Posts Tagged: Federal Railroad Administration

High-speed regional trains zoom into California

Several new trains capable of considerably higher speed should begin plying the rails in California in about four years time, thanks to an infusion of federal cash, reports Tim Sheehan of The Fresno Bee.

California received 68 million dollars from the federal government to buy 15 new American passenger cars and four new U.S.-made locomotives for the state’s three regional rail routes. The funding is a portion of the $336 million worth of Recovery Act funding — economic stimulus money — awarded as federal matching funds to California and outright grants to Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri. (more…)

Los Angeles: a beacon of hope amid high-speed rail fog?

Headwinds  are building against California’s planned high-speed rail system, with congressional opponents attempting to kill funding, and new reports generating ever more negative rhetoric. That’s the  bottom line in Carolyn Lochhead’s piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile, though significant cuts to transportation funding — both for road construction and maintenance as well as mass-transit are likely in the coming transportation bill, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has introduced an innovative financing scheme aimed at speeding up transit construction.  Villaraigosa’s initiativemay become a nationwide program, according to Rick Orlov of the Torrance Daily Breeze.

Criticisms at the policy end of high-speed rail are hardly new. Here’s a standard sample: (more…)

Congress to Chicago: Let’s not cross that bridge when we come to it

Last year the Federal Railroad Administration gave Illinois $133 million to construct a rail bridge in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood in order to eliminate “thousands of hours of delays each year for Metra and Amtrak riders.” This year, though, that money has been cut in the U.S. House’s just-passed budget, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch. Hilkevitch writes that the cut has “nothing to do with the merits of the project” but instead is about House Republicans’ pledge to reduce domestic spending. Illinois’ Dick Durbin, the no 2. Democrat in the Senate, goes a step farther and calls the lost bridge money a “mindless cut.”

Railing against high fatalities at railroad crossings

Here is an underexposed public safety issue: railroad-crossing fatalities.

Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune reports that in the past four years Illinois has had 98 deaths and 588 accidents at railroad-crossings. Now the Federal Railroad Administration – part of the Dept. of Transportation – has intervened, forcing Illinois and nine other states with high fatality rates to devise plans to reduce accidents. The ten states each have an entire year to come up with a safety plan and then five years for implementation. (more…)