September 17, 2021
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California homeless camp fire damages 2 bridges, disrupts public transportation
Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025
The Top 10 Automotive Concepts that automotive enthusiasts will be itching to see on the road!
Oregon Transportation Commission, wary of I-5 Rose Quarter project’s growing price tag, grants conditional approval
Woman dies after being hit by car in North Windham Friday night
Silk-FAW Continues To Poach Italy’s Automotive Talent, As Lamborghini’s Katia Bassi Joins As Managing Director
Transportation Department cracks down on airlines withholding refunds for canceled flights
Bear gets trapped in car, destroys interior
Cycling apparel company adding full-service bike repair to visitor center
German sales plunge in August to lowest level since 1992
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California homeless camp fire damages 2 bridges, disrupts public transportation Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025 The Top 10 Automotive Concepts that automotive enthusiasts will be itching to see on the road! Oregon Transportation Commission, wary of I-5 Rose Quarter project’s growing price tag, grants conditional approval Woman dies after being hit by car in North Windham Friday night Silk-FAW Continues To Poach Italy’s Automotive Talent, As Lamborghini’s Katia Bassi Joins As Managing Director Transportation Department cracks down on airlines withholding refunds for canceled flights Bear gets trapped in car, destroys interior Cycling apparel company adding full-service bike repair to visitor center German sales plunge in August to lowest level since 1992
Jul
2021
12

UPDATE 3-Taiwan’s Foxconn discussing electric vehicle plant in Wisconsin

(Adds Fisker comment)

TAIPEI, July 9 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s Foxconn said on Friday it was in talks with the U.S. state of Wisconsin about building electric vehicles there, part of the major Apple Inc supplier’s push to diversify income streams.

Foxconn and electric car manufacturer Fisker Inc said in May that they had finalised a vehicle-assembly deal. They did not identify a location, but Fisker’s CEO said Foxconn’s Wisconsin site was a possibility.

In a statement, Foxconn said it had begun discussions with Wisconsin.

“Foxconn has engaged the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to discuss the company’s plans for electric vehicle manufacturing. Foxconn is optimistic about our partnership with WEDC and looks forward to ongoing discussions,” it added.

The company, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry, gave no further details.

A Wisconsin Economic Development Corp spokesman said the agency does not comment on any potential talks until a contract is executed.

In April, Foxconn drastically scaled back a planned $10 billion factory in Wisconsin, confirming its retreat from a project that former U.S. President Donald Trump once called “the eighth wonder of the world” and was supposed to build cutting-edge flat-panel display screens.

A month earlier, Foxconn’s chairman said it may make electric vehicles (EVs) at the Wisconsin site, though could decide on Mexico, and would make a decision this year.

Over the past year or so Foxconn has announced several deals on the production of EVs with automakers including Fisker, China’s Byton and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, and Stellantis NV’s Fiat Chrysler unit.

On Friday, Fisker said talks with Wisconsin economic development officials were normal in the process of evaluating potential plant sites. The carmaker said in May it had finalized plans for Foxconn to build vehicles for the electric car startup at a U.S. plant starting in 2023, and Wisconsin was one of four options.

Foxconn aims to provide components or services to 10% of the world’s EVs by 2025 to 2027, posing a threat to established automakers by allowing technology companies a shortcut to competing in the vehicle market. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit Editing by David Evans and Mark Potter)

Jul
2021
12

California Invests $1.18 Billion in Infrastructure

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The California Transportation Commission has allocated $1.18 billion for infrastructure projects throughout the state.

The commission, which is made up of 13 members, is responsible for programming and directing transportation funds for highway, rail, transit and active transportation purposes.

More than half of the investment, some $630 million, came from Senate Bill 1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. This legislation, which involved a hike to fuel tax rates, is intended to direct $54 billion over a decade to fixing roads, highways and bridges, as well as supporting transit and safety.

According to the commission, SB 1 annually provides $5 billion in transportation funding, which is split between state and local agencies.

“California has the most heavily traveled transportation system in the country,” said California Department of Transportation Director Toks Omishakin. “[This] investment will allow Caltrans to make critical repairs and upgrades to our state’s roads and bridges, increase options for transit, rail, walking and biking, and support thousands of jobs.”

Some $7.8 million was approved for the Imperial County Transportation Commission in support of truck crossing improvements at the Calexico East Port of Entry. Imperial County comprises the eastern half of California’s border with Mexico.

The Calexico East Port of Entry, which links Imperial County to Mexicali, is a bustling crossing point for commercial trucks. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, this port of entry has processed 107,929 trucks so far in 2021.

About $200 million was set aside for constructing a truck climbing lane along Interstate 10, which stretches across the southern U.S. from Santa Monica, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., and serves as an important conduit for freight.

