This is an ongoing series that will keep you informed about the goings-on in the transit industry. Hopefully, it will provide little perspective on the larger environment in which DART operates.
President Biden’s infrastructure program sparks big conversations in the transit world; the Transportation Secretary speaks of the need for “generational investment” in transit and other projects; and, throughout the nation, agencies keep on keepin’ on, with new initiatives and technologies.
Here’s the news this week:
Getting out of the car
Wired reports on the impact President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure program could have on the nation’s transportation network. The takeaway:
Budgets may make for boring reading, but they’re also signaling documents, telling the public about their leaders’ priorities. The infrastructure proposal seems to say: Consider getting your butt out of your car.
Opportunity of a lifetime
C-Span broadcasts Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s testimony to Congress, in which he lays out his priorities for transit and other transportation projects. He stresses the importance of a “generational investment” in transportation infrastructure and speaks about low-emission transit systems and high-speed rail. A highlight:
“Just like those who summoned the will to build the transcontinental railroad in the 1800s and the interstate highway system in the 1950s, we too have the opportunity now to imagine and create a different future for American transportation.”
The American Public Transportation Association reports on the big goals the transit industry can embrace in view of emergency COVID-19 funding. The association’s press release notes:
“The outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States produced profound changes to the economy, our work, and how we live our daily lives. But as cities and towns were shutting down […] transit delivered front-line workers to critical jobs at hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stories, fire and police stations, and utility companies. We carried passengers to life-sustaining health care services; we transported medicines, meals, PPE, and other critical supplies to at-risk populations.”
The year that was
Metro Magazine has a feature in which transit employees from throughout the nation reflect on the past year with its extraordinary challenges. Says one:
“Being flexible with the ever-changing operating environment is key … If it was not for our flexibility, we probably could’ve ended up with more positive COVID cases in our workforce and community and not having the right service levels for what was needed.”
Elsewhere in transit: St. John’s Country, Fla., gears up for commuter rail; Southern California’s Metrolink sets a framework to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve zero emissions by 2028; and in Boston, the transit authority undertakes plans to consolidate stations.