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

 

Contribute To NCI

 

December 19, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 50

Copyright © 2011
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 12th Newsletter Year

This E-Zine is best viewed at
1024 X 768 screen resolution

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

  Commentary…
Does Amtrak Know Its Market?
High-Speed Railroad Job
A Tale Of Rediscovery
  News Items…
Secretary LaHood Announces Funding For 46 Innovative
   Transportation Projects Through Third Round Of
   Popular TIGER Program
The Tri-State Downeaster Marks A Decade Of Service,
   Capitol Corridor Two Decades
  Commuter Lines…
Boston’s South Station Expansion Chugging Along
Illinois: Emanuel and Quinn Hope Bicycles Will
   Fill the Missing Link in Mass Transit
 
  Transit Lines…
Detroit Light-Rail Line Plan Scrapped
N.J. Transportation Chief Says He Did His Best To Improve
   ARC Project While Heading FTA
  Funding Lines…
Facing Funding Shortfalls And Protest, Better Rail
   For Boston Region Is Delayed
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs): The Need
   For Institution Building
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Webmaster Notes… Holiday Break  
  Publication Notes …



COMMENTARY... Commentary...

Amtrak At 40: A Rider’s Perspective

 

Does Amtrak Know Its Market ?

Eighth In A Series
By David Peter Alan

Twice each year, in the spring and fall, Amtrak issues a timetable. It is a booklet published on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, with beautiful pictures of Amtrak trains, some ads that help pay for the printing and distribution, lots of information about Amtrak, and the schedule for every long distance and corridor train that operates in the United States, except for the Alaska Railroad. There are even some schedules for VIA Rail trains in Canada, if you know where to look. The current edition, commemorating Amtrak’s 40th anniversary, is 144 pages long. But to put things in perspective, the Pennsylvania Railroad alone ran more trains during the 1950s than Amtrak operates today.

From the appearance of the Amtrak timetable, it would appear that America’s passenger railroad is a unified organization that serves the traveling public in a consistent manner, no matter where people might go. In fact, the Amtrak ridership is anything but homogenous. Rather, it is a set of market segments that is almost specific to the line which any particular customer wishes to ride. In other words, Amtrak’s “market” is highly diversified and comprised of many segments. Does Amtrak management fully understand the differences between these segments and the people who belong to them? This writer does not believe so. In addition, Amtrak management may not even know how extensive the customer base for rail travel might be.

To be fair to Amtrak, the railroad could do more to serve its customers if it had more money. Amtrak’s funding plight dominated last week’s edition of D:F, beginning with a statement by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) that more Federal money will be pumped into the highway system this year than Amtrak has received throughout its 40-year history. Lautenberg represents a transit-rich state, and many of his constituents, including this writer, use Amtrak and New Jersey Transit regularly. Other commentators, such as D:F Publisher James P. RePass, expressed their own concerns.

One such commentary was an editorial in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The Crescent City is an important tourist destination and could provide the sort of inter-regional rail connectivity in the South that Chicago provides in the North. Nonetheless, New Orleans has never been an Amtrak stronghold; there have never been more than four daily trains in each direction to or from that city in Amtrak’s entire history. Today, New Orleans hosts one daily train to New York and one to Chicago, as well as a train to Los Angeles only three times each week. Service to the Gulf Coast and Florida is gone, and daily service to Mobile, Alabama lasted for only a short time during the 1990s.

Aside from the advocacy community, which RePass and his colleagues represent, the other commentators come from very different communities and market segments for Amtrak. Lautenberg’s constituents commute on New Jersey Transit (which uses Amtrak-owned tracks in the Northeast Corridor, between New York and Trenton) and use Amtrak to go elsewhere in the Northeast region. In contrast, many people who go to New Orleans do so for an extended visit, often for a vacation.

Commentators from different segments of Amtrak’s market appear to understand Amtrak’s precarious situation. Does Amtrak management possess a similar understanding of the differences between the various segments of Amtrak’s market and their transportation needs? It does not appear so.

Within the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak operates frequent service with equipment that is designed for relatively short trips. Many riders take the train for business purposes. Current corridor operations seem to work fairly well for these travelers. It is not surprising that many of Amtrak’s senior managers came from the region. Tom Downs and George Warrington came from New Jersey. David Gunn held posts in New York City and Philadelphia before coming to Amtrak. Joseph Boardman came to Amtrak from the Federal Railroad Administration and the New York State Department of Transportation before that. They, along with many of the managers under them, came from and understand the NEC and other nearby corridor operations.

That does not mean that they understand marketing for the trains in the region. Marketing is not the same as operations, and performance on the marketing side has been mixed. Amtrak has done well promoting the extra-fare Acela trains, which cater specifically to business travelers in the NEC. Amtrak’s share of the total air-rail market between such city pairs as New York-Boston and New York-Washington is increasing, which means Amtrak is beating the airlines between those city pairs.

Amtrak also operates conventional “Northeast Regional” trains in the NEC in a similar manner, but for a customer base that is slightly less affluent. The trains take about thirty minutes longer to get from New York to Washington, D.C. and they make a few more stops than the Acela trains, but seats must be reserved and fares are set to cater to business travelers and others who can afford a relatively high price for their trip. Amtrak even treats the NEC as a limited-capacity railroad, since fares increase as day and time of departure draw near; an airline practice that is relatively recent in origin. It is inconvenient for customers to reserve a seat on a particular train in advance, go through steps to change a ticket, or even pay a surcharge if the train that the customer wishes to use has become crowded.

Still, Amtrak would not engage in that practice if there were no revenue to be realized from doing so. Would running NEC trains on a quasi-commuter basis; charging specific point-to-point fares and selling open tickets for coach passengers, benefit Amtrak and its customers more than the current practice? It appears so to this writer, but nobody will know for sure, unless Amtrak changes its operation and fare structure on an experimental basis and then evaluates the result.

We do know that Amtrak has abandoned a specific market segment that could be significant. That is the price-conscious rider; the student, the senior citizen and the searcher for a job. These people cannot afford Amtrak’s prices, especially in the NEC. Today, they have a new and unpalatable alternative. While Greyhound buses have always competed with Amtrak between major city pairs, there are two new bus competitors in the Northeast. One is Megabus, under the same ownership as Coach USA. The other is Bolt Bus, a joint venture of Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines. Both compete with Amtrak, essentially on a point-to-point basis, to the extent that they stop in front of or across the street from the train station, if they can.

