The National Corridors Initiative Logo

Jan. 16, 2017
Vol. 17 No. 2

Copyright © 2017
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Founded 1989
Our 17th Newsletter Year


A Weekly North American Transportation Update For Transportation
Advocates, Professionals, Journalists, And Elected Or Appointed Officials,
At All Levels Of Government.

James P. RePass, Sr.
Managing Editor / Webmaster
Dennis Kirkpatrick
Foreign Editor
David Beale
Contributing Editor
Molly N. McKay

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  Guest Commentary…
Secretary Foxx Releases Beyond Traffic 2045
   Final Report On Future Of Transportation
  Funding Lines…
PANYNJ Drafts $32 Billion 10-Year Capital Plan
$120 Million Improvements Proposed For LIRR
  Political Lines…
MARTA Eyes Bill To Fund More Expansions
  Amtrak Lines…
Amtrak Wants Riders’ Thoughts On Trips
   To Sacramento
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Ridership Lines…
Sound Transit Light-Rail Ridership Soars
   In November 2016
  Maintenance Lines…
FMCB Awards Contract For MBTA Warehouse Operations; Projected Savings Of $64 Million
  Across The Pond…
Wind Power Now Runs All Electric Passenger Trains
   In The Netherlands
  Publication Notes …

GUEST COMMENTARY... Guest Commentary...  

Secretary Foxx Releases Beyond Traffic 2045
Final Report On Future Of Transportation

DOT Designates 18 “Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers”
To Study Transportation Challenges

From The US Dept Of Transportation

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has released the final Beyond Traffic 2045 report highlighting transportation challenges the United States will face over the next three decades. The report finds that the U.S. transportation system, and the current planning and funding mechanisms, will not meet the demands presented by trends including population growth, climate change, and new technologies like driverless cars.

“Beyond Traffic started a long overdue conversation about whether our transportation infrastructure will keep pace with our changing country,” said Secretary Foxx.  “The final report again shows that if we do not invest in our infrastructure, we will let conditions move us backwards.”

Beyond Traffic 2045 was the product of more than two years of research and study by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). A draft of the report, published in February 2015, was downloaded over 500,000 times from the USDOT website, and the agency received thousands of comments from the public through workshops, webinars, and online feedback. Secretary Foxx and USDOT leaders also held public meetings in eleven cities across the country in late 2015 to explore the challenges facing each of the emerging mega-regions.

The report is a comprehensive study of the major trends that will shape our nation’s transportation system over the next thirty years. The report looks at broader trends, such as population growth and increasing freight volume, as well as issues of economic opportunity, transportation funding, and emerging technologies, to identify the key transportation challenges that the United States will face.

Questions and trends explored in Beyond Traffic 2045 include:

As the title suggests, one of the key issues examined in Beyond Traffic 2045 is the cost of increasing traffic congestion. It finds that the average American driver in a city or a suburb will spend an entire work week sitting in traffic, the annual cost of congestion delays and lost fuel is $160 billion, and that truck congestion alone will cost $28 billion in wasted time and fuel this year.

In his introduction to the report, Secretary Foxx outlines three strategies that need to be employed to ensure that America is able to meet the challenges of the next thirty years: take better care of our legacy transportation systems to keep our roads, bridges, and ports in good repair; fund and prioritize new projects based on future projections, not outdated models of how people moved in the past; and use technologies and better design approaches that will allow us to maximize the use of our old and new transportation assets.

DOT Designates Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers

In conjunction with the release of Beyond Traffic 2045, Secretary Foxx today designated 18 Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers across the country to lead research on the transportation challenges outlined in the report. The centers are non-profit institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations which convene leaders and other key decision-makers in each of eleven mega-regions around the United States, as well as in rural communities, to discuss these challenges and coordinate related research, curriculum, outreach, and other activities.

The Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers are:

The full list of Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers and more information about Beyond Traffic 2045 is available at:

Tel.:  (202) 366-4570

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FUNDING LINES... Funding Lines...  

PANYNJ Drafts $32 Billion 10-Year
Capital Plan

From Railway Age

The Port Authority New York/New Jersey Board of Commissioners announced Jan. 6 that it issued a $32 billion draft 2017-2026 Capital Plan for public comment and review.

The Board unanimously passed a resolution that requires the draft 10-year Capital Plan to be made available for public review on the Port Authority’s website. The review process will include first-ever Capital Plan public meetings in both states that will be attended by at least one commissioner from each state.

