Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 28
to an The Transit Coalition weekly
newsletter! Our organization participates in meetings with key decision makers
and community leaders and our goal is to keep you informed on the latest developments
in the transportation scene across Southern California.
Alert: The state Budget Conference Committee allotted $40 million
from the $1.1 billion Spillover towards high speed rail. Add $15.5 million from
Proposition 116 funds, and HSR received a total of $55 million. $710 million was
allotted for transit, while the remaining $551 million will go to transportation
for the disabled, Proposition 42 and debt repayment. However, the budget must
now go to the desk of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where a line-item veto remains
a threat. A recent editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle believes this
project would give a major
shine to the governor's legacy.
Please email the governor's office
and express your support for full funding of this critically important project
and the transit dollars needed to keep buses and trains moving.
yet, do any of the following:
Call Governor Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841;
Fax the Governor at 916-327-1009;
Call Senator Don Perata at 510-286-1333 or 916-651-4009;
Contact Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez at 916-319-2046 or Speaker.Nunez@assembly.ca.gov;
Contact Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman at 916-651-4033 or http://republican.sen.ca.gov /web/33/feed.asp; and/or
Get your friends and family who live in the Central Valley/Fresno area to contact
Assembly Republican Leader Michael Villines at 916-319-2029.
calling, please refer to these talking
points so that you can be prepared in providing an appropriate comment or
responding to a questionable statement.
information provided by BayRail Alliance.
Talking points provided by TRAC. Additional tools
are provided by Odyssey.)
bus drivers are on strike. A total of $700,000 in salary increases, on top of
the $18 million offered by OCTA, continues to be a major point of contention.
Talks continued well
into late Monday night, but no agreement has been reached. (Already, a similar
battle is brewing between Omintrans bus drivers and management.) As a consequence,
bus drivers shut
down 50 OCTA lines, signaling their first strike in 21 years.
strike is affecting the 225,000 riders of OCTA buses in enormous ways, with many
of them left
stranded, in more ways than one. The working
poor of Orange County, for example, are turning to bicycling or walking, while
others are soliciting rides from illegal taxi cab services, which see a boon in
business as a result of the strike. As a result, sympathy for the striking bus
thin in the impoverished community. Newport
Beach is not
immune to the repercussions, either. Yes, this promises to be a "
long, hot July" if an agreement between labor and management is not reached
If you are an Orange
County transit user, you can visit the Transit Advocates of Orange County message board,
get updates from OCTA, or call
OCTA at (714) 636-7433. For carpool info, call (800) 266-6883 or visit http://www.commutesmart.info.
For cab companies, call (949) 654-8294 or visit http://www.octap.net.
Also in Orange
County , a "quiet zone" will
its debut in Placentia
. Eight grade crossings along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway
were rebuilt to increase safety. This in turn allows freight trains to cross the
town without blowing their horns at intersections. The project comes even as the
city reels from the failed On-Trac project. In any case, residents are just relieved
that peace and quiet will come to their community soon.
Metro riders express more
resignation at increased fares. While commuter rail service from Temecula
to Corona was ruled out as financially
impractical, service from Temecula to Riverside
would still be considered. The San Bernardino Associated Governments
considered moving forward with initial
designs of a grade separation between two major freight routes that intersect
at Colton .
Oh! Don't forget that Friends4Expo, a grassroots organization
dedicated to bringing light rail to Santa
Monica , will have its annual general meeting this Thursday,
July 12. See Upcoming Events below for details. Also, take a look at this
article that appeared on The Oil Drum, which gives a comprehensive refresher
course on the many types of electric rail systems in use throughout the world.
Further north, San Francisco MUNI proves to be more
popular with tourists than with locals. Next year, BART will introduce television
monitors on trains and stations that will feature advertisements and "infotainment,"
in the same vein as TransiTV monitors on Metro buses.
