Monday, August 27, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 35
to 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.
Like You Were There Yourself: This
Tuesday is our Transit Coalition monthly meeting. See Upcoming Events below for
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed
a budget that gave $20 million for continued study of statewide high-speed
rail. State Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) and Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San
Francisco) previously expressed fear that the governor would "blue-pencil"
the funds. Your phone calls and emails made the difference in protecting these
However, with that budget came a complete annihilation of
public transportation funds. $1.3 billion of the Spillover will be entirely
diverted to other uses. Although gubernatorial advisers say that the budget
will give $1.9 billion to transit, Los Angeles
County will lose
$336 million, which threatens completion of the Expo Line to Culver
City . Even small
but rewarding freeway projects like ramp improvements on the 10 Freeway in
West Covina may
never happen. The San Francisco Bay Area was
also hard hit, with agencies losing a combined total of $75 million this year.
Oh yes, as this Los Angeles Daily News editorial
put it, the voting and tax-paying public has been soundly fleeced.
so, Orange County Transportation Authority director Jerry Amante seems rabidly
ecstatic with the development. In his Orange County Register op-ed,
Amante claims that the focus on transit has created a traffic problem in Los
Angeles , whereas Orange
County focused on highway
expansion that yielded results. Amante uses this point to support construction
of the San Onofre Toll Road
, which many groups are fighting for one reason or another.
However, one group of motorized travel enthusiasts will get a break with the budget:
Yachts, planes and RVs can once again avoid
paying sales tax if owners keep the vehicles out of the state for just 90
days after purchase. State lawmakers closed the loophole in 2004 by requiring
state residents to keep the vehicles out of the state for a year to receive a
sales tax exemption. This resulted in a revenue boost of $45 million to the state
each year since 2004.
This week, Metro will introduce a 65-foot-long
articulated bus on the Orange Line busway as a pilot project. The buses are
so large, Metro had to get an exemption from Caltrans to operate them, since state
law limits bus length to 60 feet. The current fleet of artics, now totaling 10%
of the Metro fleet, can each hold 84 people, while the larger bus can hold as
many as 100.
fight for commuter rail service between Santa Barbara
and Ventura Counties
continues. Advocates are grappling with daunting challenges, including
political indifference, insufficient funds and a hostile attitude from Union Pacific,
which owns the coast railway. Nevertheless, the Santa Barbara City Council outlined
a plan that would urge improvements on existing passenger rail service on the
Starlight and Pacific Surfliner, while also adjusting
their schedules to better suit commuting needs.
Even as Los
Angeles wallows through transit inertia, Shanghai
what could very well be the largest subway system in the world. The city is on
a mad dash to build as much subway as possible, particularly before the arrival
of the World Expo in 2010. Thanks largely to a rigid, top-down government and
a booming economy, Shanghai faces none of the
financial and political obstacles that most projects in the U.S.
must contend with.
recently launched inter-island
ferry service. The Superferry can carry as many as 500 passengers and 150
vehicles. However, the service did not go through an environmental study, and
environmentalists are concerned that the ferry could injure marine wildlife and
induce animal migration to sensitive areas. Three groups have filed a lawsuit
that may bar the ferry while proper environmental studies are conducted. Even
jumped in on the action by blocking access to a harbor during the ferry's
Meanwhile, columnist Steve Hymon compares population densities
between Los Angeles and New
York City , using the data to dismiss
assertions that the City of Angels
is being "Manhattanized". Hymon also noted that while 10%
of workers in L.A. took mass transit to their
jobs and 66% drove alone, 53% of New
York workers took mass transit and 25% drove alone.
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.
using hybrid decals to use the carpool lanes should rightly
panic when these are stolen from their cars. According to anecdotes in the
San Jose Mercury News, the Department of Motor Vehicles now requires a
copy of the police report and the return of all remaining carpool stickers before
they provide replacements. However, the rule punishes drivers doing mere body
work on a car that would obviate new decals.
With another near collision
taking place in LAX two weeks ago, the Federal Aviation Administration urged airport
leaders to start work on widening
the northern runways. FAA chief Marion Blakey bluntly stated that said runways
must be moved
farther apart before a similar event happens again. Community members see
the complaint as an attempt to undermine
and eventually unravel a compromise between the airport and local interests
to cap expansion. In other news, a federal grant will help families in Lennox
and Hawthorne soundproof
their homes from the din of approaching aircraft.
