New transportation bill passes: Would an extension of previous bill have been better?

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A Metra train passes over a busy portion of the Kennedy Expressway. Photo taken from Grand Avenue. 

The Senate and House of Representatives finished their conference on Friday, June 29, to finalize the new surface transportation bill. The bill is responsible for making it legal for the federal government to collect gas taxes and manage the Highway Trust Fund and its Mass Transit Account, disbursing revenues to road, transit, railroad, water, bicycling, and pedestrian transportation infrastructure projects. The previous bill, known as SAFETEA-LU, was extended for 1,000 days since its original expiration in 2009. The new bill is known as MAP-21 and will expire September 30, 2014, for a total duration of 27 months. President Obama is expected to sign the bill, H.R. 4348, on Friday.

There are many changes, good and bad, between the two bills that have transit, bicycling, and pedestrian advocates disappointed. Continue reading New transportation bill passes: Would an extension of previous bill have been better?

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BRT to arrive in Chicago in 2012 while CDOT plans for more enhanced routes

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Transportation deputy commissioner Luann Hamilton and commissioner Gabe Klein answer questions. Updated 08:57 to clarify details about Jeffery BRT project and add construction timeline. 

Bus rapid transit in Chicago has never felt more real for me than it did tonight at the open house hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Even though the Jeffery BRT project will be constructed and operational this year, I never visited one of the community meetings about that project and I haven’t been keeping track of its development. But BRT really will come to Chicago. What’s up for debate is “how much BRT” each project exemplifies.

Every BRT implementation is different. Planners pick and choose the attributes most appropriate to the street characteristics, political, business, and community support, and funding availability.

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Project map showing six bus routes that will run in enhanced busways on Madison, Washington, Clinton, and Canal.  Continue reading BRT to arrive in Chicago in 2012 while CDOT plans for more enhanced routes

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