Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued an Emergency Order that will assist in controlling passenger train speeds at certain locations on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). FRA also intends to take additional actions in the coming days to address potential speed issues on all other passenger corridors.

Union Pacific will strengthen Nebraska's transportation infrastructure investing more than $13 million in the rail line between Columbus and Grand Island. The project began May 21 and is scheduled to be completed the first week of August.

Safety improvements, including the installation of vehicular traffic gates and warning lights, have been completed at a private railroad crossing in the Springdale neighborhood of Stamford where there have been several accidents in recent years involving vehicles striking trains.

Jeffrey Heller and Cary Booth have assumed additional responsibilities in Norfolk Southern's intermodal department.

Minnesota's Metropolitan Council's Southwest Project Office is analyzing options for cutting $341 million in costs for the Green Line light-rail extension from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

Virginia's Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to endorse the construction of a new Potomac Yard Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA) Station and select "Alternative B" as the preferred location. This endorsement now permits the development of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for expected release this winter.

The Port of Prince Rupert has completed its CA$90-million (US$73 million) Road, Rail & Utility Corridor (RRUC), unlocking new terminal developments and market access for Canadian exporters.

U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX-7) and Houston Metro Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia made an agreement, which they say paves the way for future transportation solutions to address the growing needs of the region.

The Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) is moving forward with its Red and Purple Modernization Program (RPM), a transformational, multi-phase program to completely rebuild the northern sections of the Red and Purple lines and provide CTA with the ability to add trains to meet the demands of growing ridership on its busiest rail line.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2353, a short-term authorization extension that will provide surface transportation funding through July 31, 2015.

The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), passed by a vote of 387 – 35 – 1. This extension comes after several weeks of failed negotiations to find approximately $11 billion to fund the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) until the end of the calendar year. House and Senate leaders were unable to reach an agreement on offsets for a bill that would extend the programs through the end of the year, which was intended to give Congress time to form a larger tax reform package to pay for a multi-year surface transportation bill.

In a statement, American Public Transportation Association President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy said, "We appreciate the U.S. House of Representatives for passing an extension of the federal program for surface transportation funding. However, this extension does not increase funding for public transportation, roads, bridges and rails, it merely maintains the current funding levels of the program until the end of July. It also avoids the May 31 deadline when the program was set to expire.

"It is our understanding that it is likely this action by the House will lead to an additional extension of the federal program which could last until the end of the year. Congressional leaders note that this extension is intended to provide time to secure funding for a long-term bill.

"APTA strongly believes that Congress should expedite its efforts and find a solution that provides for long-term investment in our public transportation, road and rail network. It is crucial that Congress act with urgency to address the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

"Congress must get focused and use these two months to develop realistic and viable options for a long-term solution to funding the nation's transportation system."

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