The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick

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May 11, 2009
Vol. 10 No. 21

Copyright © 2009
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 10th Year

Home Page: www.nationalcorridors.org

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  News Items…
Transit Riders Save Big Bucks Over Automobile Commuters
  Funding Lines…
Washington Senator Patricia Murray (D-WA) Announces
   $44 Million For Sound Transit
Virginia Business Leaders Urge Creation Of Special
   Transit Tax District To Boost Economy
  Selected Rail Stocks…
 
  Across The Pond…
Bangkok Airport Rail Link Sparks Corruption Fears
France to Double Local Transit Routes
  We Get Letters…
La Metro Not Friendly To Visitors
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

New APTA Report

 

Transit Riders Save Big Bucks
Over Automobile Commuters

From The American Public Transportation Association.
Used By Permission

WASHINGTON, DC – Riding public transportation can save an individual an average of $8,691 a year based on the May 5, 2009 national average gas price and the unreserved monthly parking rate, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Taking public transportation is an economical way to travel as individuals seek to “ride out” the recession.  Riding public transportation also reduces carbon emissions and mitigates America’s dependence on foreign oil.

“In these uncertain economic times, individuals are looking for ways to do more with less,” said APTA President William W. Millar.  “Riding public transportation is one way to immediately save a significant amount of money.  You can save money and save the planet.”

The Transit Savings Report, released monthly by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) examines how much individuals can save annually by taking public transportation rather than driving and having one less car in the household.

APTA’s Transit Savings Report calculates the average savings for public transit users at $724 per month.  This is based on the cost of parking and the May 5 gas price of $2.079 as reported by AAA.  The cost per gallon of regular unleaded fuel is now up 33 cents since December 2008. 

Regarding parking costs, the national average for the monthly unreserved parking rate in a city’s downtown business district is $143, according to the 2008 Colliers International Parking Rate Study.  Over the course of a year, parking costs alone can amount to an average of $1,720.

The top 20 cities with the highest transit ridership are ranked in order of their transportation savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transportation pass and factoring in today’s local gas prices and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*

Top Twenty Cities Transit Savings Report

 City MonthlySavingsAnnual Savings
1 Boston$1,053$12,632
2 New York$1,049$12,589
3 San Francisco$976$11,713
4 Chicago$899$10,788
5 Philadelphia$877$10,521
6 Seattle$874$10,483
7 Honolulu$846$10,148
8 Washington DC$811$9,730
9 San Diego$787$9,448
10Minneapolis$784$9,407
11Cleveland$774$9,289
12Portland$767$9,201
13Denver$756$9,078
14Los Angeles$738$8,854
15Baltimore$736$8,832
16Miami$699$8,393
17Dallas$697$8,364
18Atlanta$682$8,184
19Las Vegas$682$8,184
20Pittsburgh$644$7,724

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 5/5/09.

Methodology

APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the average monthly transit pass of local public transit agencies across the country.  This information is based on the annual APTA fare collection survey and is weighted based on ridership (unlinked passenger trips).  The assumption is that a person making a switch to public transportation would likely purchase an unlimited pass on the local transit agency, typically available on a monthly basis. 

APTA then compares the average monthly transit fare to the average cost of driving.  The cost of driving is calculated using the 2009 AAA average cost of driving formula.  AAA cost of driving formula is based on variable costs and fixed costs.  The variable costs include the cost of gas, maintenance and tires.  The fixed costs include insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges.  The comparison also uses the average mileage of a mid-size auto at 23.4 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded as recorded by AAA on May 5 at $2.079 per gallon.  The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year.  The savings assume a household gives up one car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2008 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States. 

To calculate your individual savings with or without car ownership, go to www.publictransportation.org.   

APTA is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 member organizations including public transportation systems; planning, design, construction and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; and state associations and departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical public transportation services and products. APTA members serve more than 90 percent of persons using public transportation in the United States and Canada. For further information contact: Virginia Miller (202) 496-4816, vmiller@apta.com; or Mantill Williams (202) 496-4869 mwilliams@apta.com.

Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mail resale@seattletimes.com with your request.


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FUNDINGLINES... Funding Line...  

Early Release Of $ For Approved Project

 

Washington Senator Patricia Murray (D-WA)
Announces $44 Million For Sound Transit

 

WASHINGTON, DC --- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that $44 million has been released in recovery funding for Sound Transit’s University Link project. The funding comes from an $813 million Full Funding Grant Agreement and has been accelerated as part of an ongoing effort to swiftly infuse economic recovery funds back into the nation’s transportation system to create jobs and jumpstart the economy.

“By accelerating the $44 million in funding to Sound Transit, the financing costs for the University Link light rail project will be reduced, saving taxpayers and Sound Transit money,” said Senator Patty Murray. “The agency will be able to apply these savings to advance the design of light rail beyond Husky Stadium to Northgate, and by getting these federal funds earlier than anticipated, Sound Transit can put more local money to work, creating jobs right here, right now.

