Latest Rail News

Federal aid alone won't pay for meaningful highway projects these days, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday during a visit to the Chicago suburbs, the Daily Herald reports. Instead, tolls and public-private partnerships in addition to government funding are the wave of the future when it comes to transportation improvements, he noted.

"Public-private partnerships, tolling, the highway trust fund ... a combination of these things and we'll get there. But right now we're trying to find the path forward," LaHood said, while at a stop in Barrington, Ill.

The Peoria Republican returned to Illinois to meet with U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, a Barrington Democrat, and local leaders to talk about transportation needs and tour several controversial railroad crossings.

The Canadian National Railway's purchase of the smaller EJ&E railroad to relieve congestion on some of its busier tracks is opposed by Barrington and other towns along the line because of traffic and safety concerns.

Although opponents are suing to overturn federal regulators' 2008 decision permitting the merger, "it's reality," LaHood said of the acquisition.

The pending surface transportation bill, a multi-year funding program for roads and transit, will provide critical assistance for projects across the country when it is passed, LaHood said.

"I think the region should look to the next transportation bill as an opportunity to solve some of these big transportation issues," he said.

But the secretary noted that finding the cash to finance the program is a challenge, particularly given the depleted state of the highway trust fund, which is funded largely by gasoline taxes and has had to receive emergency allocations from Congress.

"It's deficient because people drive less and drive more efficient cars," LaHood said.

And given that President Obama opposes raising the gas tax in the current economic climate, "we've got to be creative and think outside the box," when it comes to funding the surface transportation bill, LaHood said.

Touring EJ&E railroad crossings with LaHood was productive, Barrington Mayor Karen Darch said, adding the village will continue its legal fight against the U.S. Surface Transportation Board's ruling.

"One likely scenario is that the court could remand it back to the board for further environmental review that could lead to further mitigation," she said.

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Ontario's plan to save $4 billion by postponing the construction of Greater Toronto Area transit infrastructure was met with uncertainty by various industry stakeholders, the Daily Commercial News And Construction Record reports.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns that legal disputes over property access needed to build levees, floodwalls and gates in eastern New Orleans could mean that area won't get 100-year protection by the promised June 1, 2011, deadline, says an editorial in The Times-Picayune.

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Supporters of a railroad in northern Maine and a deep-water pier in southern Maine told lawmakers that state money is needed to retain jobs and boost tourism, the Kennebec Journal reports.

 

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A study of possible high-speed, intercity rail for Colorado has found that lines between Fort Collins and Pueblo and between Denver International Airport and Eagle County have the best "operating and cost-benefit results" of the options evaluated, The Denver Post reports.

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Major work on the new rail station at Puritas Avenue and West 150th Street in Cleveland will shut down rail service for about two hours in the middle of the day on Monday, March 29. Rush hours are not expected to be affected. Shuttle buses will replace rail service between Hopkins Airport and the West Park Station. The exact time of the two-hour shutdown will not be known until Monday, but it will be between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.


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As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's transportation reform agenda to strengthen customer service, newly appointed MBTA General Manager Richard Davey said a customer convenience for Orange Line riders providing for the first time wireless telephone services along the entire Orange Line underground corridor.  Orange Line customers in Boston can use their wireless devices from end to end of the Orange Line, including 19 stations.

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Vossloh AG is acquiring the permanent-way segment of Saargummi Deutschland GmbH and thus buttressing its Fastening Systems business unit. Located in Wadern-Büschfeld in Germany's Saarland, the segment is a leading supplier of highly elastic intermediate layers and pads for rail fastening systems. The addition will mean an extension to the Vossloh business unit's vertical production processes plus the acquisition of highly specific expertise in the processing of synthetic and natural rubbers. Following the takeover by Vossloh the permanent-way segment of Saargummi Deutschland GmbH will continue to operate at the Wadern-Büschfeld location.


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Work on a $2.8-million project to add additional signals to the Caltrain signal system will take place from 11:30 p.m. to 8 a.m., Saturday, April 3 between the San Carlos and Atherton stations.

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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors approved the terms for the Funding Transfer and Master Cooperative Agreements between the agency and Foothill Extension Construction Authority, setting the stage for construction to begin on the first new rail project funded by Measure R.

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