Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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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."

Watco Companies purchased two west Texas shortlines from Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, May 18, 2015. Watco Transportation Services (WTS) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Texas and New Mexico Railway and the West Texas Lubbock and Western Railway.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's (SFMTA) Central Subway tunnel portal entrance, which was the final element to the overall tunneling contract, is now finished. SFMTA says this portion of the Central Subway Project was completed on-time and on-budget.

Amtrak resumed full Northeast Corridor (NEC) operations May 18, following a derailment on May 12 in Philadelphia, Pa. Additionally, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has instructed Amtrak to immediately take several actions to improve safety along the NEC.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) approved Norfolk Southern's acquisition of approximately 283 miles of rail line in Pennsylvania and New York from the Delaware & Hudson Railway Company, Inc. (D&H).

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and other officials and project partners took the first ride on the TriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project, the future MAX Orange Line, on May 15.

RailComm has been selected to replace a hardwired control system with its DOC® system at a Class 1 intermodal facility in Long Beach, Calif. The system will include replacing the system and expanding automation to all tracks in the facility.

Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of Canadian National (CN) said that Canada's trade agenda requires a policy framework that encourages and rewards continued investment in supply-chain capacity and innovation.

An estimated 40,000 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) customers face significant delays over the weekend of Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 when the railroad suspends train service between Hicksville and Mineola during demolition of the Ellison Ave. Bridge in Westbury.

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