The big-truck legislation that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law June 4 will cost local and state taxpayers up to $150 million year in increased maintenance costs as well as pose new safety threats on already overcrowded roads, says Tom Guilmet, executive director of the Florida Safety Council and member of the Florida Coalition for Safe Highways.
The omnibus transportation legislation approved last week included an 8,000-pound increase in allowable weights for big rigs operating on state roads.
“This weight increase not only damages Florida’s transportation infrastructure, but also threatens people’s lives,” said Guilmet as he called on the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to withhold issuing permits for heavier trucks.
“The added weight certainly impacts a truck’s ability to safely maneuver on our roads,” said Guilmet, “yet this legislation does nothing to require trucking operators to increase safety precautions. The amount of damage to our roads will also radically increase while failing to offer any solution to appropriately fund the resulting road repair and maintenance.”
Tucson, Ariz., Monday contractually became the second U.S. city to order streetcars from Clackamas, Ore.-based United Streetcar, LLC. Tucson will receive seven cars under a $196.8 million contract for use on its planned 3.9-mile route, with delivery to be completed by 2013.
United Streetcar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works, Inc., last August signed a $20 million contract for six streetcars with (virtual) hometown Portland, Ore., using designs based on Czech Republic-based Inekon Co.; the latter supplied Portland’s initial three streetcars, and has signed a licensing agreement with United Streetcar to provide the propulsion systems for the additional rolling stock.
Though anticipated for a year, the contract with Tucson gives United Streetcar potential credibility to provide additional equipment sought by other U.S. cities, such as Cincinnati, by leveraging “Buy America” requirements. OIW launched United Streetcar in 2005.
Last February Tucson received a $63 million grant from the Department of Transportation to help fund the line, which will connect the University of Arizona campus with downtown. In May 2006, Tucson voters approved local funding for the project through a half-cent sales tax increase.
Under an agreement with AB Storstockholms Lokaltrafik announced Tuesday, GE Transportation will supply a new signaling facility for Stockholm's Tvärbanan light rail system. It will include a traffic control system, interlocking system, and automatic train control. The new signaling facility will ease the integration of the existing system with an upcoming expansion.
Erie, Pa.-based GE Transportation said that on the existing system, the new facility will significantly reduce headway. The Saltsjöbanan, an existing railway that will be connected to the Tvärbanan, will be reclassified as light rail, and outfitted with a GE Transportation ATC system.
Overall, the new signaling system, which will cost about $45 million, will affect 49 stations and approximately 725 miles of railway used by more than 47,000 daily riders.
The David J. Joseph Co. reached a milestone—125 years in business as of this month—celebrating its formation in the 19th century, when German immigrant Joseph Joseph started a hide and fur trading business in Cincinnati, where the company still bases its headquarters. Joined by brother Samuel, Joseph Joseph formed The Joseph Joseph and Brothers Co., and scrap metal became the primary focus of the family business.
From those beginnings, the company has grown to a become a global scrap broker, processor, and logistics provider. David J. Joseph became manager of the company’s entire scrap operation following his father’s death, and the company assumed its current name on Jan. 1, 1921.
Among other services, the company provides custom railcar purchase or lease packages to industrial rail users. DJJ operates one of the largest private railcar fleets in the U.S. to help deliver its traded commodities to customers. In addition, for more than two decades DJJ has been developing tailored programs for steel mills to minimize liquid steel costs while maximizing customer productivity and profitability. DJJ’s safety process includes ongoing training and procedures “to ensure the safety of all employees, customers, and suppliers.”
The company says it prides its longstanding role in the evolving U.S. recycling industry, long before “going green” and recycling became household words. The David J. Joseph Co. today supplies scrap, scrap substitutes, ferro alloys, and nonferrous metals to steel producers, foundries, and aluminum smelters, sourcing materials from its own scrap processing facilities and others from around the world. DJJ trades extensively in international markets, and operates 15 ferrous and nonferrous metals brokerage offices, including offices in Hong Kong and Switzerland.
DJJ’s corporate parent is Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp., a purchaser of ferrous scrap and a steel producer and recycler serving North America.
Russian Railways (RZD) demonstrated its “mobile complex for environmental atmospheric monitoring” during a presentation Monday in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Led by Viktor Cherkasov, head of Russian Railways’ department for occupational health and safety, industrial safety, and environmental control, as well as representatives of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee and Olympstroy, and representatives from the media and environmental organizations, the railroad ran its air quality monitoring equipment on RZD’s Adler–Sochi line. During the trip, air samples were taken, the likely sources of air pollution evaluated, and the results were displayed on monitors installed on board the train.
The monitoring equipment
was developed by specialists at the Railway Transport Research Institute of Russian Railways in collaboration with scientists of the Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics. While in motion, the laboratory is able to take readings every 10 seconds and find local sources of atmospheric pollution.
