By Mark Ginocchio
Published March 21 2007
WESTPORT - Federal Highway Administration officials yesterday urged state lawmakers to install highway tolls that charge motorists different rates based on peak and off-peak hours.
The tolling method, called congestion or value pricing, helps reduce traffic during rush hour while providing the state with cash for transportation improvements, said Patrick DeCorla-Souza, program manager for the administration's congestion pricing initiative.
Other cities worldwide use the method successfully, and other transportation systems, such as airlines and railroads, already charge varying rates based on peak hours, DeCorla-Souza said at a meeting at Westport Police Department headquarters organized by the South Western Regional Planning Agency.
"People understand that at certain times during the year, certain goods and services are more valuable," DeCorla-Souza said at the event, attended by about 30 municipal leaders and legislators from Fairfield County. "The idea now is to help them understand it in the transportation arena."
By Mark Bowden
Once more, SEPTA is on the ropes. It faces a $130 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year, and unless the state finds a way to plug the hole, services will be cut and fares increased.
In other words, business as usual. Mass transit gets short shrift most places in this country, but nowhere is the political deck stacked against it more deliberately than in Philadelphia. This despite the fact that the city is blessed with a transit infrastructure that would be prohibitively expensive to build today, is being used by about a third of the city's commuters (a percentage that is inching up), and is . . . you guessed it, gradually rotting away.
Trains (and Patience) Stretched Thin in Chicago
By LIBBY SANDER
CHICAGO, March 25 - The century-old elevated train system here is as much a city fixture as the towering skyline and the piercing blue waters of Lake Michigan.
But deteriorating tracks and trains, chronic budget shortfalls and a region ever more dependent on rail service are forcing Chicagoans to confront the possibility that the system, commonly known as the El or the L, may be at a breaking point.
"We're living on borrowed time," said Frank Kruesi, the president of the Chicago Transit Authority, which runs the rail service. "The fact is, there's no magic wand when we're looking at modernizing a system that's 100 years old in a very dense urban environment."
The El, with its 1,190 rail cars and 222 miles of track, is the rail component of the transit authority, the second-largest public transit system in the country after New York's. The C.T.A.'s trains and buses serve the city and 40 suburbs, logging 1.55 million rides daily. The El alone accounted for more than 195 million rides last year.