Thanks to air travel
woes, which are becoming the norm these days, Amtrak is experiencing a
surge in passengers. Even as trains experience delays of their own, ridership
increased 6% across the system this year, with ridership on the Acela service
in the northeast surging 20% in the last 10 months. Ironically, some aviation
executives see this as a reason to expand intercity rail so that trains can relieve
passenger burden and runways at airports.
In other news, A VC Reporter
refrains from celebrating the new 101 Freeway bridge over the Santa
Clara River , warning
that far more bridges in California
must be repaired. A recent report revealed that Portland
residents drive fewer miles and, as a result, collectively save
$2.6 billion a year.
Knocks : Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, which serves
the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, hired David Armijo as its new
executive director. Armijo oversaw about 670 buses and 1,500 employees for
Metro before becoming chief of toll operations in Orange
County . The Transit Coalition
wishes him the best in his new endeavor.
Here is a list of other recent
Bernardino County reached
a legal settlement with state Attorney General Jerry Brown that will force
the county to measure how much it contributes to global warming and set targets
to begin cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in the next 2 1/2 years. Counties
across California are
similarly adapting to the new planning requirements, which focus on how sprawl
and building design contribute to climate change.
Transit Coalition Executive
Director Bart Reed and Vice President Jerard Wright attended the public hearing
on the Sepulveda Pass Project, which aims to install carpool lanes on the northbound
405 Freeway between Westwood and Sherman Oaks. Thunderhead Alliance
"Complete Streets" Campaign Coach Dominic Liberatore also attended the
August 23 : Terminal operator TraPac announced
that three of its shipping customers will move its operations from the west basin
of the Port of Los
Angeles to another terminal in the Port
of Long Beach . Shippers
cited a lack of progress in expanding the terminal as reason to move out. However,
such expansion tends to take years due to pollution and traffic concerns that
must be investigated. The Los Angeles
port responded that it was moving as fast as possible with an expansion
study, which could come before the Board of Harbor Commissioners by the end of
The Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Board voted to hire
Dorothy Dugger as the new
general manager of the transit agency. Dugger, 54, has worked at BART since
September 1992 and served as deputy general manager since 1994. Former general
manager Thomas Margro stepped down after nearly 11 years in the top post to head
's toll road system.
25 and 26 : Transit Coalition Communications Director Numan
Parada took part in the Thunderhead Alliance training seminar, where attendees
learn how to set up campaigns and use them as a tool to raise funds and advance
your organization. Activities included determining which elected officials can
directly change policy, noting organization strengths and weaknesses, setting
up tactics to mobilize the citizenry, establishing a timeline that features milestones
and goals, and preparing a budget that relies on income from member donors, grants
: C onsider attending
our monthly Transit Coalition
Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, August
28 - 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!
San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, September 5, 6:30 p.m.,
, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
, Van Nuys.
Exposition Metro Line Construction
Authority : Thursday, September
6, 2:30 p.m., Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing
Room 381B, 500 W. Temple St.
, Los Angeles .
Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, September
6, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435
Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320 , Los Angeles
County Transportation Authority Board Meeting: Monday, September 10 and 24,
9 a.m., Board Hearing Room, 600
Main St. , Orange .
San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Monday, September 10 , 5 p.m., 3369
Santa Anita Ave. (near El Monte
bus station), El Monte
Westside/Central Governance Council : Wednesday, September 12, 5 p.m., La Cienega
, Sunset Room, 325
S. La Cienega Blvd. , Beverly Hills
SCAG MagLev Task Force:
Thursday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818
W. Seventh St. , 12th floor, Los
Gateway Cities Governance Council : Thursday, September 13, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240
Firestone Blvd. , Downey .
South Bay Governance Council: Friday, September 14, 9.30 a.m., Carson
Community Center , 801
E. Carson St. , Carson .
Committee Meetings: Friday, September 14 , 10
a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower
St. , 26th floor, Los
Transit Advocates: Saturday, September 15, 1 p.m., Angelus
Plaza , Rm. 422, 255
S. Hill St. , Los Angeles .
SCAG Goods Movement
Task Force: Wednesday, September 19, 9 a.m., SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh
St., 12th floor, Los Angeles
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