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» Senate approves California High Speed Rail

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers gave the green light to start building the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line, a multibillion dollar project that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The move marked major political victories for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration. Both have promoted bullet trains as job generators and clean transportation alternatives.

In a narrow 21-16 party-line vote that involved intense lobbying by the governor, legislative leaders and labor groups, the state Senate approved the measure marking the launch of California’s ambitious bullet train, which has spent years in the planning stages…

ap, 07.07.12.

thank god. or else would have lost the money match from the federal government.

» 3-foot passing bill gets unanimous yes vote

Senate Bill 1464, this year’s version of the 3-foot passing bill cosponsored by CBC and the City of Los Angeles, passed in its first Senate hearing on Apr. 17. The Senate Transportation & Housing Committee voted 8-0 to approve the bill.

The bill generated little discussion among committee members and no opposition at the hearing, a promising sign that we’ve solved the main concerns that caused Gov. Jerry Brown to veto SB 910, last year’s 3-foot passing bill…

The bill’s next stop is the Senate Appropriations Committee, but SB 1464 does not contain an appropriation or have a meaningful fiscal impact, we don’t expect much discussion. The full Senate will vote on the bill later next month, and then it’s on to the Assembly this summer…

read more: calbike.org, 26.04.12.

» A Terrible Transportation Bill

The list of outrages coming out of the House is long, but the way the Republicans are trying to hijack the $260 billion transportation bill defies belief. This bill is so uniquely terrible that it might not command a majority when it comes to a floor vote, possibly next week, despite Speaker John Boehner’s imprimatur. But betting on rationality with this crew is always a long shot.

Here is a brief and by no means exhaustive list of the bill’s many defects:

  • It would make financing for mass transit much less certain, and more vulnerable, by ending a 30-year agreement that guaranteed mass transit a one-fifth share of the fuel taxes and other user fees in the highway trust fund. Instead it would compete annually with other programs.
  • It would open nearly all of America’s coastal waters to oil and gas drilling, including environmentally fragile areas that have long been off limits. The ostensible purpose is to raise revenue to help make up what has become an annual shortfall for transportation financing. But it is really just one more attempt to promote the Republicans’ drill-now-drill-everywhere agenda and the interests of their industry patrons.
  • It would demolish significant environmental protections by imposing arbitrary deadlines on legally mandated environmental reviews of proposed road and highway projects, and by ceding to state highway agencies the authority to decide whether such reviews should occur.

read more: nytimes, 08.02.12.

House:  Say “NO” to H.R. 7

On the other side of Congress, the House is about to consider a transportation bill that reverses 20 years of progress in making streets safer for people. Despite the fact that walking and biking make up 12% of trips but receive only 1.5% of federal funding, the House bill eliminates dedicated funding for walking and biking. It’s time to defeat this bill.

send an email to your senators and representatives to oppose this bill!!!

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