transportation

On Monday, a congressional field hearing was held in Bridgeport to discuss ways to improve Metro-North railroad service after a power failure impacted thousands of commuters last month. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal organized the hearing. He said inadequate management and insufficient funding in infrastructure led to the the breakdown in service September 25.

It is still as dark as night as Jim Rix steps out of his red brick Chicago bungalow and gets into his car, parked on the street. It's 6 a.m., and the 53-year-old engineer is getting an early start on his 35-mile commute out to Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago's southwest suburbs.

"Depending upon weather and time of day, it can take 45 minutes to two hours to get to and from work," Rix says.

Senator Richard Blumenthal is chairing a hearing in Bridgeport on the recent Metro-North power outage. The hearing is examining the causes of the outage, how to prevent such failures from reoccurring, and the economic impact of such a major service disruption. It's hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

National Air and Space Museum

If Connecticut thought a state law acknowledging Bridgeport resident Gustav Whitehead as the first in flight would put the issue of who flew first to rest, Ohio and North Carolina are saying: not so fast. North Carolina Republican State Senator Bill Cook and Ohio Republican State Representative Rick Perales held dual news conferences Thursday reasserting the Wright brothers' legacy as the first to achieve powered flight. 

cgosnell90 / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting this month, Connecticut began imposing stiffer penalties against drivers who speed through work zones. The endangerment charge will be applied to motorists driving more than 75 mph or truckers going faster than 65 mph in a work zone.

Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Ridership on Amtrak is up for the year, the company reported, despite the disruptions in service during and after Sandy. Amtrak transported a record 31.6 million riders in the past year ending September 30, and made a record $2.1 billion in ticket sales.

epSos.de / Creative Commons

State police and local law enforcement are out on the roads and stopping drivers caught texting or using hand-held cell phones while driving.

The New Haven Register reports that the crackdown began this week in Danbury and northern Fairfield County and is meant to highlight Connecticut's new law that allows reporting of distracted driving offenses to insurance companies.

redlegsfan21 / Wikimedia Commons

On the surface, air travel appears very much the same as it did before the government shutdown. But there have been big changes behind the scenes. Even when there isn't a government shutdown in effect, most people involved in putting planes in the air are invisible to travelers.

Connor Harris / Creative Commons

The Metropolitan Transit Authority says Metro-North's New Haven line is back to full service today. The nation's second largest commuter rail line has been crippled since September 25, when a high voltage power feeder cable failed.

Connor Harris / Creative Commons

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted unanimously Tuesday to credit Metro-North New Haven Line customers who have been inconvenienced by the ongoing disruption in service. Riders must have monthly or weekly tickets between Connecticut and New York City that were valid during the power outage.

Connor Harris / Creative Commons

After a power failure crippled the New Haven line of the Metro-North Railroad last Wednesday, service is slowly improving. Governor Dannel Malloy said it won't be until next week that the power situation is fixed. He also said the railroad has been able to get about 50 percent of its trains running.

Banfield / Wikimedia Commons

With Metro-North service still only running at 50 percent of normal capacity, Connecticut commuters are entering a second week of delays and challenges getting to work. Being a regular Metro-North commuter frequently calls for ingenuity. Last week's electrical failure left many searching once again for a Plan B.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said he wants Metro-North Railroad to pay Connecticut customers for tickets they can't use as a result of the service outage. The power failure along an eight-mile section of the New Haven line has frustrated commuters and politicians alike. Officials said it could take weeks to repair.

JoeJoeJoe93 / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy met with railroad and utility officials at New York's Grand Central Station Thursday to discuss the disruption of rail service for tens of thousands of commuters on the Metro-North and Amtrak lines, the Associated Press reports.

WNPR

Metro-North's New Haven rail line is disrupted this morning because of a failed commercial power cable. At the state's emergency operations center in Hartford on Wednesday, Governor Dannel Malloy said it could be weeks before Metro-North is back to full strength.

Melissa Bailey / NewHavenIndependent.org

You may have noticed this morning that I-84 near the Connecticut-New York border will be shut down temporarily this weekend, while a bridge is repaired. That got us thinking at The Wheelhouse Digest about other ways to get around. What you need to know now is a little bit of transportation news from around the state.

