- According to the DJC and confirmed by Sound Transit, the Mountlake Terrace Station project has received nine bids, all under the engineer’s estimate. That’s one good thing about a terrible economy, especially for construction: projects are cheaper. The lowest bid was from a company called “Mid-Mountain Contractors”, who bid $17.7 million, the original estimate was $21.9 million.
- Streets blog notes that vehicle miles travelled (VMT) was down 3.6% nationwide in 2008 compared to 2007. That’s a huge decline, but even larger than that decline is the decline in congestion: about 30% nationwide and 24% in the Seattle area. You can see the actual DOT data here. I bet the majority of the fall has to do with the dramatic fall in employment, which explains why congestion has fallen faster than VMT: congestion is worst during commute trips, and commuters needs jobs to go to.
- On that same topic, Matt Yglesias believes the large reduction in congestion caused by a small reduction in trips shows that even a little congestion pricing can go a long way toward a reducing congestion. However, he goes one step farther and makes the claim that congestion pricing shouldn’t be something that drivers care more about than transit users:
I live in a walkable, transit-accessible neighborhood in a central city. I don’t own a car and get around on foot, on bike, on bus, or on Metro. Consequently, it doesn’t really bother me if other people have unnecessarily long commutes. Ultimately, neither drivers nor non-drivers benefit from bad policy that causes unnecessary traffic jams and inconvenience, but it’s regular car commuters who are paying the highest price.
I’m not sure that it’s completely correct to say that car commuters are paying the highest price. Both bus commuters and drivers are paying for congestion with their time, but congestion drives up the cost of bus service, meaning fewer buses.
- NPR’s Morning addition had a story about how Spain’s AVE high speed rail is faster than an airplane, and how Spain built the system so quickly. I wanted to write “The Trains in Spain are faster than a Plane”, but I the npr broadcaster beat me to it. (H/T to tresarboles).
This is an open thread.