Today’s Headlines

  • Record Holiday Travel Expected as Oil Nears $100 a Barrel (NYT)
  • Airport Congestion Stymies All (NYT)
  • US Transpo Contingency Plan: ‘Fend for Yourself’ (NARP
  • Straphangers, Officials Skeptical of Spitzer Fare Freeze (NYT, Sun)
  • As Is the Post; But Not Sports Guy Mike Lupica or the Daily News
  • Aging Subways Sag Under Weight of Increased Ridership (AP)
  • High Speed Rail Line is Sabotaged in France (NYT)
  • Most Witnesses at Hearings Favored Congestion Pricing (TSTC)
  • ‘Inevitable’ Washington State Tolls to Pay for Transit (Crosscut
  • DUI Driver Hits Boy; ‘Not Likely to Face Criminal Charges’ If Child Dies (Post, NYT)
  • vnm

    re: airport congestion

    “Compared with the last fiscal year, there were nearly four times as many ground delays, which occur when air traffic controllers limit inbound flights during inclement weather. … planes from cities like Boston and Buffalo must wait, sometimes for hours, before they can depart for New York.”

    This is why rail is the logical option for traveling within the northeast region. Amtrak has two round-trips per day to Buffalo, probably about 20 to Boston. Most air travelers seem to have forgotten that there is any way to travel besides flying. They should be reminded somehow.

  • Larry Littlefield

    According to the AP article one-third of revenues in Boston go for debt service. Pensions and retiree health care are in addition to that.

    They can provide transit service with anything that is left.

    And service cutbacks don’t mean pension, debt service and retiree health care cutbacks, so their share just grows.

    This is what our “leaders” have planned for us. This is perhaps what we want, because it provides benefits for the present (increasingly the past) and hurts the future (increasingly the present) which no one cares about.

    Especially if given studies of all the wonderful things that are promised, but will not come due to “situations beyond our control.”

    The MTA listed debt service as an “uncontrollable” expense. Well, is the interest on the money borrowed for the last two years of the 2005 to 2009 capital plan “uncontrollable?” Or are we not suppposed to talk about that until it is.

    What if we don’t pay it back. Just a thought.

  • Pop

    Brad, worth mention that NYC population is a record 8.25 million. (As of July 06) That is 36,141 more than had been originally counted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the rest of the state lost population from 2005 to 2006.
    http://www.nysun.com/article/66798/

  • Jonathan

    vnm, I’m sure most people whose travel plans include Buffalo and the West New York area are well aware that Amtrak takes eight hours to get there from NYC, if the train remains on schedule (never certain). JetBlue costs about $110 including taxes; Amtrak costs $75. JetBlue gets you there in less than 90 minutes. Add in all the time you want at the airport and you’re still getting there faster. Plus Amtrak doesn’t have movies at its seats.

    “They should be reminded somehow.” Reminding them, I believe, would only bring up bad memories of the days before JetBlue.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    This is why rail is the logical option for traveling within the northeast region.

    It is, most of the time. But when I was making my holiday travel plans, there weren’t enough seats for the three of us on the shuttle from New Haven to Hartford.

    It’s partly my fault, because I left it until a week in advance. And it has a happy ending because I just checked again and there are now seats for us – thanks for reminding me, Vnm! But that train hardly ever has more than two coaches, even on holiday weekends. If Amtrak could add a few cars, they wouldn’t have to turn people away.

    “They should be reminded somehow.” Reminding them, I believe, would only bring up bad memories of the days before JetBlue.

    My bad memories are of the lengths that Chuck Schumer went to help JetBlue get up and running.

    The problem with Amtrak in Western and Central New York is that most of the rails have been abandoned. This means that it’s hard for the Amtrak trains to squeeze in between the Chessie freight trains, leading to delays. There have been repeated plans to rebuild the tracks west of Albany, but they’ve stalled for lack of funding.

    If Schumer had put that same amount of effort into improving the NY Central line, how far west could the tracks have been rebuilt? Schenectady? Rome? Rochester? How many hours could have been cut off the trip to Buffalo?

    But no, instead the population of Western and Central NY is dependent on a wasteful, unsustainable, subsidized airline monopoly.

  • ddartley

    I’m contacting The Sun about the fact their headline calls the ambulette driver an “ambulance driver.” An important distinction.

  • Hilary

    What is an ambulette?

  • ddartley

    Ambulettes are pretty much private vans used by institutions for non-emergency transportation of patients, often seniors. There was a terrible incident a couple of years ago where several seniors were killed or injured because one organization had a pattern of hiring psychos to drive their ambulettes.

    Important to distinguish them from ambulance drivers. Much like the way private sanitation trucks have been involved in several bike and ped injuries fatalities in recent years, while municipal sanitation trucks during the same period were involved in few or none, I think.

  • Spud Spudly

    I used to take People’s Express to Buffalo. Nineteen bucks each way with general seating, and you paid on the plane — they would literally roll a cart down the aisle during the flight and take your money. The first airline I ever saw where they charged you for drinks. What a riot.

    Larry, want to know what happens if you don’t pay the interest on the MTA’s debts? It’s called default. And then the MTA will never be able to borrow another cent from anyone ever. Debt service is controllable — don’t borrow money. But once you’ve borrowed it and floated those bonds you’re on the hook.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Larry, want to know what happens if you don’t pay the interest on the MTA’s debts? It’s called default. And then the MTA will never be able to borrow another cent from anyone ever. Debt service is controllable — don’t borrow money.)

    Meaning, when we are so broke no one will buy the bonds, there is less of a penalty to default, because there is nothing left to lose. If we don’t stop borrowing before that point we will stop borrowing after.

  • Slopion

    vnm has a point. People hardly seem to give a thought to the amount of fuel consumption their air travel is responsible for. (I know, this is Streetsblog, not Skiesblog, but a lot of New Yorkers have a much greater carbon footprint from their air travel than from their ground travel.)