Public transportation investments have helped to shape many of America’s cities. The largest metropolises typically have extensive rail and bus systems that provide mobility for commuters, residents, and visitors and serve as the backbone of the regional economy. The recent shutdown of the New York subway system as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and the crippling gridlock that resulted, demonstrates the extent to which such cities depend on their transit systems. The benefits of such systems are well documented; New York’s subway, the DC Metro, Chicago’s “L” trains, and other large systems have been the subject of numerous studies of their economic and environmental impact.
At the other end of the spectrum, transit systems in small towns and rural areas have also been the subject of recent research, including “Exploring the Role of Regional Transportation Projects as Rural Economic Drivers” by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and…
Tracks News - In this section you'll find news from cities around the country as well as interviews and general reporting on issues. It might be from a newspaper or a blog, but it counts as news.
National: Moving the Dial on the Gas Tax
On transportation, President Obama can plan on starting his second term the same way he began his first. Then, as now, the funding crisis for the nation's highways was a few years off but approaching fast. When the highway authority expiration date looms in 2014, no one will be prepared for it...
Florida: Private Railroad Plans Passenger Service
The prospects of high-speed…
Blogosphere - In this section you'll find commentary, opinion and editorials from blogs and newspapers around the country. The opinions expressed in these blogs do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Reconnecting America.
Blogosphere: Walk Score Releases Bike Score
Walk Score Blog
Just in time for Bike to Work Week, we are thrilled to launch Bike Score and our first ranking of the most bikeable U.S. cities. See how your city ranks and vote for your city to be next to get Bike Score...
Blogosphere: TOD That Is Healthy, Green & Just
Seattle Transit Blog
Today Puget Sound Sage released a new report on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the Rainier Valley. It outlines changes seen in the…
The second edition of "Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century," our popular award-winning book on how to plan, finance and build streetcar systems contains an update on the status of the U.S. streetcar movement and case studies of new streetcars in Seattle and Savannah. There's a foreword by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, chair of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and updated contact info for every streetcar project planned or underway in the U.S. This richly illustrated book is intended to promote a learning network among the cities and transit agencies that are interested in building new systems, with or without federal funding.
The explosion of interest in streetcars stalled only slightly in 2008, with the U.S. economy on the skids and a dawning awareness that streetcars would not win federal funding through the new Small Starts program. The Seattle streetcar opened in December of 2007 with half the $52 million cost paid for by property owners, and predictions that Seattle¹s South Lake Union neighborhood could see even more streetcar-oriented development than Portland¹s Pearl District. The hybrid Savannah streetcar opened in December 2008 for just $1 million, less even than the dirt-cheap $6 million Kenosha streetcar, with no overhead wires, and operating on cooking grease from nearby restaurants.
Reconnecting America sold all copies of the award-winning Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century book and we are publishing a second edition, which will be available on our website before the end of February, with a downloadable Table of Contents and sample chapter. This new edition includes case studies of the two most recent new streetcar projects: Seattle’s South Lake Union streetcar, which some believe will eventually attract more development than Portland’s Pearl District, and Savannah’s streetcar, which cost just $1 million, has no overhead wires, and runs on cooking grease from nearby restaurants.