Wednesday morning rail news:
Report: MTA will present budget with dramatic service cuts, almost 10,000 layoffs
A report says New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will present a budget to its board of directors Wednesday (today) calling for dramatic subway and bus service cuts, as well as the layoff of almost 10,000 workers. NY1.com reports sources have told it the plan would lead to layoffs for 9,367 workers, 15-minute subway frequencies on weekends, longer waits for trains on weekdays, and elimination of some bus routes. An MTA spokesman told the news service that the agency has “said all along that unless we received $12 billion in federal emergency assistance we would be forced to enact draconian cuts and layoffs. As we are required to enact a balanced budget and the feds have yet to act on another COVID-19 relief package that would help mass transit, we are moving ahead hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. If the federal aid comes through in that amount, we will adjust our spending plan accordingly.”
New legislative moves to try to block Texas Central project are expected, report says
More moves to block efforts to build a high speed train between Dallas and Houston are likely in the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature are likely, the Texas Tribune reports. In the latest of a series of legislative efforts to block the Texas Central project, State Sen. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) has filed a bill which would forbid state agencies from giving permits to high speed rail projects if all federal approvals and permits have not been obtained. Kyle Workman, president of Texans Against High-Speed Rail said he expects other legislative maneuvers but told the news organization, “I can’t disclose all of our game plans.” Texas Central said in a statement it is “focusing on finalizing financing and getting ready for execution.” The Tribune reports Texas Central has said it plans to start construction in the first half of 2021, bu has not yet applied for a key permit from the Surface Transportation Board, and two Texas agencies said they have not received all the necessary permit applications from the company.
Protesters block CN track in British Columbia, say more blockades are planned
Protesters blocked a section of Canadian National track in Burnaby, British Columbia, for about 2½ hours Tuesday, departing peacefully about a half-hour after being served with an injunction ordering the area to be cleared. BurnabyNow.com reports about 20 people took part in the protest organized by the group Extinction Rebellion against the Trans Mountain pipeline project. A spokesman for the protesters said more rail blockades were planned.