“I feel strongly that recovery investments should go to projects like this that reduce congestion, improve safety, enhance freight mobility and make our nation stronger long-term - projects that put people to work today and keep businesses moving to sustain economic growth in the future.”

As chair of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee, Murray worked to ensure that investments in Washington state’s transportation system were a key component of the Recovery Act. Senator Murray voted to pass the Recovery Act on February 13th. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th.


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Virginia Business Leaders Urge Creation
Of Special Transit Tax District To Boost Economy

From the Herndon Observer;
© Copyright 2000-2008 The Herndon Publishing Company, Inc.
Permission to reprint has been requested

HERNDON, VA --- Three prominent DC area businessmen avidly urged a full house of people at the Herndon Council Chambers to move forward on creating a tax district for phase two of Metro’s rail to Dulles on Wednesday night, the Herndon Observer reported this week.

In a story written by Observer Staff Writer Leslie Perales, The Dulles Chamber of Commerce arranged the town hall meeting “to outline the challenges and obstacles that exist in forming a tax district to fund local rail stops at Reston Town Center, Herndon-Monroe and the Center for Innovative Technology.

“This is a critical issue,” said TETRA Partnerships President Bill Lauer, who was on the panel with Peter Johnston, senior vice president and regional manager for Boston Properties and president of the Western Alliance for Rail to Dulles, a group of local landowners, and Joe Ritchey of Prospective, Inc., a local commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm.       Lauer also serves as the chairman of the Dulles Chamber’s economic development committee. He said the mission is to ensure the stops for Reston Town Center, Herndon and the CIT are built and that rail does not pass the area by: “I can’t stress the importance of Herndon’s participation in this,” Ritchey said. Because many buildings in Herndon and Reston were built recently and have tenants, the possibility of redevelopment may also help drive landowners to agree to the tax district, he said. “There is tremendous opportunity here,” he said. “I want to encourage Herndon to really get serious about this as fast as possible.”

The proposed tax district would be self-imposed on commercial property owners in an area bordering the Dulles Toll Road from Wiehle Avenue, where the first phase of rail to Dulles will end, and the Loudoun County border.

In order to enact such a tax district, Fairfax County must approve the district, the Herndon Town Council must approve the district, and 51 percent of all commercial landowners in the district must approve the tax. But in addition to those requirements, Ritchey said, landowners will need to have incentives to redevelop their properties at higher densities if they can be expected to voluntarily tax themselves to fund the rail stations. Ritchey said the first tax district, which was put in place to fund the phase one stations in Tysons Corner and Wiehle Avenue, was simpler because there were fewer landowners in the first district and because much of the land was under-developed.

Landowners were eager to fund the rail stations because they knew they would be able to develop their land at a higher value than if there were no rail stations, the Observer reported.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Burlington Northern & Santa Fe(BNI)72.7668.06
Canadian National (CNI)42.8741.72
Canadian Pacific (CP)39.0137.47
CSX (CSX)31.0230.57
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)30.5230.04
Kansas City Southern (KSU)17.0115.39
Norfolk Southern (NSC)38.0135.80
Providence & Worcester (PWX)11.5011.50
Union Pacific (UNP)51.4449.98


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ACROSS THE POND... Across The Pond...  

Installments By David Beale
NCI Foreign Correspondent

Bangkok Airport Rail Link
Sparks Corruption Fears

Is The Rail Project A Magnet For Political Bribes ?

Bangkok - Concerns are growing that the company to be set up by the State Railway of Thailand to operate the Airport Rail Link system could become a new cash cow for politicians, a Transport Ministry source said yesterday.

“The golden goose is not the |rail link operation but the Mak-kasan main passenger terminal, as the subsidiary will have to manage the commercial space there for |leasing and advertising,” the source said. “It will have full authority over space management, not the SRT or Transport Ministry. “Politicians might try to find some way to appoint their men to run the SRT subsidiary, the source said.

The SRT board will appoint the subsidiary’s board and the subsidiary will hire professionals outside the SRT as its chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. The rail link will connect Suvarnabhumi Airport with the City Air Terminal in downtown Bangkok. The new rail link is standard gage (1435 mm), unlike the majority of the rest of the Thai rail network which is meter gage.


Photo: Subram Chuzeck.

An SRT DMU train (made by Hitachi) leaves Kohn Kaen, Thailand in January 2006. SRT operates an extensive network of rail lines in the country mostly for passenger services, but also with some freight services consisting of tanker trains hauling gasoline and diesel fuel, industrial chemicals, agricultural products and flatbed freight trains hauling containerized cargo. Most of the rail network is unelectrified and meter gage.