Amtrak has abandoned the price-sensitive market to the buses. At this writing, Amtrak’s one-way fares for travel from New York to Baltimore on Wednesday, December 28th range from $71 to $137 for Northeast Regional (conventional) trains and from $136 to $204 for premium Acela trains. The fare on Bolt Bus is listed at $19, although one Bolt departure is reported as sold out. The fare on Megabus is $23. So people who can afford it ride Amtrak and those who can’t wait on the street for a bus. Can Amtrak capture this price-sensitive market? Maybe, but this would require running “no frills” trains, perhaps with commuter-type equipment, on a frequent schedule, and with open tickets for unreserved seats. It would be feasible for Amtrak to add such an operation in the NEC, but management would have to want to do it.

Corridors outside the Northeast are managed differently. The do not have as many trains; typically three to five per day. They are state-oriented, and states like Illinois and California have taken the initiative in developing and improving them. They also cater to a broader range of travelers, including those for whom price matters.

On December 28th, it will cost at least $71, and up to $204, to ride the 185 miles from New York to Baltimore. A traveler going from Chicago to St. Louis on the same day can go 99 miles more for only $24; a rate that is less expensive per mile than the “budget” bus fares in the NEC. Three of the four “Lincoln Service” trains are priced at that rate, while the other is priced at $32. A short-turn coach on the Texas Eagle to St. Louis is $66, but that has always been the more expensive option. Even so, riding from Chicago to St. Louis in a Superliner with a reclining seat, leg rest and access to the dining car for dinner costs 23¢ per mile, compared with 38¢ per mile as the least expensive fare from New York to Baltimore. People who reserve a seat on the least expensive trains can ride for less than 8.5¢ per mile!

Other states are not as generous to their riders as Illinois. The fare on the same day from Portland, Oregon to Seattle is $52 (one train still has a $39 fare) for the 187 miles; a fare of almost 28¢ per mile.

In California, the fare for the 231 miles between San Diego to Santa Barbara, through Los Angeles (comparable to the distance from New York to Boston or Washington, D.C.) is $41 on the Pacific Surfliner trains, or slightly less than 18¢ per mile. Still, on the corridors outside the NEC, Amtrak has decided to include at least some price-sensitive people in their target market. Services are similar in all of the corridors; seats designed for relatively short trips, with snack and beverage service. Some trains offer an extra-fare “business class” option. It does not appear that Amtrak has abandoned an entire segment of its market to the budget-bus operators, as it has in the Northeast region. Of course, outside the Northeast Corridor it receives state support as noted, so fares can be lower.

Outside the corridors, the market is completely different. Most of the riders either have no other public transportation available, or they can take their time to go from one place to another, so they can enjoy the trip. Fares on a per-mile basis are usually lower on the long-distance trains than on the NEC. Amtrak has never pursued business travelers as potential customers on its long-distance trains, but if riders could use the internet and their cell phones throughout the trip for business use, this market might be reachable.

There are no longer trains that operated on a business schedule, leaving one endpoint at the end of the business day, traveling overnight, and reaching the other endpoint in time for the next business day. There are many such trains overseas, but Amtrak operates none. It may be possible to use the train between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta as an overnight “business” train, but this appears impossible for any other major city pair.

Whether they ride from end to end, or for a shorter distance, many of the riders on the long-distance trains are tourists, people visiting family or friends, students or other “leisure” travelers. These are people who choose to ride Amtrak, because it is a more civilized and enjoyable experience than they can get on an airliner, on a bus or even with their own automobile. In the past, the railroads (and Amtrak, in its earlier days) provided amenities that enhanced the travel experience. They had “route guides” that highlighted scenic places along the route, comfortable pillows for everybody, delicious food in the dining car, and other such features. Every train had a unique personality. Through the years and beginning in the mid-1970s, Amtrak has homogenized the rail travel experience. The food is the same, all single-level cars are the same, all Superliner cars are the same, and there is little effort on Amtrak’s part to give its trains a “regional” flavor, in the tradition of the heritage railroads.

There have been some attempts from time to time to give some trains a distinctive flavor; upgrades to the Coast Starlight and the Empire Builder under the guidance of Brian Rosenwald, and train-specific food items, such as New Orleans dishes on the City of New Orleans and Southern food on the Southern Crescent.

These initiatives are now part of history, and the only distinctive car on the entire Amtrak system is the “Pacific Parlor Car”; not a parlor car in its historic sense, but a separate lounge car on the Coast Starlight for sleeping-car passengers. Amtrak could reintroduce features of that sort and create some distinctiveness for each of its trains. It will not be easy to do this in the current economic climate, but an innovative management might be able to summon the courage to implement some changes that will add to a train’s distinctiveness and, therefore, its value as one of Amtrak’s brands.

Understanding its market segments is an important issue, but Amtrak does not even know where all of its potential riders are. Amtrak does not keep track of how many potential riders would like to ride a train, even though it cannot accommodate them. When a train is sold out, Amtrak does not take note of how many more customers would request that train, either through a reservation agent or on its web site. That means Amtrak has no idea how much pent-up demand it might have for a particular train, so it remains unable to meet that demand. There are also city-pairs which Amtrak should be serving more effectively than it does today. For various reasons, potential and unmet demand exists for rail travel, whether Amtrak serves a particular city-pair today or not. The next article in this series will consider unmet demand for Amtrak trains, and what Amtrak management can do to satisfy it.


Return to index
 

High-Speed Railroad Job

From The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Of December 16, 2011:

If politicians are good for anything, it ought to be reading polls. Yet there was Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week telling Congress that California’s high-speed railroad is “not a cheap project” but “the people in California want this.”

What people would that be? According to the latest Field poll, two-thirds of Californians want a new referendum on the project. And by a two-to-one margin, they say they’d vote to kill it.

In 2008 voters approved a $10 billion bond to fund the 500-mile bullet train, but cost estimates have since exploded to $100 billion from $33 billion and the mirage of federal government and private funding has disappeared. The high-speed rail authority has reduced its ridership estimates to 37 million from 90 million. Oh, and the train won’t connect San Francisco with Anaheim for another 30 years, if ever.

