Dr. Gridlock: Transportation Politics

Posted at 07:32 PM ET, 07/31/2012

Virginia announces final deal on I-95 express lanes

Construction of the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-95 is scheduled to start very soon and be done around the end of 2014.

By Robert Thomson  |  07:32 PM ET, 07/31/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 05/10/2012

D.C. area congestion relief won’t come from big transportation projects

A new Post poll of Virginians suggests to Dr. Gridlock that wish lists of transportation projects won’t get beyond the dream stage.

By Robert Thomson  |  12:48 PM ET, 05/10/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 04/29/2012

Why charge carpoolers who already help traffic?

Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton says the commonwealth expects much higher costs to operate its E-ZPass system, but how should a user fee be structured?

By Robert Thomson  |  10:39 AM ET, 04/29/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:11 PM ET, 04/19/2012

Potomac bridge: Not in your commuting lifetime

Despite some mild encouragement recently from the Maryland and Virginia governors, an actual plan for a new river crossing is years away — at least.

By Robert Thomson  |  02:11 PM ET, 04/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 04/05/2012

Commuters gain little from transportation project lists

Transportation improvement programs tend to be lists of construction projects that will boost economic interests rather than visions for better commuting.

By Robert Thomson  |  12:53 PM ET, 04/05/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 03/06/2012

Metro down to last 2 hearings on fare increase

Metro riders are asking the transit board to be more responsive to its customers.

By Robert Thomson  |  11:09 AM ET, 03/06/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:19 AM ET, 02/29/2012

Metro public hearing Wednesday night in Falls Church

Tonight, when the transit authority holds the first of its fare increase hearings in Virginia, Orange Line riders probably will dominate the discussion.

By Robert Thomson  |  10:19 AM ET, 02/29/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:07 AM ET, 02/21/2012

Metro: Help name the Silver Line stations

Metro and Fairfax County are asking the public to help name the new stations that will be part of the Silver Line.

By Robert Thomson  |  11:07 AM ET, 02/21/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:59 PM ET, 11/18/2011

Bill would give veterans a boost in working for transportation projects

A bipartisan bill introduced in the House Friday would require that contractors building federally funded transportation projects give hiring preference to recent veterans.

By Ashley Halsey III  |  01:59 PM ET, 11/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:55 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Metro board struggles with station names

Some board members channeled “Pirates of the Caribbean” description of the Pirate Code: The board policy is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.

By Robert Thomson  |  02:55 PM ET, 11/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:54 AM ET, 10/20/2011

Ray LaHood addresses D.C. commuter issues

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood answered several questions that Dr. Gridlock asked on behalf of travelers in the D.C. region.

By Robert Thomson  |  08:54 AM ET, 10/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:12 AM ET, 10/19/2011

LaHood answers transportation policy questions from Gridlock readers

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood invited questions from Dr. Gridlock readers for his monthly “On the Go” show.

By Robert Thomson  |  10:12 AM ET, 10/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/29/2011

Ask Transportation Secretary LaHood

The U.S. Department of Transportation has invited Dr. Gridlock readers to submit questions to the transportation secretary for his monthly Q&A video, called “On the Go with Ray LaHood.”

By Robert Thomson  |  10:30 AM ET, 09/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:54 AM ET, 09/27/2011

First HOT lanes meeting draws small crowd

The first of three public meetings on a major change in Interstate 95 commuting drew a small crowd to a fire hall in Woodbridge Monday night.

By Robert Thomson  |  09:54 AM ET, 09/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:11 PM ET, 09/26/2011

Meetings on I-95 HOT lanes begin tonight

There are likely to be many commuters opposed to Virginia’s plans for high-occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 95 at the state’s three public meetings.

By Robert Thomson  |  02:11 PM ET, 09/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 09/21/2011

Virginia advances I-95 HOT lanes plan

The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold three public meetings next week on its plan to create high-occupancy toll lanes along I-95 between the Beltway and Spotsylvania County.

By Robert Thomson  |  12:37 PM ET, 09/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 07/08/2011

Changing sales pitch for Dulles Airport train station

The focus of the cost-cutting debate is the location of the Metrorail station at the airport. Should it be where it’s cheapest to build, or should it be where people are most likely to use it?

