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Muni Fail

Federal scrutiny could threaten funding for the Central Subway boondoggle.  A recent letter from a top Obama administration transportation official obtained bySF Weekly suggests to critics that the ground-breaking ceremony may have been premature.

U.S. May Set Rule Requiring Brake Override System on Cars

The Obama administration is considering requiring all automobiles to contain a brake override system intended to prevent sudden acceleration episodes like those that have led to the recall of millions of Toyotas, the Transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, said Tuesday....The brake override system, already a feature on many automobiles sold worldwide, is meant to deactivate the accel

Digital Billboards, Diversions Drivers Can’t Escape

Safety advocates who worry about the dangers of distracted driving have a new concern beyond cellphones and gadget-laden dashboards: digital roadside billboards. These high-tech billboards marry the glow of Times Square with the immediacy of the Internet. Images change every six to eight seconds, so advertisers can flash timely messages — like the latest headlines, coffee deals at dawn, a cheeseburger at lunchtime or even the song playing on a radio station at that moment.

Muni Plans for Full Transition to TransLink Smart Card

While AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and transbay ferries already accept Translink, in the coming years, nearly every Bay Area transit agency is expected to adopt the payment cards. That means TransLink could soon be more than just a curious novelty to most Muni riders, especially if the MTA Board votes tomorrow on a plan to transition all Muni fare media to the green plastic smart card within the next year or so, starting with the "premium" Adult "A" monthly Fast Pass this June.

A Muni Rescue Plan (Editorial)

It might be possible to balance Muni's budget without major service cuts or wage concessions from the operators union, but it would not be pain free. A menu of deficit-reduction options has been put on the table by San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR), a group that has been at the forefront of pushing for improvements to the city's transit system.

Big Plans, Empty Pockets

A lack of money is hobbling local governments' plans to transform their towns from sprawling cul-de-sac suburbs into dense urban centers....The Washington region is the nation's model for "smart growth," said University of California at Berkeley engineering professor ROBERT CERVERO, but the approach isn't a panacea. "Basically, you can't go into a depressed part of the country and expect to improve it by stacking up buildings around transit stations," he said. "It's not automatic, and there's a lot of examples where it does nothing."

State DOTs Explain Consequences of HTF Shutdown, Urge Congress to Promptly Resolve

Leaders of 21 state transportation departments held a news conference this afternoon at the AASHTO Washington Briefing in Crystal City, VA, imploring Congress to act quickly to restore legal authority for the Highway Trust Fund so federal reimbursements to the states for highway and transit projects can resume.  "States cannot proceed doing business as usual -- planning projects, implementing projects, and financing projects -- without any kind of certainty about federal funds.

3/1/2010 Funding Fight Means DOT Will Begin Furloughs Today

The Department of Transportation will furlough nearly 2,000 employees without pay today, due to a congressional conflict over funding. DOT said it will cease making reimbursements to states for highway construction and maintenance projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Also affected is funding for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, which reimburses states for expenses associated with truck safety....At issue is a short-term extension of the federal highway program, which Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., blocked last Friday.

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