transportation

This post is being updated throughout the day Sunday.

After a second day of frantic searching failed to uncover the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, ships and aircraft are combing over parts of the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where the jetliner is suspected of crashing with 239 people aboard more than 48 hours ago.

Vietnamese officials say search planes have spotted an object that could be debris from the jet — but darkness fell in Asia hours ago, complicating any attempts to verify or expand on that claim.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut discussed his priorities for rail safety today in Hartford, in his first hearing as chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation in Washington. Blumenthal stressed the importance of renewed investment in rail infrastructure and strong federal oversight.

Quinnipiac Poll Released; Staples Closing Stores

Mar 6, 2014

A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Connecticut voters 61 to 32 percent support allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives. Voters were closely divided on whether they would ask a doctor to help them take their own life, as 39 percent say no in all cases, while 33 percent say they would if they were terminally ill.

New Management, New Plan for Metro-North

Mar 4, 2014
Connor Harris / Creative Commons

Metro-North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, sent a letter to Connecticut's Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, outlining intended operational  improvements.

The plan follows a terrible year for the railroad in 2013, including a derailment and collision in Bridgeport that injured 76 people and a derailment in The Bronx, New York, in which four people were killed.

Governor Dannel  Malloy, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin spoke to reporters on a White House conference call over the weekend. The chief executives agree a higher minimum wage is critical to boosting workers’ purchasing power and strengthening the economy.  

When I was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s, the Feds — and state and local officials — unveiled plans to build a short stretch of Interstate 40 to connect East Memphis with downtown.

President Barack Obama is coming to Connecticut on March 5 as part of his campaign to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The visit follows Governor Dannel Malloy’s heated defense of the proposal at a news conference this week in Washington. Governor Malloy urged the General Assembly to pass a bill this year that would raise the state's minimum wage after the president—in his State of the Union address-- called on Congress to implement the policy nationwide.

John Steven Fernandez / Creative Commons

Connecticut State Police are launching an "educational" campaign targeting tailgating motorists on highways.

The program will run throughout March in the areas of Hartford, New Haven, Meriden, Middletown, and Old Saybrook. That includes interstates 84, 91, 95 and 691 and routes 8,9, and 15. 

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Two Metro-North Railroad executives said on Thursday that the rail line has slowed down its trains, installed new technology, and changed internal management, all in an effort to make commuter rail service better.

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast and new Metro-North president Joseph Giulietti met with members of the state legislature's transportation committee to talk about reliability and safety with state lawmakers. 

Susan Sermoneta / Creative Commons

In an unusual move, a Metro-North conductor left a note on passengers' seats Monday morning apologizing for an express train on Friday that never came.

Michael Shaw said he put 500 copies of his written apology on seats after telling passengers at the New Haven, West Haven, Milford, and Stratford stations to wait for an express train that was later canceled. In his note, he said he was "shocked and furious."

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Connecticut transportation officials told state legislators on Wednesday that a multi-million-dollar bus corridor being built between Hartford and New Britain is on budget and on time.

But DOT Commissioner James Redeker also found himself fielding skeptical questions from members of the Transportation Committee as he pitched Connecticut's first bus-based mass transit project. 

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations To Metro-North

Feb 19, 2014

A federal agency has issued safety recommendations following December’s fatal Metro-North commuter train derailment in the Bronx. The recommendations come in the form of a letter to Metro-North’s president.

@CTRailCommuters

Over 100 people attended a forum in Fairfield on Tuesday night intended for Metro-North commuters to talk about problems plaguing the rail service. Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker attended the event at the Pequot Library and took questions.

I-84 Hartford Project

Hartford's Aetna Viaduct is among the top ten urban highways that deserve to be torn down, according to a new study by Congress for the New Urbanism. The yearly report, "Freeways without Futures" lists the elevated stretch of I-84 (in no particular order of futureless-ness) with such highways as I-10 in New Orleans, I-81 in Syracuse, and I-70 in St. Louis.

The criteria for being a futureless freeway?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will announce a decision Tuesday on the petitions from three municipalities seeking mitigation payments if an MGM casino is built in downtown Springfield.

This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. ET.

A chain reaction of crashes involving dozens of cars and tractor-trailers has left at least 30 people hurt and forced the closure of the eastbound lane on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the town of Bensalem, local news reports.