By Robert Thomson  |  11:34 AM ET, 07/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:18 AM ET, 05/26/2011

Dulles rail won’t fail

There is no threat to the construction of a rail line to Dulles International Airport. It’s going to get built. The key decisions to do this were made years ago. Today’s politicians are haggling over the details.

By Robert Thomson  |  10:18 AM ET, 05/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:56 PM ET, 05/18/2011

Gray names Bellamy as D.C. transportation director

The Post’s Nikita Stewart reports on the D.C. Wire blog that Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) has nominated Terry Bellamy as permanent director of the District Department of Transportation.

By Robert Thomson  |  02:56 PM ET, 05/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:53 AM ET, 05/17/2011

Metro riders fear loss of weekend service

Riders and transit advocates who oppose the Metro board’s proposal to cut weekend train service noted at the first budget hearing Monday night that this is not a “modest” service adjustment, as described in the hearing docket.

By Robert Thomson  |  09:53 AM ET, 05/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:42 PM ET, 05/16/2011

Public hearings on Metro budget, service cuts begin tonight

The budget hearings that the Metro board is launching tonight are different in several ways.

By Robert Thomson  |  02:42 PM ET, 05/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:54 PM ET, 02/01/2011

Bill to combine NoVa agencies tabled

A bill that would have consolidated three major Northern Virginia transportation organizations into one is off the table for this General Assembly session, Prince William County officials said Tuesday.

By Jennifer Buske  |  05:54 PM ET, 02/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 02/01/2011

Md. gas tax increase proposed

A state senator says a proposal to shore up Maryland's transportation funding will include increases in the gas tax and vehicle registration fees, as well as a constitutional amendment to protect transportation money.

By Associated Press  |  11:25 AM ET, 02/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:25 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Reader questions on Metro bag checks

I just finished a lively online chat about the bag inspection program that Metro launched today, but there were scores of questions and comments left over. So I'd like to share some of these previously unpublished ones with you in this posting. Occasionally, I'll come in with a response.

By Robert Thomson  |  03:25 PM ET, 12/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 12/21/2010

ACLU: 'Deep concern' on Metro checks

In my last posting on Metro's ill-conceived policy of inspecting people's property, I noted that I'm not a lawyer, just a traveler. So I was interested to see that the American Civil Liberties Union -- the ranks of which include plenty of lawyers -- has sent a letter about the policy to the Metro board chairman and interim general manager. "We write to register our deep concern to such searches and the constraining effect they would have on long-cherished individual liberties of millions of innocent citizens, says the letter, sent Monday and signed by representatives of the ACLU from the District, Maryland and Virginia.

By Robert Thomson  |  11:10 AM ET, 12/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:35 AM ET, 12/21/2010

Bag checks a 'necessary evil'?

Responding to no specific threat against the transit system, the transit system today began to randomly threaten its riders with police searches. In my Sunday column, I said that Metro launched this program of rider intimidation without discussing it with the riders, who I think even Metro would concede are involved in the operation of the transit system. I'd like to share one of the responses I got from readers and discuss it with you.

By Robert Thomson  |  09:35 AM ET, 12/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:46 PM ET, 12/20/2010

First transit TV makes debut

There's a new big-screen TV in the Reeves Center, but patrons of the center can't watch it. Instead, the TV is facing out the window, clearly visible from the heavily-used bus stop at 14th and U streets. Pedestrians can see at a glance the positions of relevant buses, Metro trains, Capital Bikeshare stations and transit news.

By Luke Rosiak  |  01:46 PM ET, 12/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:55 AM ET, 10/21/2010

What's ahead for D.C. transportation

What's going to change for the District in the likely event that Vincent C. Gray replaces Adrian M. Fenty as mayor? A panel of Post writers Wednesday night previewed the impact on city politics, education, social issues, real estate, economics and transportation in a town hall meeting at the new Shaw library. I took transportation.

By Robert Thomson  |  09:55 AM ET, 10/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 10/20/2010

Virginia to raise some speed limits

A Virginia Department of Transportation official has recommended raising the speed limit on 587 miles of interstates to 70 miles per hour. Major urban areas and places where the existing speed limit is below 65 miles per hour would be excluded under the plan recommended by Connie Sorrell, VDOT's chief of systems operation.