Thank you for your donations! We would like to express our gratitude for your
donations, which help us prepare materials and educate elected officials, community
activists and business leaders on transportation issues. If you have not done
so yet, you can still donate and join The Transit Coalition. A monthly subscription to Moving
Southern California comes with your membership. Visit our new and improved
to explore other options. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
planning issues, the population of California
is expected to reach 60
million by 2050, according to recent statistics. Many figure that "smart
growth" will play a major role in accommodating the influx of new residents
while bringing them closer to transit. The Palmdale City Council recently
approved one of such projects near its local transportation center. El
Monte is also inching
closer to having its own transit-oriented development. By contrast, a proposed
seaside development in Long Beach
opposition because it threatens to bring traffic to an already congested area.
Los Angeles County
a new General Plan after 27 years of inactivity, which promises to focus on
preserving open space and maximizing the potential of existing infrastructure.
A draft of the plan is now available
1358, currently at a state Senate committee, aims to promote "
complete streets," a concept where roads are designed to accommodate
multiple uses, including bicycling, transit, while making roads safer and more
attractive to pedestrians. In similar news, a housing development in Redding
moves forward without
a proposed trail, which was axed because of concerns it would attract transients.
Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald provided a diatribe
stating that 80% of vehicles in carpool lanes carry families who would have technically
been carpooling anyway. Dismissing the lanes as a failure, Mac Donald proposes
converting them to HOT (high-occupancy toll) lanes where employers subsidize the
carpoolers while others, including families, pay for their direct use. The op-ed
comes on the heels of a decision by Metro to study
toll lanes, after losing out on a major federal grant, while New
York City may actually lose
theirs if their state legislature does not sign off on their proposal. Subsequent
to the editor faulted Mac Donald on various points.
and elected officials tonight will hear
an update on bringing the 710 Freeway under their community via a tunnel.
The Pasadena Star News applauded
grassroots efforts to educate drivers on safe road practices. Nationally, roads
are in a major
state of disrepair, and states are trying to find ways to fund improvements
in light of increased materials costs.
Regarding airports, Orange
County supervisors were taken aback
when the price to upgrade their John
to $570 million, an increase of $135 million from original estimates. To the
south, San Diego airport
a cap on perks for incoming executives, though state Senator Christine Kehoe
(D-San Diego) would rather see an independent oversight committee that would monitor
expenses. To the north, Redding officials want
air passengers to use their airport instead driving 70 miles to Chico
, which offers cheaper flights.
The Los Angeles City Council
may vote for an amendment of a bill by state Senator Alan Lowenthal that would
charge a container fee at the ports to fund environmental mitigation if enacted.
Under the amendment, funds from the fee would be used to replace the Gerald Desmond
Bridge in Long Beach and provide various pollution loopholes for the ports should
they fail to comply with environmental standards. This did not sit well with the
LB Report, which editorialized
their discontent. An op-ed
discussing the matter suggests that the bill be stopped quickly.
container traffic at the ports is expected to reach all-time
highs this summer. Ready to take the challenge is port short-line railroad
Pacific Harbor Line, which recently introduced a new
locomotive that employs ultra-low sulfur diesel, burns 30% less fuel and significantly
cuts emissions. Also, Los Angeles City Councilmember Janice Hahn is spearheading
efforts to remove
restrictions on port funds and property to preserve open space while providing
Considerable Congressional action on Amtrak funding
will take place this week. The National Association of Railroad Passengers asks
you to contact
your Representatives and express your support for full funding of Amtrak.
The third in a series of four Amtrak hearings by the Railroads Subcommittee of
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will be Wednesday at 10:00
a.m., titled "Amtrak's Capital Funding Needs." ( Webcast.) The
entire House Appropriations Committee will meet Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. to discuss
the Amtrak appropriation. ( Webcast.) Previously,
the House subcommittee approved $1.45 billion on June 11). Then, the entire Senate
Appropriations committee will meet Thursday at 2:00 p.m.