Mr. LaHood is nonetheless demanding that the state use $3.9 billion in federal money to build the first 130-mile segment in the Central Valley, where there’s supposedly less local resistance. However, no one is sure when the first segment running from Merced to Fresno would be operable since the state lacks the money to build and electrify the tracks. The authority’s back-up plan is to run Amtrak trains on the track, but the state’s watchdog Legislative Analyst’s Office questions their claim that the tracks would improve Amtrak service.

Another unanswered question: how the authority plans to raise the $90 billion or so to finance the rest of the train. The state has no money, Republicans in Congress have refused to appropriate funds, and private investors want a revenue guarantee, which the 2008 ballot measure prohibits. “As a result,” the watchdog agency writes, “it is highly uncertain if funding to complete the high-speed rail system will ever materialize.”

California Governor Jerry Brown is fond of putting questions to the voters these days, at least to raise taxes, so how about putting this railroad job to a new vote too?

Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

[NCI and Destination: Freedom invites reader comments on the above]


Return to index
 

A Tale Of Rediscovery

Reprinted With Permission
Published In The Newsletter Of The Midwest High-Speed Rail Association
By F. K. Plous

DECEMBER 6 -- I confess I was a little suspicious when my wife suggested we go check out Martin Scorsese’s new film “Hugo.” She knows I’m working on a book about the great downtown railroad stations of North America, so when she said, “You should like it — it’s set in a railroad station,” I could feel her pitching one straight to my strike zone.

So why did I bristle? Because I’ve been burned so many times by entertainment that bungles rail history or technology. Whenever somebody suggests a movie, book or television program with a railroad theme or setting, I just know that at some point the work is going to get the railroading wrong. Either there will be an anachronism — a 1920s scene with a steam locomotive that wasn’t designed until the ‘30s, for example, or a sleeping-car porter dressed in a conductor’s uniform, or passengers traveling on a European train will board a coach that any rail fan would easily recognize as American.

But in “Hugo” Scorsese doesn’t commit any of those blunders. He takes one modest piece of artistic license by telescoping the now demolished Gare Montparnasse into the still extant Gare du Nord, but in all other respects his 1930-era story is respectful toward railroading, including the hardware, the rituals and the costumes. Although the story isn’t “about” trains, the trains and the vast station are used with care to further a story about a plucky and resourceful orphan boy who lives alone in the steam-punk world of the station’s gigantic clockworks while trying to decode the operation of a mechanical man that his clock-maker father left unfinished when he died.

As you’ve probably learned from the rave reviews that already have appeared — if not from the film itself — the boy’s research entangles him with the elderly and grumpy proprietor of the station’s toy store, played to perfection by Ben Kingsley. “Papa Georges,” as Kingsley’s character is called, turns out to be none other than the great pioneer French film-maker Georges Méliès, reduced to selling toys in a railroad station because his studio went bust, tastes have changed and the public has forgotten his huge contributions to the foundations of cinema.

Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert loved “Hugo,” which he called Scorsese’s valentine to the art of film-making and a belated tribute to one of its once-forgotten pioneers. When the movie opens, Kingsley’s character insists he is nothing more than what he appears — an old man running a little shop in a railroad station. But as young Hugo becomes friends with the old man’s niece, and as he spends more time at their apartment, he discovers that “Papa Georges” actually is concealing a great secret — his titanic achievements as a producer-director-actor-stunt man, proprietor of the first film studio ever built and even an early cartoonist and animator.

(Spoiler Alert: Thanks to little Hugo’s discovery, Méliès receives the public recognition that had eluded him and in a grand ceremony re-introducing him to the Paris art world he addresses the camera with the tongue-in-cheek observation that “Happy endings happen only in the movies.” The power of this scene was retroactively enhanced by my later discovery that in his lifetime Méliès was indeed rediscovered and awarded the tributes and recognition he deserved — though without the help of any orphans hiding in clocks.)

“‘Hugo’ is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life,” Ebert writes. “We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about — movies.”

Ebert is entirely correct: “Hugo” is about the movies, and it is a long-overdue homage to one of the great practical visionaries who developed them as a technology, an art and a business.

But it’s also about something else — the loss and recovery of reputation — and that in itself ought to give American rail advocates some grounds for reassurance and excitement. For passenger trains in America suffered something very much akin to what happened to Georges Méliès in France: For a variety of reasons the public shunned them and then forgot about them, only to rediscover them and eventually re-embrace them — a process which in this country is only now beginning.

Cultural forgetting-followed-by-rediscovery is not limited to trains and movie directors. Does anyone now remember that the same thing happened to Johann Sebastian Bach? When my aunt took me to symphony concerts during my high-school years in the mid-1950s, I never heard a note of Bach — or Vivaldi, or Couperin, or Pachelbel or Buxtehude or any of the other Baroque masters — because their music had been in a sort of cultural eclipse for 150 years. By the middle of the 20th century the standard concert repertoire was limited almost entirely to the 19th-century Romantics — Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schuman, Mendelsohn — certainly nothing earlier than the 18th-century geniuses Hayden and Mozart plus a few early-20th-century composers such as Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Although our music-appreciation teacher told us the giants of music were the famous “Three Bs” — Bach, Beethoven and Brahms — she never actually played us any samples of the first “B:” too weird, too obscure for contemporary audiences.

But even as the contemporary culture mavens were airbrushing Bach out of the musical picture, the Polish harpsichordist Wanda Landowska and the Catalan cellist Pablo Casals were painting him back in. Their recordings sold slowly at first, then gathered momentum, so that by the time I entered the University of Illinois in the fall of 1958, some of the edgier guys in the dormitory were waving record albums at me and beckoning me to listen to the latest recording on the Angel label, which specialized in the burgeoning Baroque revival. “You ever hear this guy?” they would say, sitting me down to a little Vivaldi. “He does some amazing stuff.” By the time I entered grad school, Baroque music was all the rage. By 1970, Pachelbel’s Canon in d major had become a cult hit, and after Robert Redford used it as the theme for his 1980 directorial debut film “Ordinary People,” it escaped from cultdom to become a nationwide pop sensation and was widely adopted for use in weddings. Obscure no more, Baroque music is common enough today to be used in car commercials and occasionally even woven into rock music.