The plan outlines new major capital projects the agency will invest in over the next 10 years, including $3.5 billion for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal; $2.5 billion for the redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport and a new AirTrain system to serve LaGuardia Airport; $2.3 billion to support the redevelopment of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport; $600 million for the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport’s Terminals C and D; and $1.7 billion to build a new connection linking PATH trains to Newark Liberty International Airport’s Rail Link Station.

The plan also includes $7.6 billion to finish projects currently in construction, such as the Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, PATH’s signal replacement (CBTC) program, upgrades to the Harrison and Grove Street PATH stations and the port and rail cargo facility at Greenville Yard. Of that $7.6 billion, $2.5 billion will support LaGuardia Airport’s ongoing Terminal B redevelopment project.

The draft Capital Plan includes $2.7 billion toward the payment of debt service for the Trans-Hudson rail tunnel link between New York and New Jersey. That includes an already approved $302 million toward debt service on the Gateway Development Program’s Portal Bridge North project.

The draft plan also includes $8.8 billion for state-of-good-repair projects at the agency’s transportation facilities, including $1.5 billion to restore the George Washington Bridge, $1.1 billion to replace the Lincoln Tunnel Helix and $360 million to replace wharves and piers.

The public comment period on the document will continue through Feb. 15, 2017. The Board will  review all of the input before taking action on the plan at its Feb. 16, 2017 meeting. The outreach will include two public meetings, one in each state, a measure previously not undertaken prior to previous Capital Plan adoptions. The meetings will be attended by at least two commissioners, one from each state, as well as the executive director and chief financial officer.

“Hard choices and robust debate led to a balanced 10-year Capital Plan to help meet the entire region’s enormous current and future transportation infrastructure needs,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan. “These include a new, state-of-the-art Port Authority Bus Terminal for bus commuters, 21st-century airport terminals for fliers and more trains for rail riders.”

“This region needs new and upgraded transportation infrastructure to deal with regional growth,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “This ambitious plan proposes to invest billions to maintain the agency’s world-class bridges, tunnels, airports, seaport and PATH system in a state of good repair while continuing to rebuild and expand existing facilities and build new ones to meet the region’s growth.”

Meetings will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Port Authority offices at 4 World Trade Center and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Port Authority offices at 2 Montgomery Street in Jersey City.

Found At:

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$120 Million Improvements
Proposed For LIRR

From Railway Age

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Jan. 10 unveiled a proposal to invest $120 million to provide enhancements to 16 Long Island Railroad (LIRR) stations and improve system connectivity with a new terminal at MacArthur Airport and a new stop at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

In the proposal, $80 million will be invested in $5 million enhancements at 16 LIRR stations. The station upgrades will include new facilities, Wi-Fi, charging stations, public art, new platform waiting areas, general station renovations and improved signage.

The 16 stations are broken up by county below.

Nassau County: Baldwin, Bellmore, Farmingdale, Great Neck, Merrick, Stewart Manor, Syosset and Valley Stream

Suffolk County: Brentwood, Deer Park, East Hampton, Northport, Ronkonkoma, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson and Wyandanch

A $20 million project will add a stop on the LIRR Ronkonkoma Branch at the center of Long Island’s innovation corridor at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

An additional $20 million will support the development of a new terminal at MacArthur Airport to provide direct service to the LIRR.

“These major, transformative investments in Long Island’s core infrastructure invest in the future resiliency and strength of the region,” Governor Cuomo said. “Enhanced LIRR stations will connect further than they ever have before, and these vital water infrastructure projects will support environmental sustainability and bolster economic growth. With these projects, we equip Long Island will the tools and resources to drive commercial activity, create jobs, and build a stronger Long Island for generations to come.”

The MTA will cover $35 million of this $120 million investment.

From an item at:

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POLITICALLINES... Political Lines...  

MARTA Eyes Bill To Fund More Expansions

From Progressive Railroading

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is pushing for legislation that would raise $5.5 billion to fund various rail projects in Fulton and Dekalb counties, Ga., local media reported late last week.

Early in this year’s legislative session, state lawmakers are expected to introduce a bill that would ask voters in those counties to increase the sales tax to pay for MARTA expansions, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.

The news comes after Atlanta voters in November 2016 approved a half-cent sales tax increase that will raise $2.5 billion for transit improvements in the city proper. That measure was one of several that U.S. voters approved in the general election.

MARTA is hoping to give Fulton and DeKalb counties “the same thing Atlanta got in 2016,” said MARTA Chairman Robbie Ashe, according to the Chronicle.

