Discount bus lines like Megabus have free Wi-Fi. Even Connecticut’s new CTfastrak commuter bus system to Hartford gives its passengers free Wi-Fi.
But there is no Wi-Fi on Metro-North. And the railroad says none is planned, even though the new M8 railcars are ready for the needed gear. And therein lies a story.
In the almost two years since Uber rolled into Connecticut, the state’s car/taxi service business has been rocked to its core. But is Uber competing on the same level as taxis and car service companies? Of course not, which is why it’s so successful. I spoke with Uber’s Connecticut Manager Matt Powers and Drivers Unlimited (a Darien car and limo company) owner Randy Klein to try to get an objective comparison of the services. (Full disclosure: I have been a customer of both firms.)
I hate to say “I told you so,” but… just as I’d predicted, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s hand-picked Transportation Finance Panel has finally issued its recommendations for paying for the governor’s 30-year, $100 billion transportation “plan.” Interestingly, as it began work last summer, the Transportation Finance Panel wasn’t allowed to debate the merits of anything in the governor’s “plan,” so all they could do was suggest how to fund the whole thing.
Driving to Hartford the other day (no, you cannot really get there by train) I saw a beautiful sight: hundreds of trucks! Yet, motorists hate trucks and mistakenly blame them for traffic congestion and accidents that cause hours of delays. Readers of this column know I’m a “rail guy” and would love to see freight trains replace trucks, but that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. But as motorists we should not blame truckers for traffic woes of our own creation.
Crawling along I-95 the other day in the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic, I snickered when I noticed the “Speed Limit 55” sign alongside the highway. I wish! Of course, when the highway is not jammed, speeds are more like 70 mph, with the legal limit, unfortunately, rarely being enforced. Which got me thinking: who sets speed limits on our highways and by what criteria?
Everybody writes “year in review” stories. But rather than dwell on the past, I’ve got the guts to predict the future! Here’s what will happen in 2016 in the transportation world on issues like Metro North performance, Uber, eminent domain for transportation, state highways and others.
While this column often is a rant about failing commuter rail service or an occasional rave for overdue investment in our highways, when you think about it, transportation is really an issue that affects many aspects of our lives: where we live, shop and go to work.
ByState Reps. John Scott, Mike France, Kathleen McCarty, Aundré Bumgardner and Doug Dubitsky |
Yesterday, the legislature voted to implement a “transportation lock box” to presumably protect funding to repair and replace our state’s crumbling roads, rails and bridges that we travel daily. While this sounds like a noble idea, we of the Southeastern Connecticut delegation – and many of our colleagues – saw the serious flaws in this bill that compelled us to vote against it.
The nearly decade-long struggle to replace the crumbling Stamford railroad station parking garage has taken another bizarre turn: the Connecticut Department of Transportation now wants to spend $1.5 million and take six months to repair the garage before they tear it down.
Will the train of the future be a high-speed tube, not a railroad? That’s inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk’s and others’ vision. The concept sounds simple: move passengers in a sealed tube through a series of giant pipes propelled by air pressure at speeds up to 700+ mph. That would mean a trip from New York to Washington, D.C. would take 20 minutes.