Bob Baer to head St. Louis Metro

The St. Louis Metro’s
Board Chairman, Jeffrey Watson, said that the Board of Commissioners reached an
agreement with Bob Baer to become the Agency’s permanent chief executive.

TIGER Grant applications showcase demand nationwide

The U.S. Department of
Transportation received nearly 1,400 applications from all 50 states,
territories and the District of Columbia vying for a share of $1.5 billion the
department will award for innovative transportation projects that show
significant economic and environmental promise for the nation, a region, or
metropolitan area, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

CP eyes new $400-million rail tunnel to Detroit

Canadian Pacific Railway
has been quietly advancing plans for a new $400-million rail tunnel under the
Detroit River and will probably start digging two years from now, the Canwest
News Service reports. A construction permit for the tunnel has already been
issued in the U.S., sources said, but the environmental assessment process has
just begun on the Canadian side and will take up to 18 months.

Connecticut seeks grants to renovate freight rail


In the biggest move in
decades to renovate Connecticut’s freight rail system, the state is seeking
more than $109 million in grants to refurbish or rebuild deteriorated tracks in
Middletown, Hartford, East Windsor, Danbury and elsewhere, according to The
Hartford Courant

Union Pacific sets ribbon cutting for Boone, Iowa bridge

On October 1, Union
Pacific Chairman and CEO Jim Young, Director of Iowa Department of
Transportation Nancy Richardson and Boone Mayor John Slight will officially
open and name the new railroad bridge just west of Boone, Iowa, that is one of
the highest double-track railroad bridges in North America coming in at 2,813
feet long and 190 feet high above the Des Moines River.  After remarks from Young, Director
Richardson and Mayor Slight at the UP depot in Boone, officials and media will
board a train to go look at the new bridge close up. The public is invited to
attend the remarks at the UP depot.

Minnesota’s Northstar commuter rail update

Revenue service testing
for both the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line extension and Northstar Commuter
Rail will begin in mid-October. The trains will run on the regular schedule,
but will not yet be available to the public. Northstar and LRT extension
service will begin on Monday, Nov. 16.

LA seeking federal funding for Westside Subway Extension

In a move that places Los
Angeles County in contention to receive its fair share of future federal rail
funding, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of
Directors voted to pursue long-term funding agreements through the US.
Department of Transportation to build the Westside Subway Extension and
Regional Connector projects.

FTA rules Houston Metro’s Title VI program complete

Houston METRO’s Title VI
program has been approved by the Federal Transit Administration – another step
toward federal Full Funding Grant Agreements for the build out of Houston’s
light-rail system. After a thorough study,
the FTA’s Office of Civil Rights ruled METRO’s program is complete and in
compliance with requirements related to Title VI. This compliance is necessary
to apply for the FTA’s New Starts program – the federal government’s primary
financial resource for supporting major transit "guideway" capital
investments such as light rail.

BNSF gearing up for Burlington, Iowa, bridge work

The ripple effects of
what would happen if funding hadn’t been secured for the BNSF railroad bridge
between Burlington, Iowa, and Gulfport, Ill., could have been grim, according
to the Burlington Hawkeye.  On top
of the obvious safety concerns — despite daily inspections — delivery of
goods would be delayed as inspections took days and trains crossed the bridge
one at a time.

Wisconsin authorizes $30 million for rail projects

The State of Wisconsin has
authorized a total of $30.6 million in loans and grants to help construct,
preserve or upgrade rail-related facilities across the state, the Business
Journal of Milwaukee
reports. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said 10 state awards as
part of overall efforts to support job growth and Wisconsin’s agricultural

BNSF employee delays retirement to finish one last project

When BNSF employee Daryle
Haugen decided to retire, his decision on timing wasn’t based on stock price or
some family trip he had been waiting to take, according to a story in the
railroad’s employee newsletter. It had everything to do with finishing one last
project. Haugen, who was a
Structures foreman, on the Twin Cities Subdivision when he retired in August,
was preparing to retire when he was asked to take on the Delano, Minn., bridge.

CTA schedules public meetings for proposed Circle Line

The Chicago Transit
Authority will hold a third round of public meetings in September to receive
input on the proposed Circle Line project. The meetings are part of the
Alternatives Analysis study – the first step in pursuing federal funding for
major transit projects. The Alternatives Analysis study is designed to examine
all the transit options available and determine a Locally Preferred Alternative.

Port Authority completes major components of ExpressRail

Continuing its initiatives
to maintain world-class facilities while improving air quality at the Port of
New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority said that two major components of
the Port of New York and New Jersey’s $600 million ExpressRail project have
been completed. The projects will allow 1.3 million cargo containers to be shipped
by rail, taking approximately three million trucks off state and local roads.

MTA board OKs $28 billion for LIRR, other projects

The Metropolitan
Transportation Authority board voted to spend $28.1 billion to improve transit
infrastructure in the region, including the tackling of major projects on the
Long Island Rail Road, Newsday reported. At a Manhattan meeting, the board
voted to adopt the MTA’s proposed five-year capital program, which would fund
large transit projects from 2010 to 2014. The proposed budget still requires
approval from the four voting members of the state’s MTA Capital Program Review

Fort Worth concludes deal with UP on overpass

Ft. Worth City Council
members wrapped up a complicated deal with Union Pacific that will allow
construction of an overpass for the Southwest Parkway over the Davidson Rail
Yard along West Vickery Boulevard, according to The Star-Telegram.

Railroad shows intermodal facility plans to public

Pan Am Southern railroad,
which wants to build an intermodal yard in the area, showed the town planning
board and residents how it plans to deal with noise and traffic concerns at a
meeting at Halfmoon, N.Y., town hall, local newspapers report.

BNSF poised to grow in Galesburg, Ill.

BNSF officials were
cautiously optimistic about the future at a special forum on the railroad
industry at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Ill., The Register-Mail
reported. Plans to build a diesel repair shop, a third main track in the BNSF’s
classification yard in Galesburg and storage tracks that allow freight trains
that are being made up to be moved aside to allow other traffic through, could
lead to the creation of more jobs once the economy rebounds, the officials