The creation of the subsidiary is part of the debt-ridden SRT’s rehabilitation plan. The Finance Ministry will budget Bt 500 million for the subsidiary’s start-up costs. The Transport Ministry will submit the SRT rehabilitation plan for Cabinet approval at next Tuesday’s meeting. Once it gets the green light, the state enterprise could immediately establish the subsidiary.

The SRT will hire German train operator Deutsche Bahn International to operate the rail link and train the SRT subsidiary staff on an outsourcing basis for Bt 90 million until the subsidiary is ready to manage the system itself.

Besides running the airport rail system, the subsidiary might be allowed to take over some commercial rail routes so it can generate sufficient revenue for the SRT. The new rail link will begin trial operations on 12th August, with full service scheduled by the end of this year or early next year.


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Government of France Department of Environment,
Energy and Sustainable Development.

Locations in France which will receive new local transit development funds.
France to Double Local Transit Routes

French Government Allocates EUR 800 Million

Montpellier – France’s secretary for environment, energy and sustainable development, Mr. Jean-Louis Borloo, along with the French secretaries for transport, interior and provincial relations announced a EUR 800 million (US $ 1.1 billion) program to double local transit routes in a number of French cities beyond the Paris region. The announcement comes less than one week after French President Sarkozy announced a major investment and expansion program for transit in the Paris region as part of the “Le Grand Paris” economic and infrastructure development project.

SNCF French State Railways  

Beginning of a bus rapid transit lane near the
Evry-Courcouronnes train station.

The new funding will be allocated to 50 different transit projects in 36 French cities and communities excluding the Paris region. The projects will begin this year with target completion by late 2011.

Included in the list of projects to receive financial support from the French federal government are:

  • Expansion of the subway system (Metro) in Marseille and Lyon

  • Expansion of the light-rail / tram systems in a number of cities

  • Several new bus rapid transit (BRT) projects and busways in several cities around the country, known by its French acronym BHNS


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WE GET LETTERS... We Get Letters...  

La Metro Not Friendly To Visitors

Just about every time I have visited Los Angeles I used Metro rail and buses as my mode of transportation. For about the past 5 years, I utilized the convenience of purchasing Metro Day passes aboard buses and at Metro Rail stations. Unfortunately those days are gone.

I left Sacramento on Friday, April 24 on train #704, the San Joaquins, and transferred to the Bakersfield bus for Los Angeles, arriving around 1:00am at LA Union Station (LAUS). I wanted to spend a weekend in Los Angeles before leaving the following Sunday afternoon on the #2 Sunset Limited to El Paso followed by Houston. The Saturday morning after 9:00am, I took the #96 bus to the LA Zoo in Griffith Park. When I attempted to buy a Day Pass, the operator told me that I had to have a TAP card. Unfortunately I didn’t have one nor did I know how to get one. One of the passengers asked the driver if he had TAP cards to give out and he said he didn’t. The driver also didn’t know where I could get a TAP card along his route. He only suggested Western Union stores which neither he nor I know where they’re located. In short I ended up paying the $1.25 fares during my transit rides that weekend and making sure once again that I had exact change. Because of the inconvenience of riding Metro I minimized riding their buses and trains that weekend to save money since they don’t even give transfers within their system either.

I don’t have much of an opinion on TAP cards but eliminating paper day passes from buses was NOT a good idea. Why after the past 5 years when Metro had a such a convenient feature of allowing you to buy day passes right on the bus that they’d take a leap backward and exclude them to only TAP card users - forcing everyone else to once again shell out exact change on every ride? It’s a stupid policy because it discourages visitors from utilizing public transportation and only feeds ammunition to transit critics. I have been an avid transit and rail proponent for over a decade and have had letters published in news publications promoting transit and denouncing our “green” governor’s transit cuts. I am also a member of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) and Train Riders Association of California (TRAC) and it’s very heartbreaking to encounter a major inconvenience from an entity I have patronized for years and whose transportation purposes for the public I have defended when communicating with elected officials.

In the meantime, I’ll minimize my visits to Los Angeles County when visiting the southern part of the state. My sincere apologies to the local businesses, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and attractions that will lose revenue from me as well as other visitors whose income they’re dependent on.

Randell Hansen

This letter was the voice of the individual and does not represent the views of the organizations mentioned.

[ The introduction of new cash-less fare collecting technology is the way of the future - or so it seems. So far most systems implementing these have had some bumps in the road - some major and some minor. In Boston on the opposite coast, the introduction of the “Charlie Card” still has issues, including a lack of points to obtain them easily or “recharge” them (add value) away from transit stations. While you can do it on a bus, it is cumbersome. The ability to recharge a card via the Internet, though promised, is yet to be implemented some two years later. Thankfully in Boston and vicinity the system still employs a paper ticket (actually card stock quality) for occasional users. The plastic fare card system is yet to be extended to the MBTA’s commuter rail service, forcing riders of the commuter rail and transit / bus system to handle a dual fare collection system. - DMK Webmaster, Boston, MA.]


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

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