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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit            January 21, 2015





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Expanding Amtrak cheaper than other subsidies
The Gazette
In a Dec. 17 Gazette article on the costs of subsidizing six smaller regional airports in Iowa, it was noted that $10.9 million in federal subsidies per year are currently provided to keep these airports functioning. At the same time, the Iowa Department of Transportation is seeking to expand a total of 170 miles of interstate highway at a cost of approximately $1 billion dollars, with a cost of between $5 million to $10 million per mile for the entire process. Meanwhile, Governor Branstad continues to oppose the expansion of Amtrak, initially from the Quad Cities to Iowa City, and then on to Des Moines and eventually to Omaha.
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Commentary: Costly high-speed rail not good for California or San Diego
The San Diego Union-Tribune
According to author W. Mark Leslie: It is our job, at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, to ensure our tax dollars are spent efficiently and to improve our quality of life, so we were outraged when high-speed rail broke ground last week in California. No one seems to be against high-speed rail in principal. When the San Diego Foundation asked in 2012 if high-speed rail should be built "to connect San Diego to Los Angeles and other major cities in California," San Diegans said yes by a 4-1 margin. When you omit the price tag, of course the answer is, why not?
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Amtrak's 'Empire Builder' back on schedule
KFYR-TV
Amtrak says it's "Empire Builder" schedule is back in business. The company announced that the Empire Builder has returned to its regular schedule in North Dakota, with stops at Minot, Rugby, Williston and other locations. The schedule changed last year to allow BNSF to put a billion dollars into railway improvements. Now, officials say the brunt of the work is behind them.
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Group meets to assure local input on Maryland Amtrak project
Cecil Whig
After meeting for about six months, the members of the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project Advisory Board are making progress in their effort to provide real input and direction for a proposed new Amtrak bridge. Volney Ford, owner of Multi Tech Construction Corporation, is the chair of this eight-person steering committee formed by the Havre de Grace mayor and city council. While most of the board represents Havre de Grace interests, Perryville also has a seat at the table.
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Shhh! NJ Transit expands quiet cars to all train lines
NJ.com
NJ Transit riders who want a break from loud talkers, cell phone yappers and other noise will find refuge starting soon as the agency expands its Quiet Commute program to more trains. NJ Transit's popular Quiet Commute program is being expanded across the rail system between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, on trains departing from its major terminals in New York and New Jersey. We heard from our customers that they want to enjoy the benefits of Quiet Commute cars on more of our trains," said Veronique Hakim, NJ Transit Executive Director.
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Mayor Lee gets on board with proposal for 2nd BART tube
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has thrown his support behind building a second transbay BART tube, an expensive proposal that analysts say is critical to meeting the Bay Area's transit demand and providing round-the-clock service. Lee, in documents released after his State of the City address, said he will "begin a regional conversation with my fellow mayors in the East Bay, Supervisor Scott Wiener and the BART Board about a second BART tube from Mission Bay to the East Bay."
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Western Massachusetts lawmakers want to study Boston to Springfield high-speed rail
The Republican
A coalition of lawmakers from Western Massachusetts is pushing for a study of the feasibility of expanded Boston to Springfield high-speed rail. A bill sponsored by newly elected state Sen. Eric Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat, would require the Department of Transportation to submit a report by Aug. 1, 2015, that includes "an examination and evaluation of the costs and economic, social and cultural benefits" to the Greater Springfield region and the state, according to a bill summary.
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New York shrine to saint complicates Amtrak station plan
The Record
One thing that may stand between New Jersey commuters and a faster trip to New York is a bloody sock. The sock and a bloody mitten are holy relics once worn by Padre Pio, a Catholic saint. They sit in a gilded shrine inside historic St. John the Baptist Church on the same block as the last piece of the original Penn Station. Leaders at Amtrak hope to demolish the entire block to build a new rail station for New Jersey commuters called Penn South, across 31st Street from Penn Station.
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High-speed rail to the airport? Nope.This is Texas, not Europe
Dallas Business Journal
Connecting downtown Dallas to downtown Houston with a 200 mph bullet train will no doubt revolutionize travel in Texas. But not everyone agrees that downtown is the way to go. Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst based in San Francisco, said a direct high-speed rail connection to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston would be much better for travelers.
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Passenger rail between Texas towns finally moving forward
WOAI-TV
After a decade of planning, the long awaited effort to build a commuter rail link between Texas A&M San Antonio and Georgetown, north of Austin, will take its first public step tonight with the first of several public hearings at the Carver Center on San Antonio's east side, News Radio 120 WOAI reports. Tullos Wells, a prominent local attorney and the vice chairman of the Lone Star Rail District, says the purpose of the two billion dollar project is multi-faceted.
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FRA publishes highway-rail crossing inventory reporting rule
Progressive Railroading
Earlier this month, the Federal Railroad Administration published the final National Highway-Rail Crossing Inventory Reporting Requirements rule. A response to a Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 mandate, the regulation requires railroads to submit information to the crossing inventory for previously unreported highway-rail and pathway crossings and newly established crossings. Railroads also must update the inventory at least every three years.
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VIA Rail's ambitious new CEO
RailwayAge
Ever since Canada's state rescue of passenger trains in 1977, VIA Rail has depended on the government of the day to spackle the gaps between revenues and operating costs. Allocations for fleet renewal and infrastructure have been meted out only grudgingly. The result, 37 years later, is a spinal cord of daily intercity services in the two central provinces of Quebec and Ontario, with thin microfilaments extending to each of Canada's three ocean coasts — nearly all of it on track owned and dispatched by CN.
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Texas community pushes to get Houston-Dallas high-speed rail route
KTRK-TV
High-speed rail has a lot of people in Texas saying "not in my backyard." But the one community pushing hardest for rail may be least likely to go get it. More than five routes into the Houston area are being discussed, but the ones at the top of the list bypass The Woodlands. Rachel Leuck spends eight or more hours every week driving from her home in The Woodlands to her office in Dallas and back. "I dread it. It's awful actually," Leuck sighs. "Let me say my Hail Marys and please Jesus let me arrive in one piece!"
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Without a viable funding plan, Californian high-speed rail goes off tracks
Sacramento Bee
"I wasn't sure where we were going to get the rest of the money. Don't worry about it. We are going to get it." Gov. Jerry Brown's words at the groundbreaking ceremony this month for the California High-Speed Rail Authority tell us a great deal about the viability of our state's plans. If you follow the governor's line of thinking — "don't worry about it" — you might manage to forget the tens of billions of dollars the authority needs to generate to come anywhere close to financing its proposal.
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Elon Musk plans to build Hyperloop test track
CNET
Billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk is getting more hands-on with the Hyperloop. Musk, who heads up both space transportation outfit SpaceX and electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors, casually announced via Twitter that he's decided to help accelerate development of his vision for near-supersonic tube transportation, first outlined in August 2013. Musk said he will build a five-mile test track for the still-theoretical system for students and companies to use. A possible location would be Texas, he added, where presumably there is plenty of flat land to go around.
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