Headline News

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  • The Metropolitan Transportation Agency voted unanimously  to spend an estimated $1.6 million in federal funds dedicated to improving transit performance and ridership on a 16-month program offering free Fast Passes to low-income San Franciscans under 18.

    SF Chronicle
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     What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens in California is never so shy. Or so it seems in the case of a homegrown, Golden State partisan brawl over high-speed rail that has spilled onto the House floor and into year-end budget negotiations. At stake is a multibillion-dollar, years-in-the-works public works project — but also a governmentwide spending bill that could play into the high-stakes deficit-reduction talks between Congress and the White House....At issue is a House provision adopted in late June on a highly partisan vote triggered by the California Republican delegation. It would bar any new federal money from going to the Brown-backed California High-Speed Rail Authority.

    Politico
  • ...Susan Shaheen, a University of California-Berkeley researcher, says the heavy use of Facebook and social media makes renting cars from "friends" via an agency a safer transaction. "You get to meet the people online, and they are reviewed and rated by customers," Shaheen says. Additionally, the services can track the location of the car and ID, "which help prevent those types of instances," she says.

    USA Today
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    LaHood told POLITICO on Wednesday that he will discuss his future in the Cabinet once the president is finished with fiscal cliff negotiations...Speculation has swirled around LaHood’s future after he recently backed off comments made last year that he would retire after the president’s first term.

    Politico
  • Don't be surprised to see a decline in electric car prices over the next several months. When Chevrolet introduced its Spark EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, it said the car will sell for less than $25,000 after a federal tax rebate...A week ago, Nissan disclosed that the version of the Leaf electric vehicle it sells in Japan will see a price drop and an increase in driving range per charge.

    LA Times
  • Top legislators from California yesterday voiced their opposition to a proposal that would significantly change a new program aimed at trimming harmful air emissions from ships along the U.S. coast.

    E&E News
  • The Senate yesterday evening passed a $631 billion defense policy bill that would preserve the military's ability to purchase more costly biofuels, authorize $150 million in energy conservation projects and make a handful of reforms to the Defense Department's environmental, energy and nuclear security policies.

    E&E News
  •  CHINA is experiencing its most severe economic downturn in decades, and revitalizing its economic model is critical to future prosperity — not only in China, but around the world...By adopting a new approach to urbanization, its leaders can assure more balanced investment, address a major source of debt, achieve a consumption windfall and clean up the country’s environment. 

    New York Times
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    ... A ballet of giant, tightly coordinated engineering works — $4.5 billion worth of building up, tearing down and digging under on the water’s edge — is about to change the city’s storied old coast...starting next year. Each of the pieces is major in its own right — a 1.8-mile big-bore tunnel 200 feet below grade at its deepest, an earthquake-conscious sea wall buttressing the piers and an altered city grid that will come with a demolition of the old viaduct. 

    New York Times
  • For nearly two years, BART has tried to shoo away hundreds of birds laying eggs along the rail extension under construction toward Silicon Valley--even installing those inflatable dancers popular outside used-car lots. The cost to taxpaers: $5 million--or more than $17,000 per nest.

    Mercury News