The lane is now reopened after being closed for much of the day.

Some 100 vehicles were reportedly involved in multiple accidents stemming from an initial 14 or 15-vehicle collision in southern Bucks County at about 8:25 a.m. ET.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With an increasing number of angry rail commuters, and calls by some state legislators for federal intervention, Governor Dannel Malloy opened the door on Monday to the possibility of putting the operation of Metro-North’s New Haven line out for bid.

Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Work on a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro North’s New Haven Line begins on Monday. The upgrade is aimed at preventing the kind of catastrophic power failure that took place in New York last fall, seriously disrupting service. 

Governor Dannel Malloy announced the project Sunday at Union Station in New Haven. “Transportation is the backbone of our economy here in Connecticut,” he said. “As governor, I’ve been clear that we need to invest in bringing our highways and mass transit systems into the 21st century after years of under-investment.”

FAA Orders Safety Checks On Boeing 767 Jets

Jan 27, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered safety inspections on Monday of all Boeing 767 jets.

As The Los Angeles Times reports, the FAA is worried about potential problems to the aircraft's horizontal flight-control surfaces, which could result in a "possible loss of control of the airplane."

Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Governor Dannel Malloy called Thursday night's Metro-North maintenance failure "totally avoidable." The outage brought the entire network of commuter trains to a halt for just under two hours in frigid temperatures. 

More than 40 vehicles, many of them semitrailers, were involved in a massive pileup on a slippery stretch of Interstate 94 in northwestern Indiana that killed at least three people and injured 23 others.

The accident occurred near Michigan City, Ind., about 60 miles from Chicago around 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.

The Associated Press reports:

Wikimedia Commons

As cold weather returns to Connecticut, a slew of potholes are expected to appear around the state. According to Jim Mahoney from the Connecticut Transportation Institute, "This is about as perfect as a setup as you can get for potholes, and unfortunately, every road is susceptible to them."

By most accounts, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie passed the leadership challenge posed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

But the political storm created by the George Washington Bridge scandal is testing him in different ways, fueled by a combination of factors that make it difficult even for a politician as manifestly self-assured as Christie.

Christie will have a promising opportunity Tuesday to move beyond the mess caused by the politically inspired closing of toll lanes on the nation's busiest bridge in his State of the State speech.

A New Jersey State Assembly committee released a trove of documents Friday that shed more light on the bridge lane-closure scandal that is embroiling Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The panel is seeking details on what's seen as an act of political retribution, which targeted the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. It obtained the documents under a subpoena.

Wikimedia Commons

A group in Connecticut would like to see passenger service restored to the Housatonic Railroad and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty seems willing to explore the idea. The 90-mile-long Housatonic Railroad was chartered prior to the dawn of the Civil War and runs from Massachusetts to Danbury. Currently, it serves only freight trains. Its last passenger train ran in 1971.

Patrick Cashin / MTA

Metro-North President Howard Permut is stepping down. The New York Times reports that he announced his retirement Monday afternoon. 

A wind chill advisory is in effect from midnight on Monday until 6:00 pm on Tuesday. Strong winds will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia are a concern as temperatures drop. Precautions should be taken if you are heading outdoors. Wearing gloves and a hat and covering all exposed skin is recommended. Shelters are reaching out to the homeless in advance of dangerously cold temperatures expected overnight and Tuesday.

Everyone knows that the first rule of driving is never take your eyes off the road.

Teen drivers start off being careful, but they tend to start multitasking after just a few months behind the wheel, according to research published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

And while older drivers can handle eating or talking to passengers, which trip up the newbies, dialing a cell phone increased the risk of accidents among young and experienced drivers alike.

epSos .de / Flickr Creative Commons

Fatalities on the roads are going down despite distractions going up. Cell phones, GPS devices, iPods, electronic billboards..there’s no shortage of things to take our attention away from driving.

As we make it through another holiday season, we’ll take a look at our driving habits. Are you driving as safely as you possibly can? Or is the glow of your iPhone pulling your eyes away from the road?

Yale University / Creative Commons

First, let's check the numbers. About 12 percent of New Haven commuters report walking to their jobs, which ranks the Elm City eighth nationally -- that's right alongside Washington D.C. and Boston.

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