The Wisconsin Legislature's
Joint Finance Committee agreed Feb. 16 to accept $822 million in federal
stimulus funds for high-speed rail linking Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, but
not before lawmakers wrangled over whether the project was necessary, the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The funds had been sought by Gov. Jim Doyle
to link the three cities - and potentially the Twin Cities. The vote represents
the final action for Wisconsin to tap the stimulus funding for rail.
A light rail plan along
Woodward to connect downtown Detroit with New Center will get a $25-million
infusion of federal money, officials briefed on the matter told The Detroit
News. The federal funds -- to be announced Feb. 17 -- are a big boost for the
M-1 Rail Project, which would represent Detroit's first foray into rail-based
public transit since the opening of the People Mover in 1987.
Sidetracked for nearly four
years, an ambitious plan to convert the Farley Post Office into a train station
named after Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan got a jump-start when the federal
government kicked in $83.3 million in stimulus funds to put the project back on
track, the New York Daily News reports. The funding gives the state the $267
million it needs to begin Moynihan Station's first phase, which will create new
access to rail platforms beneath the post office and expanded rail facilities
in Penn Station across the street.
The Canadian federal
government has said it will fund its share of infrastructure improvements
needed for Huron Central Rail if the Province of Ontario signs a Canada-Ontario
Provincial-Territorial Base Fund Agreement, The Sault Star reports.
Jim Cline was recently
selected as the new president of the Denton County Transportation Authority,
local media report. Cline will begin his new position on March 1. Denton County
is part of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.
TransLink's Board of
Directors has chosen to go with organizational and regional experience in its
choice of a new leader for the organization by appointing one of TransLink's
original executives, Ian Jarvis, as the transportation authority's new Chief
Executive Officer. The Board appointed Jarvis interim CEO last November and,
according to Chair Dale Parker, the decision to forego an executive search for
a permanent replacement for Tom Prendergast was based on Jarvis' ‘deep and long
experience' in the organization and the strong endorsement he received within
TransLink and from its stakeholders.
Helping more people get
to work and stimulating job growth and economic development are the goals of a
30-year long-range plan unanimously approved Feb. 12 by the St. Louis Metro Transit
Board of Commissioners. Called "Moving Transit Forward," the plan for the
future of transit in the region presents the results of nearly a year of
in-depth study by Metro officials and staff from the East-West Gateway Council
of Governments (EWGCG), the region's planning agency.
BART has received FTA
Administrator Peter Rogoff's letter stating that the FTA has rejected BART's
plan to meet the FTA's standards of full compliance with Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act. This letter cites no substantive deficiencies in BART's latest
draft action plan to correct Title VI deficiencies identified in a December
2009 audit. Instead, the basis of the FTA Administrator's rejection rests
solely on the fact that BART's plan contains a timetable with an end date
beyond September 30, 2010-the deadline for awarding stimulus fund grants.
When railroads were first stretching their tentacles across vast new parts of this country, each new expanse of track was bought with Herculean human labor, the Racine, Wis., Journal-Times reports. No longer. Maintaining and replacing the rails still requires manpower, but far less of it. Mechanization has replaced much of what the gandy dancer and the sledgehammer achieved.