Tastes change — in both directions. Entire pavilions of cultural achievement — in art, technology and commerce — are neglected, disdained, ransacked, shuttered, the heat turned off — only to be rediscovered, rehabilitated and re-opened again by a later generation flushed with the fever of rediscovery. Reputations are restored to their rightful owners, and appreciation resumes at a higher level, except among politicians, of course.

How many of that species can you name who listen to Bach or recognize the name of Méliès? Probably about as many as have ridden a train. That’s unfortunate, because the second life of passenger trains in America cannot go forward without political support.

But even if the politicians are always the last to know, they still get there eventually, which means America eventually will get its trains. There’s no need to worry about the petroleum lobby or the highway barons. The trains are coming back simply because their time has come again and the historical spotlight has found them.

Time is like that: It causes things to go into hibernation and then it causes them to wake to renewed strength. A fresh generation of Americans has arrived bringing a fresh point of view and doing things differently. The kids don’t want to drive the way their parents did. They want to keep using their electronics while they travel, and cars won’t let them, so month by month Amtrak’s ridership keeps climbing — and so does transit and Megabus ridership. Americans are awakening from the spell of the car the way concert audiences awoke from the spell of the Romantics. The trains are coming back just as surely as Bach and Méliès came back. Depend upon it.

Be of good cheer, everybody. Merry Christmas. Be sure to see “Hugo,” and be sure to bring your kids — and the kid in you.

Fritz K. Plous is a former Chicago & North Western Railway. brakeman and former Chicago Sun-Times reporter who currently serves as director of communications at Corridor Capital LLC, Chicago.

(Editor’s note: This blog is timely! “Hugo” was just reviewed in local papers in Connecticut and has just appeared in local movie theatres.)


Return to index
NEWS ITEMS... News Items...  

Secretary LaHood Announces Funding For
46 Innovative Transportation Projects Through
Third Round Of Popular TIGER Program

Job-Creating Grants Announced Months Ahead Of Schedule As Part Of
The Obama Administration’s “We Can’t Wait” Initiative

From Internet Sources

DECEMBER 16 -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today that 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico will receive a total of $511 million from the third round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER program. The announcement comes months ahead of schedule, and will allow communities to move forward with critical, job-creating infrastructure projects including road and bridge improvements; transit upgrades; freight, port and rail expansions; and new options for bicyclists and pedestrians. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) received 848 project applications from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, requesting a total of $14.29 billion, far exceeding the $511 million made available for grants under the TIGER III program. 

“The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future,” said Secretary LaHood. “That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow.” 

In November, President Obama directed DOT to take common sense steps to expedite transportation projects by accelerating the process for review and approval and by leveraging private sector funding to promote growth and job creation. As part of that initiative, DOT accelerated the TIGER III application review process and has announced the awards before the end of 2011 – months ahead of the planned spring 2012 announcement.

The grants will fund a wide range of innovative transportation projects in urban and rural areas across the country:

Work has already begun on 33 planning projects while 58 capital projects are under way across the country from the previous two rounds of TIGER, and an additional 13 projects are expected to break ground over the next six months. 

In 2009 and 2010, the Department received a total of 2,400 applications requesting $76 billion, greatly exceeding the $2.1 billion available in the TIGER I and TIGER II grant programs.   In the previous two rounds, the TIGER program awarded grants to 126 freight, highway, transit, port and bicycle/pedestrian projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact. Projects are chosen for their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections. The Department also gives priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate increases in economic activity. 

The continuing demand for TIGER grants highlights the need for further investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure that could be provided by President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The American Jobs Act would provide $50 billion to improve 150,000 miles of road, replace 4,000 miles of track, and restore 150 miles of runways, creating jobs for American workers and building a safer, more efficient transportation network. It would also provide $10 billion for the creation of a bipartisan National Infrastructure bank.

A complete list of grant recipients can be viewed here: www.dot.gov/tiger/docs/FY2011_TIGER.pdf 


Return to index
 

Amtrak’s Number One-Ranked Train, The Tri-State Downeaster
Marks A Decade Of Service; Capitol Corridor Two Decades

By DF Staff And From TrainRiders Northeast (http://www.trainridersne.org/) And The Boston Globe At
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2011/12/12/portland-hub-amtrak-route-marks-decade-rail-service/A8fUk5hVpVqErKv03F00CI/story.html

PORTLAND, ME --- Amtrak’s Number-One Ranked Train, and one of its newest, The Downeaster, marked a decade of service this past week with ceremonies in Portland that included presentation of the George J. Mitchell Award to TrainRiders Northeast founder and chairman Wayne Davis, as work begins on expansion of the service north to Freeport (site of famed cataloguer L.L. Bean’s world headquarters and outlet store, and an important tourist destination) and Brunswick that is to begin in the new year.

The Downeaster serves Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine, from Boston’s North Station. It also coordinates its schedule with Boston-Portland bus service, giving riders multiple options for visiting Boston and Portland, and points in between, and then returning home at a convenient time.

Ridership has doubled over the past six years, and the number of passengers topped 500,000 for the first time in 2011, Amtrak said. All told, more than 3.5 million passengers have ridden the train.

“It’s been a success by every measure, and we’re looking forward to the expansion of the service,’’ said Stephen Gardner, an Amtrak vice president. “This is a corridor to watch.”

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which oversees the Portland-to-Boston service, had a string of events planned leading up to last Thursday’s anniversary.

Ridership took off starting in 2005, thanks to increased frequency of round-trip service, track improvements that have shortened travel time, and higher gasoline prices. For the 2011 fiscal year, ridership reached 509,986 passengers.

A $38.3 million track extension is expected to be completed in the new year, allowing stops in Freeport and Brunswick.

It took 13 years and more than $60 million in public funds for track upgrades and equipment and countless hours of negotiating to get passenger trains running in 2001 for the first time since 1965 on the 116-mile route.

On Thursday, Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority board members and others participated in a ceremony in Portland that coincides with the arrival of a ‘Toys for Tots’ train carrying nearly 150 schoolchildren from Berwick, Maine.

The Capitol Corridor in California also celebrated an anniversary last week - its 20. The service offers convenient, frequent and affordable daily trains between the Sacramento region and the Bay Area. What started in 1991 with just three roundtrips and 225,000 passengers annually has grown in the last 20 years to 32 trains carrying more than 1.7 million passengers annually.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) is thanking passengers for their loyalty and support over the past 20 years by offering them the chance to earn extra Amtrak Guest Rewards points and savings on tickets during the month of December.


