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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 04/22/2011

Today’s transportation roundup: Earth Day 2011

Happy Earth Day! The price of a gallon of gas continues to creep up, so transit agencies took the opportunity to extol the benefits of public transportation and their own environmentally friendly programs.

In a message to workers, Amtrak chief Joseph Boardman said reducing the railroad’s environmental impact is one of its strategic goal.

“Being more environmentally conscious is not only the responsible thing to do, but it’s also directly linked to our competitiveness as a mode of transportation,” he said.

Amtrak officials said the company is testing using 20 percent biodiesel fuel on its Heartland Flyer route, and could expand the trial if it’s successful.

The Maryland Transit Administration also said it is expanding its green programs, such as expanding the use of hybrid buses and installing electric vehicle charging stations. Ridership is up more than 7 percent across its transportation lines.

“Earth Day is the perfect time for individuals to review all of the transportation options available . . .,” said MTA Administrator Ralign T. Wells. “A single MARC train can remove as many as 975 automobiles from the highway.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was appearing at BWI airport to debut new electric-vehicle charging stations in the daily garage.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on his Fast Lane blog that his department is trying to extend green methods both within the agency and throughout the nation’s transportation systems, exploring alternative fuels, increasing fuel-efficiency standards and encouraging walking, biking and public transit.

For some Washingtonians those options are going to become more attractive as construction on New York Avenue in the District shifts into a new phase that promises to bring more delays. Ashley Halsey III has the details.

The blog Unsuck DC Metro has a Metro Rider Hall of Shame posted, calling out passengers who take up more than one seat. Ann Scott Tyson wrote a feature on this last year, but the seat hog issue is evergreen.

A former Metro bus driver (he’s now a station manager) was indicted and arrested Thursday in the death of a California man, Ann Scott Tyson and Keith L. Alexander report. The accident happened in 2008. Metro fired Ronald W. Taylor for allegedly running a red light, but an arbitrator required that he be reinstated.

Rethink College Park reports that the city is scrambling to spend unexpected speed camera funds before they are returned to the state.

Eric Fidler writes on Greater Greater Washington that the new D.C. streetcar line on H Street and Benning Road won’t start operating until late 2012.

Transportation Nation says Chevy is releasing testimonials of Volt drivers who say they are traveling more than 1,000 miles between gas fill-ups. What type of mileage are you getting?

What else is going on in transportation? Share a story below.

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:15 AM ET, 04/22/2011

 
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