After further processing of the readings, RZD said, the laboratory is able to identify sources of pollution located up to 700 kilometers (434 miles) from the railway line.
Amtrak called on the Federal Railroad Administration Monday to be “bold and unambiguous” in recognizing that “Amtrak's existing national intercity passenger rail system should be recognized in the NRP [National Rail Plan] as the foundation for the development of an expanded network of high speed and conventional rail services spanning key corridors across the United States.”
Amtrak Vice President, Policy and Development Stephen Gardner said, “Amtrak’s current network of high speed services in the Northeast Corridor, short-distance corridor services run in partnership with the states, and overnight long-distance services spanning the nation, is a solid base on which to build a truly 21st century national intercity passenger rail system.
"The NRP should lay out a clear national vision for this network and contain strategies for improving and expanding intercity passenger rail services where such service can advance key national priorities like congestion relief, transportation safety, energy efficiency, environmental protection, and sustainable development,” said Gardner.
In written comments to the FRA, Amtrak said that because it is a company chartered by the federal government, and overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the final NRP should address the department’s views on Amtrak, its future, and its role in delivering the type of modern and efficient intercity passenger rail service envisioned in the preliminary NRP.
Amtrak said it is recommending that “a specific target be set to connect all pairs of metropolitan areas with populations of one million or more, and separated by less than 600 miles, with frequent, reliable, high speed intercity passenger rail service. In addition, matching intercity rail development plans to appropriate markets must be a key aspect of the NRP, [since] in a nation as big as the United States, not all travel markets will require the same levels of service. In some cases, high speed, very frequent rail service may be necessary to create a viable alternative to existing travel options, while conventional intercity service may be more appropriate for other corridors where the market may be smaller.”
AECOM announced Monday that it has won a $4.1 million assignment from GO-Metrolinx to provide detailed design, as well as serve as the engineer-of-record, for the Strachan Grade Separation project in Toronto.
Part of the Georgetown Rail Corridor, the planned infrastructure, which meet existing and future demands for Metrolinx rail service between downtown Toronto and Georgetown, as well as open the way for a new air-rail service between Union Station and Lester Pearson International Airport. The corridor includes the GO-owned Weston and Canadian Pacific Galt subdivisions, and is also used by CN and VIA Rail.
“The Strachan Avenue Grade Separation is the cornerstone project of GO-Metrolinx’s ambitious Georgetown South expansion program, and is the largest civil engineering contract they have ever awarded,” said Bill Hjelholt, AECOM’s North America director of freight rail.
The project will add five new tracks to the existing three-track corridor, including more than 20 switches to integrate traffic into the Union Station rail corridor.
Amtrak says it will award a contract in July to beginremoval of two former passengers stations in Rensselaer, N.Y., just east of thestate capital, Albany, to allow track capacity improvements on the EmpireCorridor.
The removal of the two stations will allow a fourth track toserve the current Albany/Rensselaer station, easing (though not eliminating)train constraints hindering Empire Corridor service, particularly betweenAlbany and Schenectady, N.Y.
Amtrak and the state of New York also seek to add a secondtrack between Albany and Schenectady, a proposal that has been floated for atleast two decades. New York hopes to fund the project by tapping $151 million in federal funds provided in late 2009 by the Federal Railroad Administration to advance high speed rail (HSR) and higher-speed rail (HrSR) throughout the U.S.
Thanks to accelerated work by contractor Bombardier, the 12.5-mile Phase One line of South Africa’s new Gautrain rail system will open for revenue service Tuesday, in time to help handle crowds pouring into Johannesburg for the beginning this week of the FIFA Soccer World Cup games, the first ever held on the African continent.
At a pre-opening official launch ceremony in Johannesburg Saturday, VIP guests traveled on a Bombardier Electrostar train between Marlboro Station and OR Tambo International Airport Station.
The opening of Phase One will have a fleet of five Electrostar trains ready to provide passenger services between the airport and the hotels, shopping, and commercial hub of Sandton, including the intermediate stations at Marlboro and Rhodesfield.
Upon completion of Phase Two, the Gautrain project will be a self-contained system with 50 miles of dual track and 10 stations, connecting South Africa’s economic center of Johannesburg to Pretoria, the nation’s capital, and to OR Tambo International Airport.
Bombardier, a member of the Bombela Concession Co., was awarded a contract by the Gauteng Provincial Government of South Africa in September 2006 to deliver an integrated rail system, including a fleet of 96 vehicles. Bombardier Transportation’s facility in Derby, U. K., supplied 81 of the 96 vehicles as “flat packs” for final assembly in South Africa, with only the first 15 vehicles fully assembled in Derby.
Bombardier is also supplying its CITYFLO 250 train contro ltechnology as well as the track work, power supply and distribution systems, communications systems, automatic fare collection, project management, systems engineering and integration, and testing and commissioning. Bombardier will be involved in maintaining the system during the 15-year operating period following construction.