Smart Growth News – December 14, 2012

Today’s stories:

Orange County toll roads under review by California
Los Angeles Times (CA) – December 11, 2012
There have long been questions about the long-term financial viability of the San Joaquin Hills and Foothill-Eastern corridors. But those concerns have now heightened, and a government oversight panel chaired by state Treasurer Bill Lockyer has launched a formal inquiry into whether the roads can cover mounting interest payments to private investors who purchased tollway bonds.

Federal funding on track for M-1, regional transit
Detroit News (MI) – December 13, 2012
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said federal funding for Michigan transportation efforts is on track, but the state must complete action on a regional transit authority.

Landowners air concerns about effects of high-speed rail
Fresno Bee (CA) – December 12, 2012
Farmers have been among the most vocal critics of the train system in the San Joaquin Valley, and Farm Bureau organizations in Madera and Merced counties are among those suing the rail agency to stop work on the Merced-Fresno section approved by the rail authority this year.

State appears ready to get on board with Orlando-to-Miami train
Orlando Sentinel (FL) – December 14, 2012
The state appears set to approve a key step in All Aboard Florida’s quest to build a privately financed $1 billion train to carry tourists and business travelers from Miami to Orlando International Airport.

No vote on protecting those who clean vacant properties
Columbus Dispatch (OH) – December 14, 2012
State Sen. Joe Schiavoni was upset yesterday after finding out that House Speaker William G. Batchelder would not be bringing up for a vote a bill that would allow people to clean up vacant, blighted properties without fear of being cited for trespassing.

Gap grows in Virginia gas tax revenue
Washington Examiner – December 12, 2012
Virginia’s gasoline tax brought in 6 percent less for the number of miles that vehicles traveled in a year due to higher fuel efficiency, creating a growing gap in the commonwealth’s transportation funding, according to Virginia’s top transportation official.

Beaverton to update comprehensive plan with new sections on sustainability, community health
Oregon Live – December 13, 2012
With the launch of a multi-year effort to update the city’s comprehensive plan, Beaverton hopes to tie together its goals and planning in a single document that acts as city law.

Amtrak’s Next-Generation Train Service, One Step Closer
Wall Street Journal – December 13, 2012
Train operator Amtrak is speeding up its plan for more high-speed rail services. The company said today that it has scrapped plans to incrementally upgrade the train sets on its existing Acela Express service and go straight to a new high-speed set-up.

2012 policy report card: Transportation forecast
Politico – December 14, 2012
A roundup of people and policy issues in transportation to watch for in the coming year.