Transportation headlines, Friday, June 13

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Metro is running longer trains than usual this evening to serve those headed downtown to attend or watch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and the Rangers and the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game. If the Kings win tonight, the Stanley Cup sticks around Southern California for an extended stay. If not, the Cup catches a flight back to New York for Game 6 on Monday night. That is not a highly desirable proposition 🙂

Editorial: Bullet train scam is a bad budget deal (Oakland Tribune)

“Scam” is a pretty strong word, but the Trib’s editorial board doesn’t like the budget deal that would allocate 25 percent of the state’s future cap-and-trade revenues to the high-speed rail program. Their big beef: they don’t believe the bullet train would help cut California greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as is the goal. Excerpt:

Even the most starry-eyed believers in the bullet train would not claim it’ll be running in six years, let alone producing cost-effective environmental gains. Using cap-and-trade revenues for this purpose is legally questionable at best. Critics from the start said the revenue would just become a slush fund, and Brown wants to prove them right.

The Legislature should set rigorous, performance-based standards for the use of cap-and-trade dollars to achieve the goal by 2020. Fortunately, there are plenty of feasible projects that would, for example, increase affordable housing near employment centers to cut long commutes and expand cities’ public transit. Both could swiftly produce gains.

The budget deal reportedly would send only 15 percent of the cap-and-trade money to local transportation projects, 20 percent to affordable housing and the remaining 40 percent to a combination of energy and natural resources projects. All of these could pay off by 2020.

Actually, even getting local transit projects that aren’t funded built by 2020 is probably a stretch given the time it takes to do environmental studies, planning and construction these days. That said, this editorial hits a good public policy question: is money better spent on connecting cities by rail or on rail projects that serve daily commuters?

New CicLAvias to hit the road (ZevWeb)

A look at Metro’s Open Streets grant program to help cities in Los Angeles County cover the expense of CicLAvia-type events. Applications have been turned into Metro and, ZevWeb reports, events in the next couple of years are planned for Santa Monica, Long Beach, Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.

BART sets fare at $6 for new airport connector service (

The BART Board voted to impose $6 fares on the new airport train connecting BART to the airport terminals. It was the most expensive of the options considered. Officials say they may offer promotional fares. BART projects that about 3,200 people each day will use the service at about a $5 million annual loss to the agency.

The ridiculous politics that slow down America’s best BRT project (Streetsblog USA) 

The 7.1-mile Healthline in Cleveland takes about 44 minutes to cover that distance despite being called bus rapid transit. Why? Poor signal timing overseen by the city of Cleveland. It’s proven to be a popular bus route but is only marginally faster than the route it replaced.

Brazil averts transit strike on eve of World Cup (Associated Press) 

Union officials got cold feet, saying they may not be ready for a confrontation with police.

How airlines are sticking it to travelers, in six charts (Atlantic CityLab) 

No news here if you’ve been flogged by the airline industry recently. I recently paid United Airlines $25 to keep my bag at LAX while I flew to Cincinnati — after checking in curb-side 75 minutes before my flight. To United’s credit, they refunded me the 25 clams after it took 24-plus hours for my bag to catch up with me.


9 replies

  1. to Cynical Angeleno: I guess you don’t travel much to the Bay Area from LAX. I do twice a year. Last trip up, there was a 3.5 hour delay. On the way back, 2.5 hour delay. That’s on top of the two hours they tell you to get there before your flight. And those wasted hours are not very relaxing. What’s increasingly outdated is air travel between population centers that would be well-served by rail, a technology which is constantly improving. (So glad I got that off my chest!)

  2. Just kill the HSR boondoggle. If anyone wants to go from LA to SF, there’s the airplane for that. Why do we need to spend billions on outdated technology?

  3. By calling for new legislation to “set rigorous, performance-based standards” for the use of cap-and-trade dollars to reduce emissions by 2020, the article calls into question its own assertion that such use of these dollars for HSR “is legally questionable at best.” Just saying.

  4. Steve,

    You should consider getting yourself a United Mileage Plus credit card. You earn frequent flyer miles whenever you use it and cardholders get one free checked bag and you also get priority boarding.

    • Hey Paul;

      I did sign up for Mileage Plus! Didn’t realize it included the checked bag next time I have to fly. Thanks for heads up! 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. Your funny Steve. You question the public policy implications of High Speed Rail and if it’s worth it and then close your post with an article about “How airlines are sticking it to travelers, in six charts”. Very funny.

    By the way, LAX is expecting to have a record number of passengers this year

  6. Let’s see the last time Hearst’s Oakland Tribune was for something it was the Iraq War or was it the Spanish American War? Brown’s Bullet Train’s a’coming–50 years late–so lead, follow or get out of the way. With apologies to Thomas Paine

  7. Metro is Not Running Longer Trains, They are just not Cutting cars from trains tonight all train will stay 3-Car trains rather than switcching over to 2-Car trains after 8:00pm

    • Or, to put it another way, running longer trains than usual in the evening.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source