transportation

  Janette Sadik-Khan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on transportation and urban transformation. During her time as New York City’s Transportation Commissioner from 2007 to 2013, under former mayor Michael Bloomberg, Janette Sadik-Khan transformed the streets of one of the world’s toughest cities into dynamic spaces that are safe for pedestrians and bikers. Now a principal with Bloomberg Associates, Sadik-Khan works with mayors around the world to reimagine and redesign their cities.

In Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, Sadik-Khan provides a roadmap for rethinking, reinvigorating, and redesigning city streets across the country to function better for the people and communities that use them. The book was co-authored by Seth Solomonow who joins us along with Janette Sakid-Khan.

  Physical infrastructure in the United States is crumbling. The American Society of Civil Engineers has, in its latest report, given American roads and bridges a grade of D and C+, respectively, and has described roughly sixty-five thousand bridges in the United States as "structurally deficient." This crisis shows little sign of abating short of a massive change in attitude amongst politicians and the American public.

In The Road Taken, historian Henry Petroski explores our core infrastructure from historical and contemporary perspectives and explains how essential their maintenance is to America's economic health. Recounting the long history behind America's highway system, Petroski reveals the genesis of our interstate numbering system (even roads go east-west, odd go north-south), the inspiration behind the center line that has divided roads for decades, and the creation of such taken-for-granted objects as guardrails, stop signs, and traffic lights--all crucial parts of our national and local infrastructure.

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University.

Congressman Joe Courtney
http://courtney.house.gov/biography/

  How safe is that four-lane highway you take to work? 

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut representative Joe Courtney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about the recently passed transportation bill.

mayors sign transportation agreement
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A delegation from a Montreal suburb got a look at the transportation manufacturing sector in Plattsburgh Monday and the mayors signed a mutual cooperation agreement.

  Experts say our railways are not as safe as they should be.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Representative Elizabeth Esty tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that progress has been slow.

  By and large, the nation’s roads and bridges are in bad shape.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Representative Elizabeth Esty tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that infrastructure spending is a wise investment in America.

Senator Charles Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer says he's trying again with legislation to require car rental companies to fix vehicles subject to a manufacturer's recall before handing them over to customers.

Pixabay/Public Domain

Among the key bills the new Congress will consider is transportation and infrastructure funding. It will also review the Highway Trust Fund, due to become insolvent at the end of May.  Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was among governors testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today about state-level transportation funding concerns.

Wikimedia Commons/Ildar Sagdejev

This week, the Cuomo administration announced $4.3 million in grants for projects that would reduce the environmental impact of transportation in New York.

The 17 awards, administered through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority – or NYSERDA – are focused on technologies that would reduce dependence on fossil fuels, cut down on pollution, and promote healthier lifestyles.

Spokeswoman Kate Muller said NYSERDA’s focus on technology is an aspect of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

U.S. Senator Edward Markey visited Pittsfield today on a tour of western Massachusetts.

Recognizing 100 Years at Grand Central

Aug 12, 2013
Jim Levulis / WAMC

An upcoming lecture in western Massachusetts will celebrate 100 years of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Francis Morrone has long been fascinated by Grand Central and its engineering feats that occurred near the turn of the 20th century.

The Berkshire Train Campaign

A group advocating for passenger rail service from the Berkshires to New York City is launching a new volunteer effort to bring its message to a wider audience.

Karen Christensen, a Great Barrington resident and founder and CEO of the Berkshire Publishing Group, said she first became interested in advocating to bring passenger rail service from New York to the Berkshires after returning from a trip to China in August of 2011. After communicating with her neighbors, colleagues, and other business owners, by late 2012, she had founded the Berkshire Train Campaign.

Lawmakers in the Berkshires are reacting to the fiscal year 2014 budget signed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Friday.

Last week, Governor Patrick signed a $33.6 billion state budget into law. Patrick’s initial budget proposal called for significant investments in education, which lawmakers in the Berkshires supported.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today signed the fiscal year 2014 budget into law and vetoed millions of dollars dedicated toward transportation and local aid in a bid to pressure lawmakers to accept his revisions to a still unresolved transportation finance bill.

Governor Patrick addressed reporters at a press conference after signing the $33.6 billion spending plan. He paid specific attention to programs that aim to close the achievement gap, reduce healthcare costs, and prevent youth violence. 

MassDOT

Democratic lawmakers in the Berkshires have voiced their support for a transportation budget that would reinstate tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike from the New York border through Springfield.

Planning efforts surrounding economic development through the life sciences and transportation in the Berkshires are about to head into their next stages.

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is asking county residents to weigh in on planning efforts examining potential station locations for North-South passenger rail between Pittsfield and the state border with Connecticut, as part of a $240,000 federal grant. 

