- Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), Chair of the House Transportation Committee, has a doozy of a transportation bill. The transit fund would shoot up to $99 billion, from $53 billion in 2005. The Bush-era FTA cost-effectiveness metrics would be revised to allow for benefits aside from reduced travel time. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! It’s far from law, but there’s tons of coverage at Streetsblog, the NYT, the transport politic, and Transportation For America. There’s also a 17-page proposal available for viewing (pdf).
- In an increasingly common refrain, however, the Obama administration is a little chilly towards pursuing major transportation reform this year.
- Portland’ s proposed streetcar extension becomes the first in the nation to get federal funding. (H/T: Gordon)
- The APTA named Thurston County’s Intercity Transit best transit system of its size in the nation. It’s in the middle of three size categories, and competed against 108 other agencies.
- Headline from Bizarro Washington: Maryland transportation board raids road fund to pay for light rail. (H/T: Yglesias)
- Seattle Mayoral candidate Norman Sigler wants to find the money to do Ballard-to-West Seattle light rail sooner. The Daily Weekly’s Damon Agnos gets Ben’s reaction.
The only thing I might have added to Ben’s comments is to point out that there are useful things to do between a study and actually building the thing. For starters, it’s fairly evident that we’ll have to tunnel under Second Avenue, and a rail-convertible bus tunnel would be a nice down payment that’s useful in the meantime, all for about $1 billion or so.
I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Sigler’s $5 billion figure, which for a total stab in the dark, is both a good guess and not as sugarcoated as most political promises.