COVID-19 and Metro News update: Inauguration Day edition

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office this morning and the President posted the video below this morning. Guess the rail station at the :19 second mark.

And if you missed Los Angeles’ own Amanda Gorman this morning, this is a worthy investment of a few minutes of time:

I’m not posting this to make a political statement, by the way. The above isn’t terribly partisan — more about American values that many people share.

 

•In COVID-19 news, our messaging remains the same: Metro remains here to provide essential trips. All riders are required to wear a face covering or mask with the exception of those with a medical reason.

There are signs the surge in cases in California that began accelerating in November and December is starting to plateau, reports the LAT. But that’s offset by concerns over more contagious strains of the coronavirus and the pace of vaccinations.

Southern California remains under the state’s  regional stay-at-home order because, in part, our Intensive Care Unit capacity at hospitals remains well below 15 percent.

Plenty of updates on the vaccination front from the L.A. County Department of Public Health:

In Metro news…

•After a break from the holidays, the Metro Board of Directors resumes committee meetings this afternoon and tomorrow morning with a full Board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 28. Committee agendas with links to staff reports are here if you’re in dire need of something to read.

•In transit development news:

•From Metro Art:

In the media…

Politico takes a look at President Biden’s narrow political path to persuading Congress to pass a ginormous infrastructure/transpo bill. Excerpt:

Biden’s progressive plan could find itself in the same graveyard as years of failed efforts to give infrastructure a massive cash injection. Americans and their elected officials overwhelmingly support the idea of repairing bridges, reducing traffic congestion and fixing other broken infrastructure in their communities. But the details of how to do it can be so problematic that it’s been impossible to move beyond broad talking points, giving Biden little room to execute a monumental effort while also devoting attention to a ravaging virus and a host of other first-year challenges…

The most efficient way to create new revenue, at least for things like roads and bridges, rail and transit, is to boost the federal tax on gasoline, which hasn’t been raised since 1993. But that’s also one of the most politically toxic options, perennially broached and then shoved aside as too difficult to do, even in times of prosperity and low unemployment.

Biden could decide to just fund it all by increasing the deficit, but that’s a difficult pill for fiscal hawks to swallow, and considering the razor-thin margins in Congress, any effort will have to be bipartisan enough to attract the support of at least 10 senators to avoid a filibuster.

The article also mentions another possibility: carving up a bill into smaller parts and trying to gain approval that way — i.e. some things in a stimulus bill, some in transportation bill and so on. Transit agencies would certainly like a bill that provides agencies funds to run/maintain/build systems that give people a good alternative to driving.

Over at Bloomberg’s Citylab, this article says the Biden Administration will be city friendly — and that could mean some serious budget relief to help cities cope with the ongoing pandemic and the loss of tax revenues.

Things to read whilst transiting or waiting for some semblance of normal life to resume so you can be transiting once again: Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson is one of the best books I’ve read in many years (and it’s now in paperback for fellow cheapos out there). It’s the story of a woman who finds a sense of purpose after being put in charge of twins who have a little anger management problem. Specifically, they spontaneously combust.

The crux of it, from our narrator: “How did people protect themselves? How did anyone keep this world from ruining them? I wanted to know. I wanted to know so bad.”

 

 

 

3 replies

  1. Rebuilding roads and bridges it seems in some cases is pushed just to create jobs or just to get a piece of the pie. The 405 Freeway project in West Los Angeles many years ago is a prime example. It was approximately one year after completion of the first project that the second was begun. Now one would say what is so bad about that? What was so ridicules was that many of the improvements connected with the first project were demolished a year later. Was it poor construction, no? It was because there was no coordination in the improvements with the second team having a completely different concept as to what the new 405 freeway should look like. For several years I would visit my brother in Montana and drive my RV there over much the same roads especially to return home. One section of the road was under construction every year. It seemed they kept moving the road sometimes repaved and sometimes just dirt but never was there any progress but instead just a money pit someone or some company seemed to be milking. My point is we should seek real improvements not just some fluff for politicians to gloat over as we so often see. Taxes, be they sales, fuel, property do not belong to the government, they belong to the people and the majority want to see their money well spent and not wasted on a edifice celebrating some politicians ego. So when the MTA proposes a rail project , should it go where it will serve the most people or should it be built to fulfill some politically correct ideal? Year after year we see some transit corridors improved and then upgraded while busier corridors are ignored and never considered.

  2. The station is the Allen station on the Gold Line (L). There is another official video that shows the 110-105 interchange with the Green Line station.

  3. Now that there is a Federal mask mandate on public transportation, will Metro now, finally, really, require staff and passengers to wear a mask or else?