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Bay Area Public Transit May Take Another Budget Hit

Now, transit leaders say they worry about a state budget bill that would eliminate the state sales tax on gasoline — a longtime source of transit money — in favor of an increase in the per-gallon excise tax on gasoline....The bill, which the Assembly approved Monday and sent on to the Senate, also would give local governments the authority to make up any revenue losses by seeking voter approval for a local per-gallon fee on gasoline.

Bay Area High-Speed Rail Track Alignment Details Delayed Again

The planners responsible for the Bay Area section of the high-speed rail line have again delayed the release of a report detailing whether the bullet train could rocket along the Caltrain route underground or on raised tracks...In a Sept. 30 report, planners said the track alignments they would study to accommodate Caltrain and a high-speed rail included underground tunnels and trenches, street level and raised structures.

Our Own Bridge to Nowhere

Imagine you live in Oakland. It's a beautiful day and you have plans to do something with a friend who lives in San Francisco. You hop on your bike and ride over the new Bay Bridge: The 7-mile trip is easy, and offers beautiful views of the bay...Except that your bike lane ends suddenly at Yerba Buena Island, leaving you no choice but to turn around, go home and take BART — for $7 — or pay a $5 toll and add your car to the traffic grinding across the bridge.

DUI Checkpoints Meet Rising Skepticism

DAVID RAGLAND, professor, University of California, Berkeley: It's a common perception that driving without a license is a victimless crime. And, in fact, it's not.... In 20 percent of traffic fatalities, there's at least one unlicensed driver involved. And the risk of being in a hit-and-run crash is even higher. Therefore, it is extremely important that we find a way to get people without licenses off the road.

Companies to Build High-speed Rail Cars in the US

With a high-speed passenger rail network proposed for the US, companies are gearing up to build the equipment on American soil....High-speed rail is arriving at a critical "tipping point" that could radically spur growth of passenger rail manufacturing, says Art Guzzetti, vice president of policy for the American Public Transportation Association, a Washington-based association of public transportation providers nationwide.

Under-taxed Americans are Too Broke to Finance Sustainability Infrastructure

As America struggles to make its cities more energy efficient and build mass transit, electric car charging stations, smart grids, sources of renewable energy, modern water systems and even schools and roads, we face financial challenges in every way. Travel through Europe or Asia and you will see high tech airports and state-of-the-art bullet trains; come to New York City and you see a run-down JFK Airport and the converted warehouse we call Penn Station. 

Aviation Data Suggests a Mixed-Bag of Rail Riders

One of the first stand-out elements is that two of the major corridors--Florida and Wisconsin--don’t maintain air service between their target metropolitan areas. For these corridors, the states are going to need cars to come off the road instead of than planes off the tarmac....For the other six corridors, the flashing-light is just how much California is an outlier compared to the other four.

Unlicensed Drivers: A View From California (Letter to the Editor)

 There is nothing wrong if sobriety checkpoints find people who are “only” driving without a license....Compared with licensed drivers, unlicensed drivers are 4.9 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash; 3.7 times more likely to drive while impaired; and 4.4 times more likely to be in hit-and-run crashes. (MR. RAGLAND is adjunct professor of public health and founder of the U.C. Berkeley Traffic Safety Center/Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), which administers the financing for the California sobriety and seatbelt checkpoint programs.

U.S. Driving Decline is in Reverse

The historic drop in driving that began in 2007 and the dramatic decline in gridlock that accompanied it have ended, according to a report today by a firm that tracks congestion in the USA....Traffic congestion is still about two-thirds of 2007 peak levels but likely to get worse, says Rick Schuman, author of INRIX's 2009 National Traffic Scorecard.

Fed Guarantee Helps BrightSource Energy Plan

BrightSource Energy Inc. of Oakland won $1.37 billion in federal loan guarantees Monday to build solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, becoming the latest Bay Area green-tech company to receive major financial backing from the U.S. government. The money will help BrightSource build the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a collection of three solar-thermal power plants that will use mirrors to focus sunlight and generate electricity. Together, the three plants near the Nevada border will produce enough power for 140,000 homes.

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