Small airports could lose federal funding
Senator John McCain's proposal to axe federal subsidy to small airports is raising ire. The Associated Press reports that the idea is a warning shot from Republicans looking to implement a cost-cutting agenda:
The program was created to ensure that less-profitable routes to small airports wouldn’t be eliminated when airline service was deregulated in 1978. But critics say the airports often serve too few people to merit the amount of money spent in subsidies. Urban growth over the past three decades has also placed transportation alternatives — other airports, trains and bus service — within a reasonable distance of some communities receiving subsidies. Studies show that in a lot of those communities people drive to larger airports to get better service at a lower cost than they can get at the smaller airport, even with subsidized air service, said Severin Borenstein, a University of California-Berkeley business professor who is an expert on airline competition.
Brian Meyer at the Buffalo News reports that regional planners are starting to look at how travel flow can be eased across communities in western New York:
The problem: There are more than 1,700 traffic lights in the two-county region, and they're controlled by 32 municipalities or agencies. Officials said that there has not been enough coordination, especially in retiming signals in corridors that stretch beyond one municipality. At a meeting Wednesday, a group that helps chart the area's long-term transportation agenda said that it will seek a regionwide focus on projects to synchronize traffic lights.
The Niagara International Transportation Technology Center is stepping in to help herd the cats. Planners are also looking for grants to help with issues like easing waits at traffic lights.
High speed rail
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has a commentary on WNYMedia.net, detailing the need for funding to reconstruct the Lewiston Plaza at the U.S. Canadian border. Slaughter also urges the president to talk to the Canadian prime minister about collaborating on high speed rail service between American and Canadian cities:
High-Speed Rail between the U.S. and Canada is critical to the economic development of the region. It will act as an international gateway tying together knowledge hubs like Montreal, Toronto and New York City with the skilled and talented labor of Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls. Investing now would also create much needed jobs for thousands of workers throughout New York. According to the Capital District Transportation Authority, high-speed rail will bring 12,000 new jobs to New York State.
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