Return to index
COMMUTERLINES... Commuter Lines...  

Boston’s South Station Expansion Chugging Along

Found At: http://www.bizjournals.com/

BOSTON --- The Patrick administration is on track to select a builder for what could be the start of a more than $200 million South Station expansion, The Boston Business Journal reports.

Richard Davey, secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said the agency has received proposals three firms competing to add 9 new tracks at South Station in preparation for expanded commuter rail and Amtrak service. The project includes the potential for future air-rights development over the station that would pave the way for an office tower and help the state pay for the pricey project that involves moving the adjacent U.S. Postal Service facility.

“The need to expand South Station is acute because we envision adding service to Worcester and the South Coast and Amtrak has ambitious plans to expand high-speed rail, so having a bigger station is key,” Davey told the Business Journal. “We are not building airports anymore and South Station is full, particularly at rush hour, with a train arriving or departing every 90 seconds — and any delays are felt by our passengers.”

Davey declined to name the contractors that have submitted bids. But a commercial real estate source close to the project said the builders include HNTB, a Kansas City mass transit builder and designer, Parsons Brinckerhoff, the New York contractor that handled much of the Big Dig and AECOM, a Los Angeles building and engineering firm.

The Bay State has secured $32 million in federal dollars for a study and engineering work that will be the basis for new rail construction documents at South Station. But more cash will be needed. While the U.S. Postal Service considers the fate of the 1.4 million-square-foot sorting facility on 14 acres amid a rash of closing slated for next year, the state is on the hook for either buying the facility or paying to build a new plant elsewhere to make room for the station expansion. Either way, it will cost. The assessed value of the postal facility is $177 million and the cost to build a new one is anyone’s guess.


Return to index
 

Illinois: Emanuel And Quinn Hope Bicycles
Will Fill The Missing Link In Mass Transit

Found At: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/10537109/il-emanuel-quinn-hope-bicycles-fill-the-missing-link-in-mass-transit;
By Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO --- Going from bicycle to train and even to airplane could be a breeze thanks to new funding designed to encourage creative solutions to urban congestion, officials said Thursday.

A $20 million federal transportation grant for Chicago that was first announced Monday will allocate $16 million toward repairs on the CTA Blue Line O’Hare branch and $4 million for the city’s planned bicycle-sharing project set to start next year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn said during an event at the Logan Square Blue Line station, 2620 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The Logan Square neighborhood near the CTA stop is a candidate to get one of 300 bike-sharing stations in 2012, Emanuel said. The city plans to provide 3,000 bikes for short-term use, for free or a modest fee, starting in June, to encourage less driving and more use of mass transit, and to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

The mass transit-bicycling connection encourages bike use before or after using transit, officials said. Users will pick up a bike from a self-service docking station, ride to their destination and drop off the bike at the nearest station.

Officials expect to expand the bike-sharing program to 4,000 bicycles and 400 stations near bus stops and rail stations by 2013.

The total cost of the Blue Line and bike projects is estimated at $64.6 million, according to a document provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. While the CTA and Chicago Department of Transportation are getting a total of $20 million, Chicago’s original grant application totaled $50 million -- $40 million for the CTA and $10 million for bike-sharing, CDOT spokesman Bill McCaffrey said.

Forty-six transportation projects nationwide will get a total of $511 million in this funding round, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. The top single amounts awarded were $20 million apiece to four projects, including Chicago’s.

The $16 million in the federal Tiger III economic stimulus funds for the CTA will be spent to eliminate slow zones on Blue Line track between Damen Avenue and Logan Square, officials said.

The grant will not cover all of the project’s $32 million cost, but the transit agency plans to use part of an operating budget surplus this year -- totaling $46.4 million through October -- to pay for the slow zone repairs, CTA President Forrest Claypool said.

“We’ll scramble to try to find a way to leverage (the grant money) and actually complete the project in a timely way” in 2013, Claypool said.

He said none of this year’s surplus will be used to reduce a projected $277 million budget deficit in 2012. The CTA is seeking $80 million in employee work-rule changes and other concessions from its labor unions.

Formal contract proposals will be submitted next week, and both sides will begin negotiations in January, Claypool said. Service cuts and fare increases could be implemented if an agreement is not reached, Claypool has warned.

Asked why he would use operating surplus dollars only for capital improvements rather than to bolster day-to-day operations and avoid a fare hike, Claypool said, “Anything that is not recurring predictably I don’t count as operational dollars because you can’t count on it to be there year after year.”

Contact: jhilkevitch@tribune.com; Copyright 2011 - Chicago Tribune


Return to index
TRANSITLINES... Transit Lines...  

Detroit Light-Rail Line Plan Scrapped

From Mass Transit Magazine
Found At:
http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/10531804/mi-detroit-light-rail-line-plan-scrapped
By Matt Helms, Paul Egan and John Gallagher
Source: Detroit Free Press

DETROIT --- An ambitious plan to build a light-rail line in Detroit has been scrapped in favor of a system of high-speed city and suburban buses, several officials briefed on the decision told the Free Press on Tuesday.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Detroit Mayor Dave Bing that doubts that Detroit could pay operating costs over the long term for the light-rail line because of the city’s and the state’s financial problems swayed him against the plan. The decision came despite earlier public support that included LaHood’s 2010 visit to Detroit to award a $25 million grant to get the project moving.

LaHood, President Barack Obama’s top transportation official, met last week with Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder, and the sides agreed that the better option is a system of rapid-transit buses operating in dedicated lanes on routes from downtown to and through the suburbs, the officials said.

The death of the light-rail plan brings an end to about four years of intensive effort by the city, private developers and nonprofit groups to create what was widely viewed as the most promising attempt in decades for a light-rail system to Detroit.

Bing’s office wouldn’t release details of the discussions but said the mayor and LaHood agreed that the city, where more than 60 percent of residents with jobs work in the suburbs, would be better served by high-speed buses instead of rail, said Bing spokesman Dan Lijana.

“Mayor Bing and Secretary LaHood have had numerous conversations and are on the same page on the future of transit in Detroit,” Lijana said.