Found at:

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AMTRAK LINES... Amtrak Lines...  

Amtrak Wants Riders’ Thoughts
On Trips To Sacramento

From The Merced Sun-Star

The Amtrak San Joaquin rail service is seeking input from Merced County residents on how to modify its schedule to accommodate weekday riders headed to Sacramento for business purposes.

Amtrak is circulating a survey asking riders where they are likely to begin their trip, what area in Sacramento they prefer to visit, how frequently they visit Sacramento, and what times would work best for arriving and departing Sacramento.


Photo: Andrew Kuhn

An Amtrak train pulls into the Merced station on Tuesday. Amtrak is surveying San Joaquin Valley riders in an attempt to better accommodate weekday travelers.

Depending on the results of the survey, Amtrak San Joaquin may add an additional daily round trip to Sacramento, said Jose Ramirez, a contracted consultant for Amtrak.

Amtrak runs two daily train trips on the San Joaquin service from Bakersfield to Sacramento. Additional daily trips take riders from various locations in the San Joaquin Valley to Oakland and Stockton, said Dan Leavitt, a manager of regional initiatives for the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority.

Though there is no hard deadline by which the survey must be returned, Ramirez encouraged people to fill it out and return it as soon as possible.

“We’d like more response from Merced residents,” he said.

Input from the survey will be presented the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority later this month.

Amtrak estimates the San Joaquin service is the fifth-busiest in the nation and accommodates 1.2 million passengers a year.

To fill out the survey, visit

From an item at:

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STOCKS...    Selected Rail Stocks...
BRKB – Burlington Northern Santa Fe

CNI – Canadian National

CP –  Canadian Pacific

CSX – CSX Corp

GWR – Genessee & Wyoming

KSU – Kansas City-Southern

NSC – Norfolk Southern

PWX – Providence & Worcester

UNP – Union Pacific

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RIDERSHIP LINES... Ridership Lines...  

Sound Transit Light-Rail Ridership
Soars In November 2016

From Progressive Railroading

In November 2016, average weekday ridership on Sound Transit’s Link light-rail system nearly doubled compared with ridership in the same month in 2015.

The system logged 66,237 average weekday boardings for the month versus 34,003 in the November 2015, marking a 94.8 percent jump.

Total boardings surged 91 percent to 1,701,600.

The increases came after Sound Transit opened new Link stations in March and September.

“Link’s impressive ridership gains are largely a result of the service extensions to the University of Washington and Angle Lake,” agency officials said in a monthly ridership report.

Meanwhile, average weekday ridership for the Sounder commuter-rail system slipped 0.8 percent in November 2016. However, overall Sounder ridership inched up 1.4 percent year over year to 329,605 boardings.

Appearing at:

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MAINTENANCE LINES... Maintenance Lines...  

FMCB Awards Contract For MBTA Warehouse Operations;
Projected Savings Of $64 Million

Five-year Mancon contract to reduce maintenance
response times by nearly 2.5 days

From a MassDOT / MBTA Press Release

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) has unanimously approved a five-year contract with Management Consulting, Inc., (Mancon) to manage the MBTA’s warehouse operations with a projection of $64.2 million in total savings and avoided costs. The shift is estimated to allow a 34 percent increase in the MBTA’s inventory accuracy and improve mechanic productivity, service, and efficiency. A 24/7, 10-hour delivery guarantee of standard requests to maintenance facilities is projected to reduce the MBTA’s current response times by 58 hours, or 2.5 days, compared to the current eight-hours-a-day and weekday-only service.

“The MBTA should and will continue to be in the business of moving our customers more efficiently, and modernized warehouse and logistics operations will both reduce costs and wait times for servicing our fleets,” said MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve. “This contract will allow us to increase the productivity of our maintenance operations and management of our inventory, improving response and repair times and the reliability of our vehicles for the riders who depend on the MBTA each day.”

The total warehousing and logistics operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY ‘17) is allocated at $8 million with the totally loaded budget (including warehousing costs, cost of mechanic labor, cost of retiree healthcare, and pension costs) exceeding $12 million annually. The estimated annual cost based on a five-year contract with Mancon (including the current scope of services, an expanded scope of services, and MBTA administration costs) is $7.4 million. The Mancon contract is anticipated to help ease a forecasted FY ‘17 $80 million operating budget deficit and reduce wait times for disabled vehicles, which accounted for more than one in every five dropped trips in FY ‘17 to date. The MBTA is projected to avoid $16 million in capital costs to improve its current warehouse facilities and recover $39 million by better managing and divesting of unneeded inventory.

