2:55 pm - Wed, Apr 11, 2012
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Declaring “America is one big pothole,” the nation’s top transportation official visited its most-congested state Monday to express support for a federal bill he said would provide funds to repair crumbling roads and bridges and put contractors back to work.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, visiting Hoboken, said the clock is ticking for the House of Representatives to approve a bipartisan Senate transportation bill that calls for a 12-percent increase in highway funding for New Jersey and a 14-percent increase in transit funding.

The Senate bill, passed last week in a 74-22 vote, also would restore tax credits for commuters, retroactive to Jan. 1.

The two-year, $109 billion plan would help repair America’s 70,000 failing bridges, upgrade highways and save or create 2.8 million jobs, officials have said.

3:02 pm - Tue, Apr 10, 2012

Click through for a letter from MTA Chairman Lhota to the State Legislature. 

3:03 pm - Mon, Apr 9, 2012

Not only did Senate Republicans cut $770 million in capital financing for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, they also rejected the agency’s bid for a $7 billion increase in its bonding cap — which according to Democratic Sen. Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) would jeopardize the MTA’s ability to qualify for more than $2 billion in federal financing.

“It will bring the East Side Access project to a complete halt, Second Avenue subway to a complete halt,” said Dilan, who is the ranking Democrat on the Transportation Committee.

Dilan also warned that the loss of funding would jeopardize the MTA’s ability to purchase new subway cars from upstate factories.

“It is very irresponsible,” Dilan said. “They are putting the lives of individuals who are employed throughout the State of New York.”

3:01 pm - Sun, Apr 8, 2012
3:00 pm - Sat, Apr 7, 2012
3:03 pm - Fri, Apr 6, 2012

It’s bad enough MTA financial problems led to layoffs and vacant token booths — but now there’s Bill Rapp, senior-citizen farebeater.

Rapp, 71, hardly looks like a petty criminal. In fact, the one-time teacher and medical supplies salesman has a striking resemblance to Wilford Brimley, the grandfatherly actor who appeared on “The Waltons” and pitched Quaker Oats.

But Rapp says he recently snuck into the Times Square station through an emergency exit gate.

“I can’t afford the full fare and I can’t afford a heart attack,” Rapp said.

3:01 pm - Thu, Apr 5, 2012

Senator Charles Schumer said a mass transit tax benefit that expired last year was included in the Senate transportation bill overhauling federal highway and transit programs.

“We can restore it and even restore it retroactively, meaning about $1,000 for those who take the LIRR, the NJ Transit, the Metro-North, and the NYC subway system,” he said.

If it doesn’t pass, the monthly tax benefit for mass transit commuters stays at $125 per month, but if it does pass, the break increases to $240.

2:57 pm - Wed, Apr 4, 2012
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With the return of jobs came a return of straphangers. Studies have found that nearly 60 percent of transit rides are taken by people commuting to and from work, and there were big increases in ridership in parts of the country that gained employment. And with the price of gas rising again — the $4 gallon has already returned in some states — many systems are bracing for even more riders this year.

2:57 pm - Tue, Apr 3, 2012

Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation in 2011, the second-highest total since 1957, as gasoline prices rose and the economy improved, an industry group said on Monday.

Only in 2008, when gasoline rose to more than $4 a gallon, did ridership beat 2011’s total, the American Public Transportation Association said in a statement.

Ridership was up 2.3 percent last year from 2010, with the increase spread across large, medium and small communities.

2:59 pm - Mon, Apr 2, 2012

U.S. House Republican leaders are giving up an effort to end guaranteed federal funding for mass transit, bowing to party members in the Northeast whose districts depend on the money.

Opposition from about a dozen Republicans representing urban and suburban districts, including Representative Peter King of New York, persuaded House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team to drop a proposal to end the designated use of 2.86 cents of the 18.4 cent gasoline tax for mass transit and other air-quality and highway-congestion projects.

The language won’t be included in a revamped version of a five-year, $260 billion bill authorizing funding for the nation’s roads, trains and bridges, Representatives Bill Shuster of Pennsylvaniaand Fred Upton of Michigan said today in Washington.

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