Geralyn Lasher, a spokeswoman for Snyder, said the governor has been supportive of a rapid transit bus system for Detroit and southeast Michigan, but light rail trains are “out of our lane. ... We’ve always been more in the line of the rapid bus.”

Details about how the rapid bus system would be built weren’t available. Officials said the federal money already granted to Detroit can be transferred to a new bus system.

The decision to scrap the light-rail plan outraged Megan Owens, director of the Detroit advocacy group Transportation Riders United, who said she had heard rumblings in recent weeks that “the project was in trouble.”

Supporters said the light-rail line would spur major residential and commercial redevelopment well in excess of what it would cost to build the line.

“We’re basically throwing away a $3 billion economic development investment,” Owens said. “I’m outraged Mayor Bing would let this happen on his watch.”


Return to index
 

N.J. Transportation Chief Says He Did His Best
To Improve ARC Project While Heading FTA

Rider Advocates Voice Approval

By David Peter Alan

In a speech entitled “Why the ARC Project Was Canceled,” New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James S. Simpson told an audience of transportation professionals that he made a best effort to improve the project while he served as Federal Transit Administrator in the Bush Administration. He related the history of his efforts at a meeting of the Transportation Research Forum which was held on December 1st in Newark. This was an unusual venue for TRF, commented rider advocate Joseph M. Clift. Normally, their meetings are held in New York City.

Simpson told the audience about numerous meetings he had with New Jersey, New York and Amtrak officials while the project was under consideration for an FTA New Starts grant. He abandoned that effort when he was informed that the project was to be considered a local one, and he criticized local and regional officials for not cooperating to make such an important project a regional endeavor.

He also criticized changes in the project, especially the removal of a proposed connection from the new track into Penn Station, which would have allowed both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit (NJT) trains to use the new tunnels that the project would have built. He said this decision was made stealthily, and that it deprived Amtrak, which owns the NEC, of the benefits of the project. It also cut the ARC Project off from potential High-Speed Rail funding. In addition, he said it would have been cost-effective to build new tracks to Grand Central Terminal (GCT) on Manhattan’s East Side, which would have been good for New Jersey commuters who work in the area. The East Side component of the project would have saved them twenty minutes in commuting time each way with a trip that would have been only two minutes longer, according to Simpson. Such a project would have produced $15 billion worth of benefit for an additional $2 million in cost, he said.

The original ARC (“Access to the Region's Core”) Project called for the construction of new tunnels and two new tracks to augment Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC) between the New Jersey meadowlands and Penn Station, New York. One of the original proposals called for extension of the line to GCT, as well. Rider advocates from around the region supported this alternative when it was proposed in 1995. The East Side proposal was withdrawn in 2003, when New York lost interest in the project. It was later changed to include a stub-end deep-cavern terminal twenty stories below 34th Street, and a planned connection between the new tracks and the existing Penn Station was scrapped as a cost-cutting measure.

Simpson headed the FTA until 2009, when President Bush left office. He returned to government when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed him Commissioner of Transportation for the Garden State when he took office in 2010. Christie terminated the ARC Project in the fall of that year. In New Jersey, the transportation commissioner also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of NJT.

Simpson expressed concern that the project’s cost estimate remained at $8.7 billion as the project went through final design, while project costs usually rise over time, with a graph showing a 45-degree angle in the relationship between time and cost estimates. He criticized the final version of the ARC Project as not being cost-effective, since it would cost far more than previously stated (roughly $13 billion) and not provide the benefits of connectivity into the existing Penn Station, or access to the East Side.

He also said that the transit and engineering industries had little experience building mega-projects of this magnitude. He criticized a project in Washington D.C. that would extend the Metro rail system to Dulles Airport. That project was overpriced and not cost-effective, he said, especially when the existing Metro system was not in a state of good repair.

Simpson concluded by saying that, without a regional partnership, large projects of this sort could not be built. He recommended involvement of the private sector and said it was worthwhile to spend more time to get the best project. He questioned whether a region-wide system would be better than the current one. This speculation pleased New York advocate George Haikalis, Chair of the Regional Rail Working Group, which has been pushing for a regional approach to rail in the New York and New Jersey area. “Simpson was right when he called for regional cooperation. It’s a no-brainer” he said, and added: “This is a welcome change, and we look forward to a similar change on the New York side.”

Other rider advocates in the audience were also impressed with Simpson's presentation. James T. Raleigh, Political Director of the Lackawanna Coalition and President of Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, said that Simpson had shown that he had done the best he could to advance a project that was better than the one that was finally under consideration. “He did well weaving his concerns about mega-projects in general into his criticism of the ARC and of the Dulles Project,” Raleigh said. Raleigh was impressed with Simpson’s knowledge of the subject and with his efforts to get the best possible project while he was at the FTA. “He [Simpson] praised Governor Christie for the way he communicated his decision to the public. “The taxpayers are entitled to an explanation,” Simpson said, “and Christie gave one.”

Clift, who was Director of Planning for the Long Island Rail Road and is now Technical Director of the Lackawanna Coalition, said: “His speech was like looking in a mirror. He said what we have been saying for the last six years. Somebody has to take the lead to get things going, and here is a guy positioned well to take the initiative for a new trans-Hudson mobility project. He has the position, the perspective and the background.”

David Peter Alan is Chair of the Lackawanna Coalition. He participated in the effort to defeat the ARC Project for many of the same reasons that Simpson cited.


Return to index
FUNDING LINES... Funding Lines...  

Facing Funding Shortfalls And Protest,
Better Rail For Boston Region Is Delayed

Found At: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/

Opportunities for rerouting commuter rail via the Grand Junction in Cambridge are criticized by community members who fear
increases in pollution. Meanwhile, the long-planned Green Line extension in Somerville is threatened by budget limitations.

Just northwest of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville are some of the nation’s exemplar cities when it comes to promoting transportation alternatives. In Somerville, 48% of the population rides transit, walks, or bikes to work; in Cambridge, 57% do. The explanation likely comes down to a strong commitment to livable streets in both cities, a large student population, high residential densities, community activism against limited-access highways, and big concentrations of jobs both in the traditional office center of Downtown Boston but also in the walkable Kendall Square-MIT and Harvard Square areas, both along the Red Line rapid transit corridor.