Dan Saksa / Flickr Creative Commons

If you plan to take I-84 West over the New York border this weekend, you might want to think again.

Westbound lanes of Interstate 84 along the Connecticut-New York line will be closed as workers replace a two-lane bridge.

The New York state Department of Transportation will install a prefabricated bridge near Southeast, N.Y., in just 18 hours. The procedure will be repeated for the other direction of the bridge in October.

The Connecticut Mirror

Sentences matter today at The Wheelhouse Digest. Tom Foley visited Where We Live to explain some accusatory words he levied against Governor Dannel Malloy in recent days. Hours later, Joshua Nassi, former aide to Chris Donovan, was sentenced to time in prison. If you're more of a list person, or maybe you're into puns and names, we've got you covered there too.

Urban explorer Steve Duncan goes underground, examining the hidden infrastructure of major cities all over the world: their tunnels, subways and sewers. Late in 2010, NPR's Jacki Lyden joined Duncan and a group of subterranean adventurers in New York. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 2, 2011.)

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said what happened at Logan Airport today was "just dumb."

On the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, Logan officials OK'd a fire drill that included flames and thick black smoke. Remember, two of the planes used in the terrorist attacks took off from Logan. Peter Wilson of WBZ-TV tweeted this picture of drill:

Chion Wolf

The New Haven area is still looking for answers after last week’s plane crash at Tweed Airport. Patrick Murray is in charge of the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into what happened. "The airplane impacted the ground and the house upside down, in a 60 to 70 degree angle," he said shortly after the accident. 

If you've ever gotten stuck in traffic in downtown Hartford, you'll like this story. The city is applying for a grant that will allow it to upgrade traffic signals in the central business district. The plan is to reduce congestion.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

If you drive on Hartford-area highways, you've probably seen it -- graffiti on state bridges that refer to the attacks of September 11. They've become an annoyance for the state.

A new report from the advocacy group U.S. Pirg has found that for the first time in six decades, Americans are actually driving less.

A number of factors have contributed to this, according to Micheline Maynard, editor of the journalism project, “Curbing Cars: Rethinking How We Get Around.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy's office

In his first official visit to any state since his confirmation, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visits Union Station in New Haven to talk about rail investment, safety and economic growth. 

“We are thinking about jobs, economic opportunity and safety. We’re putting people to work by fixing bridges and installing new high-level platforms. We’re revitalizing train stations. The time has come to put rail on par with our highways and other modes of transportation.”

Flickr Creative Commons, taberandrew

Some of you may actually be in moving cars right now, listening to this show, but the average automobile spends 95 percent of its life parked somewhere. 

Your car might be parked at work for a while, and that big employee parking lot uses up a lot of valuable space and throws off a lot of heat on summer days.

Flickr Creative Commons, taberandrew

Some of you may actually be in moving cars right now, listening to this show, but the average automobile spends 95 percent of its life parked somewhere. 

Your car might be parked at work for a while, and that big employee parking lot uses up a lot of valuable space and throws off a lot of heat on summer days.

Another Way to Cross

Jun 14, 2013

June 14, 2013 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the “Swing Bridge” across the Connecticut River in East Haddam, Connecticut.   While most drawbridges have a section that moves up and down to accommodate river traffic, the East Haddam bridge has a section that swings open like a gate to allow vessels to pass through.

Getting There from Here

Jun 7, 2013

For many of today’s drivers, tools like Google Maps and GPS devices have made turn-by-turn directions a familiar—even essential—part of getting from point A to point B. But this isn’t a new idea and didn’t start in Silicon Valley. In the early days of the automobile, “route guides” included turn-by-turn directions compiled by amateur and professional “pathfinders.” In 1901, Charles Howard Gillette, a Hartford native, published the Official Automobile Blue Book.

The Truth Behind Connecticut's Gas Prices

Jun 7, 2013

This is a three-part series. 

Part 1

Ever wonder why gas prices are so high in Connecticut? A lot of it has to do with state gas taxes very few people know about – taxes that are about to undergo a steep increase. 

So, last week I paid $3.79 per gallon of gas at a North Haven gas station. This made me angry. And I asked my fellow gas-guzzlers – who’s to blame?

“I can’t determine what’s going on or what’s causing it," said one customer.

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