Category Archives: Incompetence

Empire High-Speed Rail

At the beginning of the month, New York State released its draft environmental impact statement for high-speed rail from New York to the Upstate cities. The costs of HSR as proposed by the state are excessive, and as a result … Continue reading

Posted in Construction Costs, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Shoddy Studies, Studies, Transportation | 89 Comments

Metro-North-Everything Compatibility

The Regional Plan Association has a new study warning that Metro-North’s infrastructure is falling apart, and demands $3.6 billion in immediate spending on state of good repair. In general, my line on deferred maintenance is “you mean the agency deferred … Continue reading

Posted in Construction Costs, Good/Interesting Studies, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Regional Rail, Shoddy Studies, Studies, Transportation | 40 Comments

The Metro-North Accident and Train Control

Early in the morning on Sunday, a Metro-North train derailed on the Hudson Line, immediately south of the junction with Amtrak’s Empire Connection: maps of the derailment area can be found on the BBC, while The LIRR Today has a … Continue reading

Posted in Good Transit, Incompetence, New York, Regional Rail, Transportation | 41 Comments

Sometimes, Half a Line is as Good as No Line

The perfect is not the enemy of the good when it comes to rail projects. The half-done job is. In a trivial sense it’s obvious that half a tunnel across a mountain is useless. But even partial lines that have … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Transportation | 34 Comments

Who Regional Rail is For

A few rail proposals have happened in the last few months that begin with the concept of improving transit access in the suburbs, and end in a bad direction. These center on airport-oriented rail extension, which in the case of … Continue reading

Posted in Incompetence, New York, Regional Rail, Transportation | 48 Comments

Loopy Ideas Are Fine, If You’re an Entrepreneur

There is a belief within American media that a successful person can succeed at anything. He (and it’s invariably he) is omnicompetent, and people who question him and laugh at his outlandish ideas will invariably fail and end up working … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Politics and Society, Transportation | 560 Comments

Quick Note: Why Quinn is Unfit to be Mayor

The Triboro RX plan calls for using preexisting freight rail rights-of-way with minimal freight traffic to build a circumferential subway line through the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. It was mentioned as a possible project by then-MTA head Lee Sander and … Continue reading

Posted in Construction Costs, Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Transportation, Urban Transit | 9 Comments

Quick Note: Why the Focus on Penn Station?

Penn Station is in the news again: the Municipal Art Society ran a public competition for a rebuilt station house, involving proposals by four different architectural firms. This does not include any track-level improvements at all: only the concourses and … Continue reading

Posted in Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Transportation | 81 Comments

Infrastructure and Democracy

Two stories, one recent and one older, have made me think about the undemocratic way the US builds infrastructure. The older story is California HSR’s cost overrun coming from scope creep; the biggest overruns were in the Bay Area, where … Continue reading

Posted in High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, New York, Politics and Society, Regional Rail, Transportation | 50 Comments

The Magic Triangle: Infrastructure-Timetable-Rolling Stock

In the last month, Amtrak decided not to purchase additional Acela cars, but instead replace the Acela fleet ahead of time, and try to buy trains that aren’t compliant with FRA regulations. More recently, Amtrak and the California HSR Authority … Continue reading

Posted in Amtrak, FRA, High-Speed Rail, Incompetence, Transportation | 109 Comments