Dept. of Holiday Gifts
Art of Transit/Art of Recent Sunsets
The quote is from Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, describing the Republican tax proposal that will likely be voted on today in the U.S. Senate. The bill, critics say, would eliminate private activity bonds that can be used to finance big transportation projects.
The bill, according to media reports, is headed toward a vote in the full Senate today. Critics also fear the loss of an alternative fuel tax credit that has saved Metro about $18 million annually and changes to the commuter tax benefit that would provide less incentives for companies to offer the benefit. That could be especially tough for those with more expensive transit options (i.e. commuter railroads such as Metrolink).
Gotham/Metropolis has flirted with charging tolls for motorists entering Manhattan (or parts of it) for years. The idea is to reduce the number of cars on city streets. Excerpt:
This time congestion pricing is back at a moment of crisis — above ground, streets are becoming increasingly snarled in large part because of the boom in ride-hailing apps, while below ground the problem is even worse as the city’s aging subway system is riddled with delays and in dire need of money. The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, faces a litany of problems, including antiquated signals and overcrowded cars, that have led to frequent breakdowns — much of it documented by smartphone-toting commuters for the world to see.
Attentive Source readers know that SCAG – the regional planning agency for the L.A. area — has been pushing congestion pricing lately as a way to reduce traffic. Thus far, there are no takers and no proposals are on the table as far as I know. The social media commentary I’ve seen from the public has been mostly negative ( in fairness, “social media commentary” and “negative” are a redundant phrase).
As I’ve said before, I think tolling a part of town here is a tough sell because you need to have really a really thorough set of transpo alternatives in place before hitting motorists with tolls big/scary enough to pry them from their cars. Downtown L.A. is moving in that direction, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet.
I do think the one place in L.A. where the region might — emphasize ‘might’ — be able to one day do congestion pricing is the LAX horseshoe. The reason: the horseshoe is often very congested and there are a variety of ways to reach the airport without driving. There will be more non-driving options when the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the airport’s people mover are completed.
Again, to emphasize: I’m just spitballing some ideas here. There is a flip side, of course: flying is already an expensive proposition and let’s face it: a lot of the traffic on the LAX horseshoe is from various shuttles circling endlessly. What do you think, folks?
About 2,100 spaces will be removed from sprawling Parking Lot C, which at $12 a day is the cheapest option for those flying out of town. The parking lot will be reconfigured as part of the work.
Officials recommend using the FlyAway bus as an alternative to driving to the airport. Another option: the Green Line and the free G shuttle from the Aviation Station.
The city of Chicago hopes to find a private firm to finance, build and operate a transit line that offers 20-minute rides O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago. CTA trains currently take about 45 minutes.
Musk, of course, has also said he would like to build a tunnel for cars along the 405 between LAX and Westwood. He has put forth a lot of ideas about transportation but none have become reality. Yet. Stay tuned.
Things to listen to whilst transiting: I listened to the new U2 album “Songs of Experience” on the Gold Line this morning and the songs are good — some are exceptional (“The Little Things That Give You Away,” “13” and “Get Out of Your Own Way”). As for the sound, maybe a little too clean — a little more crunch and grunge a la “Achtung Baby” would have been welcome. I know U2 rubs some folks the wrong way, but I like they still care enough to put out new, well crafted music four decades into their existence. iTunes/Spotify
Categories: Transportation Headlines