WAMC

The Massachusetts House of Representatives is poised to vote on raising taxes, including a 3 cent increase in the gasoline tax, to fund the state’s transportation system.

   The $500 million dollar tax increase faces an uncertain fate in the Massachusetts Senate, according to Democratic State Senator James Welch of West Springfield.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

The transportation funding plan unveiled by Democratic leaders in the Massachusetts state legislature has been met with a mixed response, with Democratic Governor Deval Patrick threatening to veto the plan if certain objectives aren’t met and House Republicans criticizing the plan for raising taxes without making other reforms to government.

And lawmakers in the Berkshires seem to be equally as divided on supporting the plan introduced by House Speaker Robert Deleo and Senate President Therese Murray, both Democrats, last week.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

Democratic leaders in the Massachusetts legislature and House Republicans both answered Governor Deval Patrick’s 2014 transportation budget with plans of their own, but the governor is warning that a plan too small would hurt low and middle income families .

On Tuesday, top Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature including Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and chairs of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees released a transportation plan to rival investments called for in Governor Patrick’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

A recently launched grassroots campaign advocating for improved public transportation in the Berkshires is now online, and some are hoping that it will catch on in communities across Massachusetts. 

The Wish I Had Transit campaign was recently launched by volunteers in the Northern Berkshires, in less than two weeks since the idea of using social media to demonstrate the need for improved public transportation was discussed at a community forum in North Adams.

Massachusetts’ Secretary of Transportation visited the Berkshires on Thursday to pitch the governor’s transportation budget, and to discuss the newly filed transportation bond bill with local legislators and heads of town governments.

Prep Work to Begin for NYC DEP Bypass Tunnel

Jan 20, 2013

Construction work begins this month in two Hudson Valley counties to prepare for a new bypass tunnel. New York City Department of Environmental Protection officials say site-preparation work will soon begin for the Rondout-West Branch Bypass Tunnel, a roughly $1 billion project that will repair leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct. DEP contractors will begin working at sites in Newburgh, in Orange County; and in Wappinger, in Dutchess County, where shafts will be built to allow for the construction of the 2.5-mile bypass tunnel. Last year, DEP purchased several properties off Route 9W in the Town of Newburgh, just north of Pine Road, where it will build one of the shafts. The shaft construction site in the Town of Wappinger, off River Road North, will be built on property already owned by DEP. The site work and bypass construction will be done through a project labor agreement with the Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council. The agreement is expected to create roughly 160 jobs.

Boston Globe Web Staff

Out of many of the proposals Governor Patrick made in this State of the State address, an increase in transportation & infrastructure spending in particular struck a chord in the Berkshires.

The Governor’s specific mention of connecting Pittsfield to New York with commuter rail service was of particular interest to Pittsfield state representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier….

Sturmovik at en.wikipedia

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation issued a much anticipated plan Monday to improve public transportation, expand passenger rail and fix crumbling highways and bridges.  But, exactly how to pay for it all is left for another day.

  The plan calls for spending an additional $13 billion on transportation in Massachusetts during the next ten years. Governor Deval Patrick endorsed the plan  as” clear-eyed, non-partisan and fact based.”  He said the plan would keep the current transportation system operating and pay for what he called “modest strategic expansions”

As the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is developing its plan to replace a bridge over a vital freight rail corridor in Pittsfield, members of the public are being asked for their opinions.  WAMC’s Berkshire bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Sturmovik at en.wikipedia

Massachusetts is facing huge budget deficits in its highway and mass transit systems. The Patrick administration is likely to call early next year for higher taxes and tolls.  The state, meanwhile, is putting millions of dollars more into a major transportation project in western Massachusetts.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

State and federal officials have announced $120 million in federal funding to build part of a high-speed rail project between New Haven, Conn. and Springfield, Mass.

The 62-mile project calls for service every 30 minutes during peak periods and every 60 minutes at other times. Speeds would reach up to 110 miles an hour.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office projects 1.26 million riders annually by 2030.

WAMC

Work has begun on a project that officials say will bring high speed passenger train service to the most heavily populated cities of western Massachusetts.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Connecticut's transportation commissioner is defending a half-billion dollar, bus-only corridor as critics say its construction is wrecking neighborhoods in Hartford. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Commissioner James Redeker said the project is the state's biggest, but officials aren't deterred. He says the state is "1,000 percent" behind delivering the project on schedule and on budget, or perhaps earlier and cheaper.

Redeker said the state will also increase marketing for the project.

WAMC

A general contractor has been selected to manage the building of a major transportation project in western Massachusetts.  A recent influx of federal  funds  has the long  stalled redevelopment of Springfield’s derelict train station back on the fast track, as WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

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