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Links roundup—extended transit edition (with subway food bans, subway love stories & Twitter transit data)

January 30, 2012

Bridge Authority

  • Tolls go up on five mid-Hudson bridges today. The Bridge Authority calls the 25 and 50% increases “modest,” but drivers probably disagree. [TU Capitol Confidential]

MTA

  • The MTA may refinance as much as $6.7 billion of debt this year. [Bloomberg]
  • Lady McCartney has stepped down her position on the MTA board. [Transportation Nation]
  • Remembering the MTA’s 2005 transit strike. [2nd Ave. Sagas]
  • It could happen again: the Transport Workers Union has refused to rule out the possibility of a subway strike as its contentious negotiations with the MTA remain ongoing. [Gothamist]
  • Legislation has been proposed to ban food on the subways, which is probably a great way to get rid of rats, at least theoretically. [2nd Ave. Sagas] [S.B. 6312]
  • The MTA’s new “Pledge to Customers” promises to get Metro-North and LIRR riders to their destinations safely, comfortably, and on time. [Gothamist]
  • Starting in February, MetroCards will finally be refillable. [2nd Ave. Sagas] [Gothamist]
  • Refillable MetroCards are good news for pretty much everyone, except for John Jones, a homeless man who’s spent the past decade collecting discarded fares and bundling them into new MetroCards that he then sells to subway riders—a technically illegal scheme that’s netted him about $20,000. [The Atlantic Cities]

Port Authority

  • A preliminary audit of the Port Authority, initiated after the approval of steep toll increases last fall, is expected to criticize the authority’s prior leadership but offer few suggestions on how it could save money. [Crain’s NY]
  • More commuters rode PATH trains in 2011 than in any other year since the Port Authority took over the rail system in 1962. [WSJ Metropolis Blog]

The Tappan Zee 

  • Predictably, people want more details about the $15 billion in transportation funding in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget. Of particular concern is where the money will come from, seeing as the state doesn’t really have it. [WSJ] [StreetsBlog]
  • The state has released a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, finding no serious environmental challenges. Transit advocates, however, say the DEIS doesn’t adequately address why transit isn’t included. [Transportation Nation]

Transit news from beyond New York

  • Train in Vain: the idiotic Department of Transportation rule that’s hobbled America’s mass transit—and the wonderful regulation that may soon replace it. [Slate]
  • What can transit authorities learn from Twitter? [The Atlantic Cities]
  • How to pay for America’s infrastructure: state infrastructure banks. [The Atlantic]
  • Starting in July, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will no longer allow alcohol advertisements on subway cars, trains, and buses. [Boston Globe]
  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day: Philadelphia’s transit agency, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, created a website where couples who met on the city’s buses, subways, or trolleys can submit their love stories. [The Atlantic Cities]
  • The D.C. Metro board is considering a $6 fare for peak paper tickets. [Transportation Nation]
  • Funding for California’s high-speed rail program, the first phase of which is estimated to cost around $100 billion, is becoming “increasingly risky,” according to a new state audit. [Courthouse News Service]
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