Yet, with the exception of the Red Line — extended north of Harvard Square in the early 1980s — reliable transit access in the two cities is limited. Buses crisscross the area, but they are stuck in traffic at all periods of the day due to the lack of reserved lanes. Commuter rail lines that extend through the area only stop once, at the Porter Square Red Line station. These limitations have strained the Red Line, which now suffers from overcrowding at peak hours, and limited the potential for growth. In addition, partially because of the penury of transit stations around which to build up, the Boston region is one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

For years, plans for transit access improvements, clearly merited considering the area’s demographics and potential, have been under development by the Boston-area transit agency, MBTA. A circumferential bus rapid transit line, the Urban Ring, would have allowed commuters from Cambridge and Somerville to get to Boston’s jobs-heavy Longwood Medical Area or Logan Airport without passing through congested downtown — but it was put on indefinite hold last year due to a funding shortfall. Now, an extension of the Green Line light rail line into Somerville is threatened by similar concerns. And the reactivation of the Grand Junction commuter rail corridor through Cambridge has been put off by community resistance.

The Green Line extension is one of the most promising transit projects in the country. It is expected to carry about 45,000 daily riders along its four-mile, two-pronged route, with termini in Somerville’s active Union Square neighborhood and Tufts University, just across the Somerville city line in Medford, following two existing commuter rail corridors in a fully separated right-of-way. The state has previously said it plans to begin construction at the end of next year, with the opening of the first stations planned for 2016. The program is expensive — about $1 billion for its completion.

The Grand Junction, meanwhile, is a lightly used railroad that runs from Boston University, across the Charles River, through Cambridge, to the existing commuter rail corridors in East Cambridge; it is the only link between the commuter rail corridors emanating from Boston’s North and South Stations, which are on opposite sides of downtown. The Grand Junction, purchased from CSX in 2010, runs through the Cambridgeport, Kendall Square, and Area IV neighborhoods of Cambridge and past MIT. The plan developed by MassDOT — abandoned for now — would have routed some commuter trains from Worcester to North Station along this route in order to provide better access to Kendall and decrease congestion at South Station, which is expected to see increasing use due to higher ridership on the commuter rail network and plans for expanded Amtrak Northeast Corridor operations, which end there.

Neighbors of the Grand Junction have opposed the commuter rail rerouting project from the beginning, suggesting that it would increase air pollution due to diesel emissions from the heavy, long, non-electrified trains. State Representative Tim Toomey, in concert with many of his neighbors, hailed MassDOT’s announcement last week that it would cancel the program.

The state’s own studies suggested that the new train services, including a $30 million upgrade at Kendall Square, would do little to improve ridership; only about 300 new riders would be expected to use them. And the line’s six street grade crossings would have posed a significant problem, especially at Massachusetts Avenue, along which a huge percentage of the automobile traffic between Boston and Cambridge travels. And yet the Urban Ring, which would have partially run along the same corridor, was expected to attract 184,000 daily riders, many of them in Cambridge. What gives?

Fundamentally, the problem with the current commuter rail plans for the Grand Junction was that they would have provided infrequent, limited-stop service in an area of the region that demands frequent operations with many stops. Connecting Boston University with MIT and North Station without running through downtown remains a good idea. And neighborhood groups might get on board if the plan is adapted to include stops in Cambridgeport and Area IV, two neighborhoods with only minimal connections to the existing network. This project deserves to be resurrected using low pollution diesel multiple unit trains, electric light rail vehicle, or BRT on its ridership merits alone. Fortunately, MassDOT left the project’s development open as a future possibility.

Community opposition, on the other hand, is certainly not a problem for the Green Line extension, which has nearly universal support from Somerville residents and politicians, who are excited about the opportunity for better and faster connections throughout the city and into downtown. But funding this huge infrastructure program is the bigger concern. Following a lawsuit over the Big Dig project (which interred a highway through central Boston), the state agreed as a form of air pollution mitigation to fund a number of major transit projects, including the Green Line extension. But the costs of the project were forced on the already debt-ridden MBTA; no alternative funding plan has yet been developed.

Though the state is required by legal settlement to improve transit into Somerville, the fate of the Green Line remains up in the air; earlier this year, there were rumors that its completion might be delayed until 2018 or later. U.S. Representative Michael Capuano of Somerville sounded the alarm last week, suggesting that the state should limit its ambitions to reflect funding realities, especially while pro-transit Democratic Governor Deval Patrick remains in office. Mr. Capuano’s proposal would be to build the extension only to Union Square and Washington Street, failing altogether to address connectivity deeper into Somerville. New stations would be built on the commuter rail line to make up for the loss of light rail access.

Yet this proposal would fail to provide the all-day frequent service rapid transit lines offer the rest of the Boston region. And it would force those using the line to transfer at North Station, preventing them direct access to other destinations in downtown Boston as well as further out to Northeastern University, Boston University, the Longwood Medical Area, and Brookline. Using heavy diesel trains rather than electrified light rail vehicles — just as in the Grand Junction case — would likely increase air emissions in the area, defeating the mitigation aspect of the project altogether. Replacing the Green Line with commuter service operating less frequently would doubtless attract far fewer riders.

Like in many metropolitan areas, funding for transport in Boston and its close-in suburbs is always tight. The exciting opportunity to improve on the fantastic transportation use patterns already present in Cambridge and Somerville, however, should encourage local leaders and politicians to fight for new revenue sources. And in the process, they should argue for the refinement of existing transit plans to better serve communities along their routes.


Return to index
 

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs):
The Need For Institution Building

From The Council Of State Governments

Let’s revisit our most fundamental question, how do states and groups of states form capital to invest in transportation infrastructure? In the short-term, the answer remains increases in the excise taxes on motor fuel.

However, these revenues can be supplemented through other financial instruments. A recent report by Brooking (See: http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2011/1208_transportation_istrate_puentes.aspx) concludes that the United States needs to take better advantage of, and facilitate, the use of public/private partnerships (PPPs) for investments.

The report quotes a poll by the financial advisory firm Lazard, which shows a strong willingness for public entities to consider private investment in infrastructure. The Brookings report, however, shows that the United States lags behind in this area. In the quarter-century from 1985 and 2011, there were 377 PPPs in the U.S., a scant 9 percent of the total amount of infrastructure PPPs around the world.

