Keeping Rail On Track

Rail projects throughout the U.S. are hard hit by the downturn in the economy. The agencies behind them are trying to find ways to keep the projects from falling apart.

1 minute read

July 12, 2011, 7:00 AM PDT

By Tim Halbur


From L.A. to Detroit to Charlotte, local transit agencies are trying to adapt to an unlucky economy. Some are finding creative ways to keep rail projects afloat.

"L.A.'s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is deep into a drawn-out and expensive light-rail construction project: It's a 15.2-mile route known as the Expo Line, which will be the first rail connection between downtown and the populous Westside of Culver City and Santa Monica. Its first phase, an 8.5-mile segment, is under construction and slated to begin operations later this year. The second phase, however, has a future that's increasingly unclear.

Both phases of the project have relied heavily on a transportation fund created by voter-approved bond sales. But in an attempt to close budget holes, the state halted bond sales this spring. That essentially pulled $174 million of expected money out of Metro's pockets. And if things don't shape up soon, the state could be halting bond sales again in the fall, which will take another $400 million out of play. Such a decision would likely mean delays to phase two of the Expo Line, which had been expected to begin operations in 2015."

Monday, July 11, 2011 in Architect Magazine

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

White Honolulu Skyline train on elevated track.

Hawai’i Transportation Projects Receive Federal Grants

State officials say they need around $15 billion to mitigate the impacts of rising seas.

6 hours ago - Honolulu Civil Beat

Close-up of office building with windows and sign for Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.

Feds Announce Over $3 Billion in Homelessness Assistance Funding

The Continuum of Care grants are directed to programs that provide supportive services and boost housing stability.

7 hours ago - Building Design & Construction

Power plant infrastructure against a sky at dusk with a virtual white globe overlaid on top.

AI’s Growing Threat to Climate Justice

Emerging technologies like AI have great promise for climate innovation, but also a hidden environmental footprint could lead to disproportionate harm to low-income and marginalized communities.

February 28 - Brookings Institution

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.