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Texas transit system cuts jobs, service, defers capital projects NEWSWIRE

By | May 28, 2020

News Wire Digest second section for May 28: Cuomo pitches transportation projects in meeting with Trump; Steam Railroading Institute extends closure

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ATrain_Hebron_Lassen
ATrain_Hebron_Lassen
A-Trains meet at the Hebron station in Lewisville, Texas, in 2017. Denton County’s transit agency has approved a budget with staff and service cuts, and deferred capital projects, to deal with financial losses because of the coronavirus.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More Thursday morning rail news in brief:

Denton County amends transit budget because of virus losses
The Denton County, Texas, Transportation Authority approved a $1.45 million budget amendment Wednesday, addressing the fiscal situation that has come as A-Train ridership has dropped from 31,000 monthly boardings before the COVID-19 pandemic to 5,000 in April — or about three riders per train. The Denton Record-Chronicle reports the amended budget cuts 8.5 front-office positions, and furloughs of nine A-Train employees and 39 bus employees. Some of those jobs may not return. Other moves include service cuts to save fuel costs and delay of planned capital improvement projects.

Cuomo pitches Gateway Tunnel, other projects in meeting with Trump
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pitched the Gateway Tunnel and other major infrastructure projects in a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday. The New York Times reports that Cuomo also discussed an expansion of the Second Avenue subway and the LaGuardia AirTrain project [see ] as ways to help boost the area’s economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have major infrastructure projects in New York that are ready to go, that are desperately needed, that were desperately needed 30 years ago,” Cuomo said. “Build them now. Supercharge the reopening, grow the economy.”

Steam Railroading Institute postpones opening, summer schedule
The Steam Railroading Institute in Owasso, Mich., has postponed its 2020 opening day and summer visitor hours and remains closed until further notice because of the coronavirus outbreak. The institute, home of Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225 among other equipment, has made the decision to comply with the state’s stay-at-home order “as well as to protect public health and the safety of our visitor, volunteers, and staff,” it says on its website.

 

8 thoughts on “Texas transit system cuts jobs, service, defers capital projects NEWSWIRE

  1. Charles Landey, I’ll comment on your statements first…and this is the first thing I’m going to say now in regards to all people talking about illegal immigrants: our own IRS has stated several times that without the Billions of dollars in income and Social Security taxes those people pay(that they will never see returned) the Federal Budget would be even more out of whack than it already is. As for the criminal part of it, maybe if the ICE wasn’t such a draconian agency and acted more like human beings they wouldn’t face so much resistance. Second, it’s not the Federal Govts. job to tell states how much to pay people, and how can you harmonize state employee salaries with other states when the cost of living between states is so much different(your statement about an adjustment for cost of living not withstanding), it’s not just other states they have to compete with. States also have to compete with the Private sector if they want the best talent, and that usually takes money…which tells me these other cheap states have second rate employees.Spending upwards of 2 Trillion on infrastructure Nationwide not only kick starts the economy but it also will kick start the industries that provide the materials for said infrastructure. Which will require transportation, much more than the OTR industry could handle, which means increased traffic for the railroads…it’s a win, win, win all the way around for the American people. If only leadership had the foresight and vision to look ahead 5 – 10 – 15 – 25 years and not just concern themselves with today and tomorrow.

  2. Gerald there’s some irony there because we have a national minimum wage law. If a state is taking Federal money for a specific program than the Federals can tell the state how to do it. As one example the Bacon-Davis (or vice-versa) prevailing wage law applies to all government contracts in the country, even though many states and localities could save money by not having to obey that law.There’s a debate about government spending, since it effectively replaces money that private investors or businesses would otherwise spend, either by raising taxes, monopolizing the bond markets or by forcing up inflation. Warren Buffett (and Bill Gates) seem to think that the Gates charity can spend Buffett’s money more wisely than the government because almost all of his fortune is going to the Gates charity instead of the government through estate taxes. Although the new economics mantra seems to be there really is such a thing as a free lunch and the government really can spend money more wisely than individual citizens.

  3. It should be noted that NY and NJ are the two states who send the most to the federal government in comparison to the amount they get back. In other words, they subsidize other states who get back a lot more than they pay in.

  4. Governor Cuomo had best forget money for the North River, and the East river tunnels until he gets his fiscal house in order.

  5. Seems Trains comment section doesn’t like multiple paragraphs, therefore I will respond to Robert McGuire’s comments separately. He’s mistaken if he think’s it’ll take years for transit and travel to rebound back to normal levels. It won’t humans tend to have short term memories when it comes to disasters, and this will just fall into the disaster category in our minds. All you have to do is look at past major disasters to have some kind of idea how long it will take to return to say at least 2017/2018 levels, if not 2019. It also depends on how fast the economy can be made to rebound back to the level it was in the first 2 months of the year. People that had been used to commuting by transit will get real tired of traffic sooner than you think. Working from home isn’t the panacea people think it will be if companies insist on lowering your salary, there will be those that won’t want to give up income just to work at home. As for regular travel, 80%(+/- 5%) of American have already stated they’re ready to go on vacation, anywhere…there’s a significant portion of people expressing interest in visiting Wuhan, China(you have to fly to get there). I expect we’ll be back to somewhat normal in 12 – 18 months, but a lot of that is predicated on two things…how much the government wants to crank up the construction industry(always the first to rebound in a growing economy)…and how much people want to get back to normal.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Cuomo on the obvious need for these capital projects, or on the needed boost to the economy short term as well as going forward into the long term. If I were Mr. Trump, here’s how I would reply: Governor, what’s up with these sanctuary city/ santuary state laws and your interference with the federal govwernment lawfully deporting criminals? My second question to Mr. Cuomo would be this: are you prepared to harmonize public employee salaries and benefits substantially in line with the other states (with an adjustment for cost of living)? PARAGRAPH – Nothing will come of this meeting. Both politicians display an excess of vanity, stupidity and obtusiveness.

  7. Charles, I agree with you that nothing will come of this meeting. Both men are demagogues, one a Republican and one a Democrat. They are 180 degrees apart on most issues. I disagree with you on the need for these projects with the possible exception of the AirTrain. These projects may have been needed 30 years ago but not now. They probably won’t be needed within our lifetimes. Public transit will be years in recovery and in a lot of places it is now dead. The pandemic showed that new Gateway tunnels are not needed because so many people can work from home. Take one tunnel out of service, rebuild and repair it, and then do the other one. Commuters will be scarce as workers stay at home and jobs head to the suburbs. Amtrak LD trains will be dead soon and NEC ridership will slip to the point that one tunnel will be sufficient to handle the traffic. We shouldn’t be sending good, and soon to scarce, money after unneeded projects.

  8. Perhaps the President will agree to some the Governor’s infastructure projects in exchange for things he wants in the next Covid 19 stimulas relief bill, in lieu of all of the other totally unrelated trillions the House put into their version? A lesset of two evils strategy for him and the Senate Republicans?Yes, I get it that we do not have the money, but from where we are now, a scaled down bill including some infastructure passed into law a month or so from now is going to be required. Afterall the government started economic meltdown by forcing us to social distance at home, and not at work. Now we have dig our way out. Pethaps we can get China to forgive some of debt they hold? Wishful thinking!

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