chief Gina Marie Lindsey said that airlines weren’t thrilled about a people mover, reporter Brian Summers decided to ask for himself. And guess what: the carriers referred him to their trade group. Excerpt:

Still, Katie Connell, a spokeswoman for Airlines 4 America, a trade group representing eight of the nation’s largest carriers — including United, American, Delta and Southwest — confirmed that airlines generally do not support large-scale ground transportation hubs.

“In order to continue providing our customers with affordable air travel, airlines must evaluate the best use of their financial resources,” Connell said in an email. “Transit links are capital intensive and divert revenues away from necessary airport projects.”

For his part, Garcetti says he wants to move forward with plans for improved mass transportation across Los Angeles, including LAX.

“I’m committed to building a transit network across our city and I strongly support rail for LAX,” he said in a statement. “In October, I met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Washington, D.C., to discuss this important project and seek funding for it, and am continuing to work to make it happen.”

Call me dumb, but I’m not sure I understand why the airlines have any say in this — nor do I understand why we care when the airlines have shown little evidence they can run their own business. Yes, the airlines are the airport’s clients, but the airport also has another important set of clients: you, the passenger, taxpayer and voter.

Don’t scrap the bullet train for the hyperloop — yet (L.A. Times)

Op-ed writer Kerry Cavanaugh says a possible state ballot measure that would block funding for the state’s high-speed rail project in favor of Elon Musk’s hyperloop proposal is misguided. Excerpt:

Look, California’s bullet train project has its problems. The cost has doubled since voters approved spending nearly $10 billion on the project in 2008, and it’s likely to take at least a decade longer to build. If it gets built. The High-Speed Rail Authority has yet to spell out how it intends to fund the first phase of the line from Merced to the San Fernando Valley.

But stopping one ambitious project for a new, more ambitious project doesn’t make sense, particularly when the new idea is half-baked. As neat as Hyperloop and ET3’s idea may be, they are just concepts. We don’t know the cost, safety or time needed to build these projects. They may not even be possible.


The ballot measure is being pursued by Rep. Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo)

The U.S. keeps predicting that we’re driving more than we actually do (Washington Post) 

Smart piece showing that government projections have been consistently wrong since the late 1990s. Why does it matter? Such predictions may drive (pun intended) policy decisions about how to spend money on transportation.

Light rail linking Twin Cities goes green in June (Star Tribune)

The line will run between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. The 11-mile line with 18 stations cost $957 million with federal funds covering half the cost. If you’ve never visited the Twin Cities, here’s a route animation:

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5 replies

  1. Gates are here to stay,

    Don’t even try to make a rebuttal to these folks. They usually end up playing you into the selective city arguments like “oh but San Diego, Berlin and Oslo (cities with barely 3 million people doesn’t use it)” like it’s a valid argument to use against the idea of gates and that the same honor system game strategy that are used in these smaller cities can be applied in a 10 million+ population megalopolis like Los Angeles.

    These people lack analytical skills. They fail to realize that Los Angeles has more in common with megalopolises like New York, London and Tokyo than the cities like San Diego, Berlin, or Oslo.

  2. ng,

    “Most systems in the world do not.”

    OH REALLY? I guess then cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Sydney, Mexico City are not “real cities” because they all use gates!

    gimme a break. The issue of turnstiles and gates are over! They are here to stay! If San Diego wants to continue losing money over rampant fare evasion, that’s their problem. LA ain’t gonna keep losing billions of dollars through fare evasion, causing to massive fare hikes!!!!

  3. You know what I do not see? Turnstiles! The whole TAP and gate locking saga has been penny wise, but pound foolish, at least in its implementation. No one mentions that San Diego’s Trolly system does not use latching fare gates. Most systems in the world do not.
    Sorry for the tangent….. Looks great in the twin cities!

  4. Those same airlines serve other major US cities where they have train transportation to and from airports. What is their problem with LAX? Why should they have a say in what is best for the area in which we live?

  5. The airlines through LAWA would pay for most of the People Mover including its operations so they do have an interest and don’t seem to be excited to pay for it.