By Michael Bolden  |  12:25 PM ET, 10/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:26 PM ET, 10/19/2010

Annapolis considers speed cameras

Annapolis officials are considering installing speed cameras near schools and perhaps road construction zones. Alderman and police officer Mathew Silverman says bringing cameras to Annapolis would not cost the city any money if the right contractor is selected.

By Michael Bolden  |  04:26 PM ET, 10/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 10/19/2010

Bike riders settle with NYC

A lawsuit brought by bike riders against New York City has been settled for nearly $1 million. The 83 cyclists were among hundreds arrested or ticketed in the so-called Critical Mass rides between 2004 and 2006.

By Michael Bolden  |  01:15 PM ET, 10/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:58 AM ET, 10/18/2010

High-speed rail in East? Not so fast.

To passengers looking forward to riding high-speed trains in New England, planners have a message: Not so fast. Washington is spending $8 billion in federal stimulus money to establish high-speed rail corridors nationwide. But in populated areas of New England where city streets and railroad tracks intersect and trains must negotiate curves, hills and tunnels, travel at speeds as high as 150 mph are out of the question.

By Michael Bolden  |  08:58 AM ET, 10/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:02 PM ET, 10/15/2010

VDOT names new officials

The Virginia Department of Transportation is getting a new chief financial officer.The department said Friday it has selected John W. Lawson for the post.The 21-year veteran of the department will oversee VDOT's $3.3 billion annual budget. Lawson also will oversee...

By Michael Bolden  |  05:02 PM ET, 10/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 10/11/2010

A special place for buses

The New York Times reported this weekend on the debut of a bus rapid transit system in the city designed to sidestep normal gridlock and boarding delays.

By Michael Bolden  |  10:54 AM ET, 10/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 10/08/2010

Va. Metro board plan rejected

As expected, Northern Virginia leaders voted down Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's attempt to gain two state seats on Metro's board of directors Thursday night. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted 12 to 6 to keep control of the state's four members on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board at the local level.

By Anita Kumar  |  12:19 PM ET, 10/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:16 AM ET, 10/04/2010

Transportation in trouble

Our nation's transportation system is in serious trouble. That's the conclusion of a report issued this morning based on conference held last year by more than 80 transportation experts, including two former transportation Cabinet secretaries, Norman Y. Mineta and Samuel Skinner.

By Michael Bolden  |  10:16 AM ET, 10/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:04 PM ET, 10/01/2010

Govt. seeks 62 mpg goal

The new cars and trucks sold in 2025 may be required to average 62 miles per gallon as a group, far surpassing the fuel efficiency of current high-mileage stars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrids.

By Michael Bolden  |  01:04 PM ET, 10/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:31 AM ET, 10/01/2010

Transportation plan to be discussed

Maryland officials are scheduled to discuss the state's six-year transportation plan with Montgomery County officials and residents on Thursday.

By Michael Bolden  |  11:31 AM ET, 10/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:51 PM ET, 09/21/2010

Should cellphones carry warnings?

Cigarette packages and booze bottles carry labels warning they may be hazardous to your health. Should cellphone boxes too?

By Michael Bolden  |  01:51 PM ET, 09/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 09/14/2010

Meeting on Phase 2 of Dulles Metro

The latest design plans for the second phase of the Metro rail extension to Dulles International Airport will be presented during a public meeting Tuesday night.

By Michael Bolden  |  09:01 AM ET, 09/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:40 PM ET, 08/31/2010

Connolly samples commutes

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) rode the Virginia Railway Express Tuesday morning as part of his efforts to highlight the transportation choices and challenges Northern Virginia commuters face on a daily basis.

By Michael Bolden  |  03:40 PM ET, 08/31/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:19 PM ET, 08/19/2010

U-Md. to receive transportation grant

The University of Maryland will receive a federal grant to help develop solutions for some of the nation's transportation problems.

By Michael Bolden  |  01:19 PM ET, 08/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 07/27/2010

Distracted driving summit planned

A second national summit on distracted driving will be held Sept. 21 to highlight the problem and find ways to combat it, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.

By Michael Bolden  |  12:55 PM ET, 07/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:18 PM ET, 07/21/2010

U.S. transit agencies need billions

Metro has identified $11 billion in capital upgrades the bus and rail system needs over the next year. But it is not alone as it looks for ways to replace deteriorating infrastructure and equipment.

