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  • 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.

    USA Today
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    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.

    San Francisco Chronicle
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    By 2014 fuel cell vehicles will be a commercial reality, and by 2020 over 2.8 million fuel cell-powered cars and trucks will have been sold, according to Pike's report, "Fuel Cell Vehicles: Light Vehicles, Medium/Heavy-Duty Trucks, Transit Buses, and Hydrogen Refueling Infrastructure."

  • Q: This is about the Highway 101 metering lights, the ones that were turned on from Palo Alto through San Jose last November. It's a nightmare. My commute consisted of a short ride from Highway 237 to Montague Expressway and would range from five to 10 minutes. Since they turned on these lights, it's now 15 to 20 minutes. 

    Mercury News
  • Tech journalists have been summoned to the San Jose campus of eBay Wednesday for the official unveiling of the so-called "Bloom Box" at a high-powered event to include Bloom co-founder and CEO K.R. Sridhar, venture capitalist John Doerr, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and "a prominent California government official" widely believed to be Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger....According to the Kleiner Perkins Web site, Bloom Energy "develops a flexible fuel cell system that produces clean, reliable and affordable energy from a wide range of fuels," ultimately giving consumers the ability to generate their own electricity for less than they pay their utility as well as reduce their carbon emissions by at least half.

    Mercury News
  • The cost of a ticket for these offenses would be among the toughest in the nation — going up to $455 for texting and $255 for using a hand-held phone, from approximately $145 — if a bill introduced Monday by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, becomes law...And the rules would now apply to bicyclists, who were not covered by the hands-free law that went into effect July 1, 2008.

    Mercury News
  • Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will submit a new plan for the downtown area at the Tuesday night City Council meeting after opponents threatened to put a previously approved plan to a vote of local residents on the June ballot. Bates' new plan calls for lower building heights, affordable housing provisions in some instances, green building requirements and local labor provisions.

    Oakland Tribune
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    Why the delay? After all, the computer revolution has shown how rapidly new innovations can be imagined, developed, brought to market and have an impact. But new energy technologies don't work that way—they can take years to gain just a toehold in the market, and 20 to 30 years to push aside existing products or techniques.

    Wall Street Journal
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    On July 1, an economic shift may test this unregulated system and the reciprocity behind it. As part of a package of toll increases, Bay Area toll bridge officials have decided to do the unthinkable: They're ending the free ride....Does the driver, who will need to pay the toll through a FasTrak transponder, cough it up in full? Do the passengers - usually two - each pony up $1.25? Or is an even split - 83.33 cents per person - warranted?

    San Francisco Chronicle
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    As federal and state investment in high-speed rail ramps up, local bus and light-rail systems are retrenching, cutting service and laying off workers. The public has signaled it wants high-speed rail, and elected officials are responding accordingly. But as the country invests in the future, it cannot ignore the present, specifically the dire situation facing local transit.

    Sacramento Bee