Mancon, which contracts with transit agencies in Ohio, Virginia, and London, was chosen for its extensive and superior performance in managing spare parts operations for public sector entities, including bus and train operations. Mancon proposed a dedicated Operations Manager and team working exclusively with the MBTA as well as the best Transition Plan, fixing the Central Warehouse’s issues sooner than other proposed vendors with modern techniques and industry-best practices. Mancon will use its own facilities, labor, vehicles, software, management systems, and equipment in managing the MBTA’s warehousing operations. The MBTA’s contract management team will also closely monitor the contract with performance-based, industry-standard penalties and bonuses with daily, weekly, and monthly reviews. Current MBTA warehouse employees will have the opportunity to apply for other jobs at the MBTA due to “bump back” rights.

Today’s action is the second effort by the MBTA to contract out and streamline service reliability, following the awarding of a contract to Brinks Incorporated last year to privately manage cash-collecting operations. Analyses by warehousing and supply chain experts found major systemic operational and financial inefficiencies with the MBTA’s main warehouse facility, including warehouse inventory inaccuracies (~61 percent), a delivery time of 68+ hours from warehouse to base locations (compared to the industry standard of 12 hours), and poor productivity of parts collections at 90 percent below the industry standard, resulting in delays servicing disabled vehicles in need of repair.

For more information contact the MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500

[ Ed Note:  This change is one of an increasing number of acts that has been privatizing segments of the MBTA operations in massachusetts.  Earlier the handling and management of cash from fare machines was turned over to Brinks.  The MBTA’s “The Ride,” a para-transit service for the disabled and already sub-contracted to an outside vendor at a cost, has seen the ride share service Uber added on a trial basis to handle some of those customers, and another service known as Bridj is being looked at as a possible solution to restoration of overnight service runs. ]

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ACROSS THE POND... Across The Pond...  

Wind Power Now Runs All Electric
Passenger Trains In The Netherlands

By Cat Distasio
Inhabitat Online

All of the electric passenger trains running in the Netherlands are now powered entirely by wind. One year ahead of schedule, Dutch railway company NS announced its entire electric train fleet is running on 100-percent wind power as of January 1, 2017, ushering in a new era of green transportation. Renewable energy advocates hope the early success will inspire planners to incorporate wind-powered trains in other high-speed rail projects around the world, including some proposed in the United States.

In late 2015, the Dutch government announced its goal to power the country’s electric trains entirely with wind power by 2018. However, early successes in rolling out the clean energy program resulted in 75 percent wind power for the trains in 2016, so the initiative made a final push and achieved 100 percent effect January 1, 2017. One of the Netherlands’ largest railway companies, known as NS, partnered with the Eneco energy company in 2015 to funnel renewable energy into its fleet of electric trains, which carry 600,000 people per day.


NCI file photo by David. Beale

Winds of change - Trains with electric propulsion in Holland, such as this electric multiple unit (EMU) commuter train coming to a stop in Rheden, Holland on the 19th of March 2015, will be soon powered exclusively by power fed into the Dutch electric power grid by wind turbines, thousands of which are installed along the North Sea coast of the Netherlands. The vast majority of electrified rail lines in the Netherlands are equipped with 1500 VDC overhead catenary electrification. Due to the high electric currents (amperage) present in this relatively low-voltage power supply, the catenary wires are of very heavy / large diameter wire gauge and almost always with double contact wires. The cost of installation and maintenance of this sort of catenary is therefore relatively high, and as a result very few conventional rail systems around the world use the 1500 VDC standard. Several new high-speed passenger rail lines Holland as well as the relatively new all-freight Beteuwe rail line in Holland (from Rotterdam into northwestern Germany) use the standard European railway electrification configuration of 25 kVAC 50 Hz rather than 1500 volts.

Electric trains on the NS use around 1.2 billion kWh of electricity a year, which is roughly the equivalent of all the households in the city of Amsterdam. Switching to a renewable source for the energy-hogging transportation will make a huge dent in the nation’s carbon footprint, which has already been shrinking over the years due to investments in renewable energy projects. The electricity used to power the Dutch trains comes from wind farms in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland, many of which were just recently built. Because some of those farms opened ahead of schedule, it became possible to move up the timeline for powering electric trains with clean energy.

Found at:

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PUBLICATION NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2017 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. (NCI) as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI and Destination: Freedom (DF) are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Logo courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI & DF remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

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