Dozens of cities and towns across the country held well-attended National Train Day festivities on Saturday, and NARP was excited to have been part of over 20.
You can see some photos of these events here (and if you have photos you would like to add, send them to narp[at]narprail.org).
NARP gathered a sample of the many stories that appeared
about the scores of celebrations across the
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo had a guest appearance on U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’sFastlane blog to commemorate National Train Day:
We don't usually post a blog on the
weekend, but today is National Train Day, commemorating the May 1869 driving of
the golden spike that completed the nation's first transcontinental railroad. To
mark this special occasion, let's hear what Federal Railroad Administrator
Joseph Szabo said at a National Train Day celebration earlier today in
USA Today takes a look at some of
Rail fans across the country will
celebrate National Train Day with exhibits and activities at train
depots across the country. But stations are worth visiting year round
says Ed Breslin , a co-author of
May’s NARP News is now available for members. This issue’s stories include:
The leader of the
Associated Press reported that “the request came as Senate
President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg pushes skeptical state lawmakers to approve
$2.7 billion in initial spending by July 1 to meet a federal construction
deadline. The federal government has
pledged $3.5 billion, on top of the $9 billion authorized by
Steinberg’s comments come in the wake of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s May 10 warning to Californian lawmakers not to delay a vote on the issuance of bonds to pay for high-speed rail.
“We need to make sure that the commitment is there to obligate the money,’ LaHood told reporters at the Capitol. “We want to make sure that our partners here understand what's at stake… We can't wait until the end of summer."
As public officials seek better leverage to direct the
course of the project, it’s worth remembering that many great projects would
never have been built if they had been put on hold until all the needed,
multi-year funding was assured. See, for
example, the San Francisco Chronicle’s excellent, Sunday May 13 front-page
column on why the
Critics depicted the bridge as financially unsound, legally dubious, an aesthetic blight and an engineering hazard in the decade before the start of construction in 1933. The battle was most fierce in the fall of 1930, when voters in six counties were asked to allow $35 million in bond sales for construction.
The committee findings soon became fodder for a newspaper advertisement that began "MR. TAXPAYER: This Ad is published to save you money - READ IT." After all, they echoed what opponents had been saying all along: Things were moving too fast. There were too many unanswered questions. The numbers couldn't be trusted.
The ad was one of many placed by the Taxpayers' Committee Against Golden Gate Bridge Bonds. With a membership list that included future Mayor Roger Lapham and City Engineer M.M. O'Shaughnessy, this was no mere collection of gadflies. Such opponents insisted they weren't against the idea of a bridge, simply the reality of this one.
If political leaders can successfully navigate the
Work has wrapped up on new train station platforms in
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo was joined by Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt and local business leaders on May 14 to celebrate the project’s completion.
“The Downeaster expansion is creating jobs and spurring
local economic development even before the trains arrive,” said Administrator
Szabo. “The Northern New England
Passenger Rail Authority delivered this project on time and on budget, and when
the line opens in the fall it will increase tourism and mobility choices for
The FRA head wrote about the economic benefits of the investment on the U.S. DOT’s Fastlane blog:
This extension will also increase
tourism and mobility choices for residents from
Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL) sent a Dear Colleague letter calling for transportation benefit parity to each member of the conference committee that is negotiating passage of the surface transportation bill.
The letter draws attention to the short shrift transit commuters have received since January. The expiration of a provision of tax law has seen employer-provided commuter benefits slashed for passengers, while benefits for auto commuters actually rose.
Through 2011, the law allowed employers to give tax-free commuter benefits to their employees up to $230 a month, same as for parking. This changed on January 1, 2012 when the transit benefits limit fell to $125 even as the parking benefits limit rose to $240.
Hultgren’s letter included this:
Many Members of Congress, including 35 co-signers of the attached letter to the House Rules and Ways and Means Committee, would like to see parity restored between transit and parking commuter benefits. We want to remove this disincentive for commuters who choose to take public transportation, including buses, trains, and vanpooling.
Conferees are expected to finish their work in the next few weeks.
On Saturday, May 26, the
The excursion railroad made the announcement today:
The company, which is owned by the
Morristown & Erie Railway in
The 57-mile short line railroad has
become a popular attraction for out-of-state tourists and dedicated rail fans,
as well as for
For more information, check out www.maineeasternrailroad.com.
The future of GPS directions: "step 1, exit your car"
What if your car’s GPS wasn’t so fixated on your car. What if it asked: What is the quickest way for a person to get to work and back again? To minimize the time spent traveling, and free up the maximum amount of time for the parts of their lives that they actually care about? Timed spent with loved ones, not wheels.
Many analysts predict transportation systems will need to start asking these kinds of questions in the near future to deal with growing congestion and rising fuel prices. And what’s more, they think the answer the GPS will often give is: leave the car at home.