Saturday, July 16, 2016

Transportation News Round-Up: July 16, 2016

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.
This week in Transportation, Congress passed a short-term FAA funding bill, Cook County issued a transportation plan, and California continued grappling with high-speed rail issues. Here are the most important and interesting transportation stories from the past week:

The Hill: How the new aviation law will affect your travel
Congress passed this week a short-term FAA authorization bill that will extend the agency's authorization through September. The bill includes a number of policy provisions that will affect travelers, including baggage fee refunds if luggage is lost or delayed; assurance that minors will be seated with someone they're traveling with; an expansion of the TSA PreCheck program, and more airport security.

Chicago Tribune: Seeking a bigger voice on transit, freight issues, Cook offers transportation plan
This week, Cook County, Illinois released its first transportation plan in nearly 80 years in an effort to have a bigger role in regional planning and get more federal transportation funding. Rather than proposing specific projects, the plan advocates a framework for approaching future policies, such as addressing "transit deserts" (areas where there is high need for public transportation but little offered) and acknowledging the importance of biking, walking, and transit.

Sacramento Bee: Late-blooming measure would fast-track bullet train's 'bookends'
Proponents of CalTrain and commuter rail in California are pushing a bill that would separate those rail lines from California's high-speed rail (HSR) project and its many legal and financial challenges. The lines are currently being promoted as 'bookends' of a 'blended system' proposed in 2012 to address the high costs of having the new HSR line on all-new tracks. However, this blended system will lengthen travel times, which has legal implications for the bond measure that passed in 2008 requiring the HSR line to meet certain travel times. Separating commuter rail from HSR would be critical to ensuring funding for those lines even if HSR sinks.

FishbowlNY: NY Times adds "Transportation and Infrastructure" Team
The New York Times has launched a new team that will dive more deeply into New York City's transportation and infrastructure issues. What's interesting is that they'll also travel around the country to find out what NYC can learn from other cities. The team thus has an opportunity to highlight best practices and point the city in the direction of what's working elsewhere.

Happy reading, and happy weekend!

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