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  • Despite a pledge to freeze total non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending in his fiscal 2011 budget request, President Obama proposed to increase the Department of Transportation's budget nearly $2 billion to $79 billion. Here's what transportation experts think.

    National Journal Transportation Blog
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    The UC, which stands for Urban Commuter, is a custom built electric car. From the outside, it looks similar in form to other two seat city cars. Its performance stats aren't particularly impressive either, with a top speed of 75 mph, torque at 96 pound-feet, and a range of only 65 miles...But the car is only part of a larger transportation scheme. It is designed to be easily loaded on special rail transport cars for long trips. Your typical European could drive the few miles it would take to get to the nearest rail station, sit in the restaurant car while the train crosses a few countries, then drive off the train and go about business.

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    Just passed unanimously by the City Council, the plan will spend $600 million over 20 years to build more than 700 miles of new bikeways, with the goal of increasing the share of bicycling trips to 25 percent of total trips by 2030. Mayor Sam Adams is currently working on a plan to raise $20 million to kick start the initiative...What many cities in Europe have found out, is that pedestrians and cyclists are better shoppers than those who arrive in automobiles. They are more able to stop on a whim, browse casually…. Many major shopping districts in European cities are car-free, and they thrive.

  • Researchers looked at mortgage defaults in three cities and found something curious -- the chance of foreclosure is higher in neighborhoods more dependent on cars, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which included data from Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology. The report examined 40,000 mortgages in Chicago, Jacksonville and San Francisco.

    Chicago Sun Times
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    By halving its top cruising speed over the last two years, Maersk cut fuel consumption on major routes by as much as 30 percent, greatly reducing costs. But the company also achieved an equal cut in the ships’ emissions of greenhouse gases.

    New York Times
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    A court decision in New York City that may create strict restrictions on the Critical Mass bicycle event raises questions as to whether San Francisco could do the same. A judge ruled Tuesday that New York City can force groups of 50 people or more on bicycles to get a parade permit, a process known to be cumbersome.

    SF Examiner
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    Muni operators resoundingly rejected on Tuesday a package of negotiated labor concessions intended to save nearly $15 million in operating expenses over two years - money intended to stop a proposed increase in discounted passes for seniors, youth and the disabled and to blunt service cuts, according to the agency's top official.

    SF Chronicle
  • The Guangzhou-to-Wuhan train is just one of 42 high-speed lines recently opened or set to open by 2012 in China. By comparison, the United States hopes to build its first high-speed rail line by 2014, an 84-mile route linking Tampa and Orlando, Fla.

    New York Times
  • This winter, carriers have increasingly chosen not to gamble and are canceling flights before snow begins to fall. They can then communicate with passengers earlier to allow them to change their plans without penalty, possibly getting out of town before bad weather arrives or skipping a trip altogether....Though the airlines lose money when they cancel flights, they can potentially lose more if they keep flying and risk having snowbound crews and planes out of place once the storm passes.

    New York Times
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    As the price tag climbs into the billions and commuters face re-routes and higher tolls, the Bay Bridge rebuild is crawling along, beset by cost overruns, largely because of the complicated and untested design of a short but visually striking stretch of the 4.5-mile crossing....The eastern span, on the other hand, is being replaced — and the project is running a decade behind schedule and up to $4 billion over budget compared with 2001 estimates, according to the project’s latest financial update.

    SF Examiner