Latest Rail News

The Sound Transit Board on Thursday unanimously approved a contract to dig twin-bored tunnels between the Capitol Hill Station and downtown Seattle for the University Link light rail extension. The contract, with JCM U-Link Joint Venture, is for $168.9 million, which includes a 10 percent contingency. The firm's bid was 12 percent below the engineer's estimate.


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Construction activities at the Fridley, Minn., Northstar commuter rail station are slightly behind schedule. However, crews remain optimistic that the station will be ready for opening day.

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Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell said that she would push ahead with plans to borrow $100 million so that the state can build a key part of the New Haven rail yard, the Hartford Courant reports. One of Connecticut's biggest contractors recently offered to build a 293,000-square-foot maintenance center for rail cars that was only about half as expensive as transportation officials and a consultant had projected.

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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved the 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan that will guide transportation development in the county through the year 2040, a period in which the county is expected to experience unprecedented growth.

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Fulfilling a commitment to the PATH rail system's long-term growth, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Board of Commissioners authorized more than $340 million worth of contracts to help replace antiquated mechanical train controls on the 101-year-old system with state-of-the-art, computerized signals.

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TriMet in the Portland, Ore., area is beginning work on the first of several stimulus-funded projects aimed at improving rider and pedestrian safety, security and convenience at Eastside MAX stations. TriMet is using federal stimulus funds to repaint six MAX stations, starting at the E 162nd Ave station in Gresham.

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The North County Transit District reached an agreement with AECOM (formerly DMJM+Harris) to settle all claims arising from the design services performed by DMJM+Harris for the SPRINTER light rail project in the San Diego area. The settlement allows each party to avoid future litigation regarding disputed claims. With this agreement, NCTD should complete the SPRINTER project well within its federally approved budget of $484.2 million.

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Hampton Roads Transit's board awarded a $3.96-million contract to build 11 light-rail stations, slightly under the $4.09 million projected budget, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The contract went to W.M. Schlosser Company Inc., which is already building the light-rail vehicle storage and maintenance facility. The company has done similar work for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

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Although it has been a part of our lives for more than 150 years, public transportation is one of the key investments to create jobs as we address the new emerging green economy, according to the American Public Transportation Association as it released a new report Oct. 23. With previous research showing public transit's significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gases, the report, "Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment," demonstrates how increased investment in public transportation provides good green jobs, wages and business income in industries that have been particularly hit hard by the economic downturn.

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BMWED National Division President Freddie Simpson convened a meeting Oct. 21 for the purpose of reviewing membership surveys and finalizing bargaining demands that will be served on the nation's freight railroads in November. The national contract with most freight railroads will expire January 1, 2010 and the next round of bargaining will begin.

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