In the meantime,
Amtrak California Zephyr passengers are trying
to cope with delays as a result of track work performed by host railroad Union
the nation lags behind other countries in building HSR, a consortium of European
rail operators introduced a new service that intends to directly
compete with airlines. Mainly, existing but disparate HSR networks will introduce
tighter and more convenient scheduling for easier transfers between services.
Better yet, those wishing to use the trains can purchase tickets at just
one website, railteam.eu.
efforts to bring high speed rail to the Midwest
continue. Indiana is
poised to receive funds to introduce
higher-speed rail (with speeds reaching 110 mph) should the above-mentioned
federal legislation move forward. One major candidate is a route connecting Chicago
with Indianapolis and Cincinnati
. However, even though it has more federally designated corridors for
high-speed trains than any other state, the Hoosier
State has not done an environmental
impact study. Meanwhile, Gary
, Indiana , advocates are asking
the business community to fund a study outlining the benefits
of high-speed rail in their area.
, a railroad entrepreneur decided to close
its operations after nine years of service and improvements. According to
owner Henry Posner III, the government of the Central American nation failed to
contribute $3 million as promised for track improvement and did not keep profitable
rail routes clear of squatters. Posner was the subject of a Los Angeles Times
that delved into the challenges of running a railroad in a developing country.
Shameless Plug : The Thunderhead Alliance
is an organization dedicated to providing bicycle and pedestrian advocates the
tools necessary to carry out and win campaigns. The Thunderhead
Training seminar, an intense curriculum on how to effectively fight for improvements,
is coming to Los Angeles
on August 24-26. Here, you can learn from expert coaches and each
other through Thunderhead's proven curriculum on choosing, directing, and winning
campaigns and to promote complete streets, where walking and bicycling are safe
and commonplace. You can view
the schedule or register
for the event (the latter form features registration fee information).
Here is a list of other recent developments:
3 : The Los Angeles City
Council unanimously voted to endorse state legislation to create a Green Line
Construction Authority. The bill, which was introduced by Assemblymember Ted Lieu
(D-Torrance) and Senator Jenny Oropeza (D-Carson), will establish a new public
agency to oversee the design and construction contracts to complete a new leg
of the Metro Green Line. Transit Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern was instrumental
in educating officials on the merits of the project, including Councilmember Bill
Rosendahl, who introduced the motion.
9 : Ford Motor Company and Southern California Edison
announced a partnership that would test plug-in
hybrids. These vehicles would be able to recharge overnight and run mostly
on electricity, thus significantly reducing emissions and increasing gas mileage.
Experts estimate that these vehicles probably won't come to the market until the
end of the decade at the earliest.
: Amtrak Guest Rewards and Chase Bank are now accepting
pre-registrations for the new Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card. Go to the Amtrak
Guest Rewards website http://www.amtrakguestrewards.com/
to register (click on the link on the left side). You will receive a notice once
Chase bank is ready to begin taking applications. Once your application is approved
and you activate the card, you will receive 5,000 bonus Guest Rewards points.
Chase is planning to begin accepting and processing applications on September
Upcoming Events :
Westside/Central Governance Council : Wednesday, July 11, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
Gateway Cities Governance Council : Thursday, July 12, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
nnual General Meeting : Thursday, July
12 , 2007, 7 p.m., Hamilton High
School cafeteria, 2955
S. Robertson Blvd. , Los Angeles
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, July 13, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
SCRRA (Metrolink) Committee Meetings: Friday,
July 13, 10 a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700
S. Flower St. , 26th floor, Los
Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday,
July 14, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, July 18 and Thursday, July 19, Board Room,
Metro Headquarters, One Gateway
Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, July 18, 1 p.m.
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, July 18, 2:30 p.m.
Management and Audit Committee, Thursday, July 19, 9 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, July 19, 10:30 a.m.
Committee, Thursday, July 19, 12 noon.
onsider attending our monthly Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, July 24
- 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original,
1001 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles CA
90012 . ( Map.)
We hope to see you there!
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, August 9, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Angeles . July meeting cancelled.
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