The problem is not just the unwillingness to consider these arrangements. Increasingly, it seems to be an institutional challenge as public entities are ill-equipped to execute such deals; while, at the same time, fully protecting the public interest. As a result, nothing gets done.

Today, the private sector is seeking more legislative certainty prior to bidding on projects. It has little appetite for negotiating transactions that are subject to legislative, or other, major political approvals. While 31 states have enabling legislation for using PPPs for construction projects on highways, roads, and bridges, and 21 have the authority for transit projects, the wide differences among legislative language in the states, makes it time-consuming, and costly, for private partners who wish to engage in PPPs in multiple states to handle the different procurement and management processes required.

The United States can learn from the experiences of 31 other countries that have established specialized units throughout various governmental agencies to assist with the expanding opportunities for PPPs. These so-called PPP Units fulfill different functions such as quality control, policy coordination, and promotion. In the U.S., the primary purpose would be to provide technical, non-binding information, assistance, and advice to states and metropolitan governments.

The report’s authors, Emilia Istrate and Robert Puentes write:

“But while the federal government can certainly be helpful, the real action is going to come from the states. Today three states (Virginia, California, and Michigan) have established dedicated PPP units. While too early to tell if they are successful, states are rapidly learning that they need to build capacity for development of PPP projects.”

They added: “We learned at a recent Brookings event that private sector firms and investors focus on what they call “can-do” states. Those are not just the ones where they can work unfettered, but those where they know the public policy risk is minimized by a fruitful legislative and institutional environment. They need to know they’ll get a fair shake and deals won’t be scuttled at the last moment.”

CSG-ERC member actions:

Recently, New York’s Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, agreed to a plan to create New York’s first infrastructure fund and to inject over $1 billion in job creating investments.

This week, Governor Cuomo signed into law the New York Works Infrastructure Fund Act. This accelerated state funding plan will leverage $10 billion in direct capital investment to create thousands of direct jobs by rebuilding roads and bridges; parks, dams and flood control projects; upgrading water systems and educational facilities; and investing in energy efficient improvements to commercial and residential buildings.

The plan will focus on projects that support regional Economic Development Plans in the transportation, energy, environment and public facilities sectors. It is also important to note that the accelerated infrastructure fund investment is within the state’s debt ceiling.

The historic legislation will permit the design and construction of infrastructure projects as a single contract, thus reducing costs and improving construction time. The enactment of the law permits design-build on infrastructure projects for the first time in the state’s history, and is expected to shave 9 - 12 months from the construction time of major infrastructure projects.

Additionally, permitting and regulatory approvals will be streamlined for infrastructure projects, and procurements and will consolidate activities across agencies and authorities.

Financing for the infrastructure fund will be provided through advancing capital investment, and the creation of a public/private infrastructure fund. $700 million in state capital investments would be front loaded to increase job and economic impact by moving up capital projects planned for 2013 to 2012 wherever possible.

An additional $300 million from the Port Authority would be directed towards funding for infrastructure projects in New York City. The new public/private infrastructure fund would raise up to $1 billion from pension funds and private investment.

Among others, Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania are considering, and implementing PPP legislation.

Canada is an international leader in PPPs: There is quite a bit we can learn from Canada’s efforts:

The authoritative PW Financing report (November 2011, Page 7) offers the following:

There have been 159 PPP projects awarded in Canada since 1993 totally over CDN$50 billion, representing 15 percent of the market. There have been no defaults. Capital cost savings on large projects average about 20%, according to an informal survey by Macquarie.

Infrastructure Ontario, the largest of Canada’s provincial PPP agencies, has contracted for 50 projects worth Cdn$21 billion, including Cdn$12 billion for transit and highway projects.

There are 28 equity investors act in the Canadian PPP market. Four of the top 10 infrastructure investors in the world are Canadian companies.

The CSG-ERC Transportation Committee will continue to track PPPs and other evolving financial instruments.

For more information, please contact: David Ewing, 703 402-840 and Steve Hewitt, 845-616-3076, CSG/ERC Transportation Policy Co-Consultants.


Return to index
STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Berkshire Hathaway B (BNSF)(BRK.B)75.1377.31
Canadian National (CNI)73.0177.57
Canadian Pacific (CP) 61.9663.57
CSX (CSX)20.3421.32
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)58.1561.25
Kansas City Southern (KSU)63.8166.38
Norfolk Southern (NSC)69.8273.79
Providence & Worcester(PWX)11.7011.95
RailAmerica (RA)13.5714.09
Union Pacific (UNP)99.88101.75
 


Return to index

 

WEBMASTER NOTES... Webmaster Notes...  

With this edition of Destination: Freedom, we close out the 2011 calendar year.

As has become customary since we started publication, we will now take a much-needed winter break through the holiday season.

The next edition of Destination: Freedom will be issued on January 9, 2012.

The staff of the National Corridors Initiative, Inc. wishes you a joyous holiday season! See you in 2012!

D. Kirkpatrick
Webmaster

 


END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2011 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

Web page links as reproduced in our articles are active at the time we go to press. Occasionally, news and information outlets may opt to archive these articles and notices under alternative web addresses after initial publication. NCI has no control over the policies of other web sites and regrets any inconvenience experienced when clicking off our web site.

We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, we’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail the editor at editor@nationalcorridors.org. Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write. For technical issues contact D. Kirkpatrick, NCI’s webmaster at webmaster@nationalcorridors.org.

Photo submissions are welcome. NCI is always interested in images that demonstrate the positive aspects of rail, transit, intermodalism, transportation-oriented development, and current newsworthy events associated with our mission. Please contact the webmaster in advance of sending large images so we can recommend attachment by e-mail or grant direct file transfer protocols (FTP) access depending on size. Descriptive text which includes location and something about the content of the image is required. We will credit the photographer and offer a return link to your web site or e-mail address.

In an effort to expand the on-line experience at the National Corridors Initiative web site, we have added a page featuring links to other transportation initiative sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives – state DOTs, legislators, government offices, and transportation organizations or professionals – as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. If you have a favorite link, please send the web address (URL) to our webmaster.

Destination Freedom is partially funded by the Surdna Foundation, and other contributors.

|| Top of Page || Past Newsletter Editions || NCI Home Page || Contact Us

  || page viewings since date of release.