Today’s Headlines

  • With GM Bankruptcy Official, Obama Admin Has to Restructure the Company (NYT, WSJ, Grist)
  • Michael Moore: Make GM a Manufacturing Powerhouse for Rail and Transit
  • Would That Work? (Orphan Road via Streetsblog.net)
  • For Albany’s Consideration: Bills About Complete Streets and Careless Driving (MTR)
  • Why the Feds Should Start Funding Transit Service Again (Nat Journal)
  • MTA Seems Ready to Give Bruce Ratner an Even Sweeter Deal on Atlantic Yards Site (Bklyn Paper)
  • Finding a Legal Parking Spot in Queens? There’s an App for That (News)
  • Transport Politic: MTA Shouldn’t Waste Money on Transit Link to Stewart Airport
  • Mall Industry Keeps Coming Up With Car-Dependent Retail Concepts (Allison Arieff)
  • $68M in Stim Funds Get Plowed Into Widening I-91 in the OC (Streetsblog LA)
  • Glenn

    About re-tooling the auto industry. Instead of just dumping money on a company, the government should create markets through long term contracts. If the government said they wanted to buy X thousand wind turbines or transit rail cars or whatever over X number of years and put out a long term contract for bid it would greatly increase interest in getting into those business. It could even specify that it will have a range of vendors for each product to ensure redundancy. Having a few highly standarized green products would also greatly drive down the fixed costs of design, development and testing. Each vendor could then build off that base to create more customized products for the private sector.

    All the government needs to do is issue a RFP and work out a financing plan. It would cost a fraction of the amount that we are using to prop these companies up with.

  • vnm

    Here’s a fun one regarding Plaxico Burress’ Florida traffic violations:

    speeding, … charges dropped
    changing lanes in an unsafe manner … charges dropped
    having improperly tinted windows … charges dropped
    improperly displaying a car tag … charges dropped

  • That’s California State Route 91. I-91 runs from New Haven to Derby, VT on the Canadian border.

  • Cap’n Transit: That I-91 confused me too.

    How much would a train-manufacturing powerhouse in Detroit help? We get pretty good trains from Kawasaki, Bombardier etc now. The really hard and expensive part about building transit lines, as I understand it, is clearing the rights of way. GM can’t really help with that.

    Am I wrong? Would we save a lot of money on rolling stock? Would the GM trains run for more than 2 years unlike their cars?

  • Ian Turner

    That iPhone app also includes the bike rack database, FWIW.

  • “Would we save a lot of money on rolling stock?”

    Not if the unions get sweetheart deals like the ones that bankrupted GM.

  • gecko

    All too often conventional mass transit serves as just another place that people have to get to and from without suitable transportation.

    Bike Rapid Transit (BRT) makes the best economic sense and is a lot more practical than both bus and train travel which are essentially expensive large vehicle transit (ELVT).

  • From Conan O’Brien’s opening monologue on the ravamped Tonight Show, as quoted in the Times: “I have to admit I think I’ve timed this moment perfectly. Think about it: I’m on a last-place network; I moved to state that’s bankrupt; and tonight’s show is sponsored by General Motors.”

    Michael Moore’s got it right. The build-out of the national rail system should be placed on a war footing. The taxpayers need to know that this is not a special subsidy for already rail-equipped regions but something we need to do for the benefit of the country as a whole. The next chapter of the peak oil crisis will drive the message home by suddenly exposing vast swaths of the country, especially the west and the south, as unsustainable. I hope we don’t wait till then to act.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I have to admit I think I’ve timed this moment perfectly. Think about it: I’m on a last-place network; I moved to state that’s bankrupt; and tonight’s show is sponsored by General Motors.”

    He also moved from a state that’s bankrupt, passing over lots of bankrupt states in between. Many people in them are also bankrupt.

    I assume he is doing well, but the way things are going, who knows?

  • Well the corporation formerly known as GM is going to have to find something to sell. Gas prices went up, and vehicle sales and miles traveled fell. Then gas prices went back down and… people still drove less. When the economy starts to recover, it’ll probably cause gas prices to rise again. The US demand for cars might have hit its peak (and let’s hope it has).

    But, like digamma, I’m skeptical about this plan to build rolling stock. We need to be digging tunnels, building rights of way, and establishing revenue sources. And I wouldn’t want us to end up with a slower rail system just because we want to save GM. But if it’s part of an overall commitment to rail, as Moore is clearly suggesting, I’ll take it.

  • Am I wrong? Would we save a lot of money on rolling stock? Would the GM trains run for more than 2 years unlike their cars?

    At the very least, as long as the FRA keeps their near-impossible crash test requirement, there’s a strong market for diesel multiple-unit cars that meet those requirements.