By Michael Bolden  |  03:18 PM ET, 07/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 07/20/2010

Red-light fines get real in Arlington

The grace period is over. Motorists caught cheating by Arlington's new red-light cameras will start getting tickets beginning Wednesday at 12 a.m., officials say.

By Michael Bolden  |  09:00 AM ET, 07/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:13 AM ET, 07/19/2010

Bill seeks to cut highway runoff

Sen. Ben Cardin says he has introduced a bill to cut pollution from highway stormwater runoff.

By Michael Bolden  |  09:13 AM ET, 07/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:40 AM ET, 07/19/2010

Va. sets high-speed rail hearings

Virginia is set to hold hearings on plans for high-speed rail between Richmond and Raleigh, N.C.

By Michael Bolden  |  08:40 AM ET, 07/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 07/06/2010

New cellphone restrictions in Delaware

Drivers in Delaware will be prohibited from texting while driving and from talking on hand-held cell phones under a new law signed by Gov. Jack Markell. The legislation signed by Markell on Tuesday also bans e-mailing and using the Internet while driving. Cellphone conversations will have to be conducted via speaker phone or other hands-free devices.

By Michael Bolden  |  11:35 AM ET, 07/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 06/30/2010

New distracted driving PSA

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a nonprofit representing highway and transportation departments from all 50 states, the District and Puerto Rico, released a new public service announcement in the battle against texting and distracted driving....

By Michael Bolden  |  12:25 PM ET, 06/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:35 PM ET, 06/29/2010

Overhead wires bill passes D.C. council

The D.C. city council today approved emergency legislation that will allow construction of the streetcar line along Benning Road and H Street Northeast to move forward with overhead power lines on that corridor and create a "public process" for determining whether overhead wires are acceptable on other parts of the planned system.

By Michael Bolden  |  02:35 PM ET, 06/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:08 PM ET, 06/25/2010

D.C. lifts some parking meter rules

Just in time for the summer campaign season, the District has lifted new parking meter rules that required motorists to feed meters while trying to enjoying a night out on the town.

By Michael Bolden  |  06:08 PM ET, 06/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:42 PM ET, 06/22/2010

Senior drivers weigh in on study

After reading Ashley Halsey III's story on a recent study of senior drivers, several readers wrote in to talk about why they believe seniors are having fewer accidents. Here are their comments

By Michael Bolden  |  03:42 PM ET, 06/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:40 PM ET, 06/21/2010

Penn. Ave. bike lanes open Tuesday

The long-awaited opening of the Pennsylvania Avenue bike likes is planned for Tuesday afternoon.

By Michael Bolden  |  05:40 PM ET, 06/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:46 PM ET, 06/21/2010

Dirty trains in NYC? What about Metro?

New York City subway cars have gotten dirtier, and budget cuts are to blame, a watchdog group said. Metro has its own money problems. Do you think it's getting dirtier? Cleaner? or is there no change.

By Michael Bolden  |  01:46 PM ET, 06/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 06/16/2010

Loudoun approves transportation plan

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 4 Tuesday to approve a countywide transportation plan after years of planning.

By Michael Bolden  |  11:48 AM ET, 06/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:25 AM ET, 06/15/2010

Distracted driving laws get good marks

The effort to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving has gained momentum across the nation, according to a report issued Tuesday, as states enact stronger laws against texting and cellphone use and push to create greater public awareness of the problem.

By Michael Bolden  |  09:25 AM ET, 06/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:23 PM ET, 06/10/2010

Delays in anti-fatigue rules criticized

Lawmakers are demanding Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood fulfill a promise he made last year after an airline crash in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50 people to write new rules aimed at preventing pilot fatigue.

By Michael Bolden  |  03:23 PM ET, 06/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:53 AM ET, 06/10/2010

VRE crafts contingency plan

Virginia Railway Express has crafted a contingency plan that asks Amtrak to continue service for two additional weeks if the new operator for the commuter-rail service is not prepared to begin on June 28.

By Michael Bolden  |  11:53 AM ET, 06/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 06/02/2010

More cash for bumped passengers?

The Obama administration wants to raise the amount airlines have to compensate passengers bumped from full flights to as much as $1,300. They pay up to $800 now.

By Michael Bolden  |  11:40 AM ET, 06/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)