In Stockton, $20 million will support a project located at a freight rail corridor that links the Port of Stockton to markets throughout California. An inland port located on the San Joaquin River, the Port of Stockton has handling facilities for dry and liquid bulk materials as well as containerized cargo.

Specifically, crews will build a flyover spanning the Stockton Diamond, an at-grade crossing point for Union Pacific Corp. and BNSF Railway tracks. According to the commission, the project will provide vertical clearance, eliminating interference between the freight railroads at this intersection.

A few of the projects focus on incorporating alternative fuels into the transportation sector. Some $5 million was issued for the procurement of 20 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses and related infrastructure to improve service frequency in Los Angeles County.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System was issued $13.3 million to purchase 11 battery-electric buses. Specifically, these buses will be used on the Iris Rapid route, which will link passengers from Otay Mesa to the Iris Avenue station east of Imperial Beach when it is completed.

Along I-10, some $1.3 million was approved for the installation of electric charging stations for zero-emission vehicles near Banning and Blythe. Banning is 30 mile east of San Bernardino. Blythe is located directly across

Jul
2021
12

California is restoring electric car rebates, but some environmentalists aren’t happy

SACRAMENTO — California is slated soon to reinstate funding for subsidies that encourage drivers to buy electric cars, a program advocates say will help the state prepare for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

But who exactly will get rebate checks has created a divide between some state legislators and environmental activists, who say more money should be directed to help low-income drivers go electric.

Under the budget legislators sent Newsom last week, the state will spend $525 million over three years on its main rebate program, which offers electric car buyers incentives of around $2,000 on new electric vehicles.

The governor is expected to sign off on the legislation, even though the subsidies end up going mostly to buyers with annual incomes above $100,000.

Newsom had previously proposed to eliminate the payouts and shift spending to programs encouraging low-income people to trade in older, heavily polluting cars. At the time, he said the move would show “it’s not just about expensive, fancy cars, and the rest of us are left behind.”

To the dismay of some advocates, he reversed course under pressure from legislators and lobbyists. “It shows that equity is still just a talking point,” said Román Partida-Lopéz, an attorney at the Greenlining Institute, which fights for racial justice in environmental policy.

Yet there are differing perspectives among progressives. Some disagreed with the governor’s plan to scrap the general EV subsidies — regardless of who the buyers are — because doing so could undermine California’s ambitious climate goals. Nearly two-thirds of electric car buyers in the state have received the rebates over the past decade.

The state’s new budget sets aside $400 million over the next three years for transportation equity projects, including for Clean Cars 4 All, a grant program that gives low-income buyers up to $9,500 to trade in their gas cars and buy new or used electric models.

State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, the Fremont Democrat who chairs the budget subcommittee on environmental protection, said the budget strikes a balance between equity efforts and incentives for the general public. He stressed the state has only 14 years to transform its auto sector to meet Newsom’s 2035 order — and only about 9% of vehicles sold statewide today are electric, including plug-in hybrids.

“We’ll never make it,” Wieckowski said. “It’s not the time to close down the shop. You’ve got to have incentives (for) everybody.”

The state’s general rebate program is its most popular: Money for the program ran out in April, a near-annual event since the state rebates began in 2010, and about 5,000 buyers are on the dreaded waiting list.

But much of that money has gone to the same type of buyer: successful men living in affluent pockets of the Bay Area and Los Angeles. According to an analysis by The Chronicle, those who got rebates in recent years are about 68% male, and nearly half are white. More than 70% had a household income above

Jul
2021
12

Silicon Valley pedals closer to region’s first bicycle superhighway

Santa Clara County is planning the region’s first bike superhighway—but a route still needs to be selected.

“I don’t see a bicycle superhighway going down El Camino,” Erik Lindskog, a member of VTA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said at Wednesday’s meeting. “I think a bicycle superhighway needs to be a little more separate from traffic.”

The idea of a superhighway stems from VTA’s Santa Clara Countywide Bike Plan released in 2018. The plan proposes a central bikeway to help cyclists travel more easily and safely between cities.

Santa Clara County already has 800 miles of bikeways, including dedicated bike lanes on roads such as San Fernando Street in downtown San Jose. There are 200 miles of dedicated bike trails, but many popular routes—such as the Guadalupe River Trail and Coyote Creek Trail—are not connected through a continuous, uninterrupted path.

VTA allocated $903,000 in funding toward the project, and aims to complete an analysis of the preferred route by January.

The transit agency reached out to local bicyclists to evaluate three alternative routes for a protected bike path stretching from East San Jose to Santa Clara. The three routes—dubbed the Shortliner, Trail Trackway and Walsh Wizard—take different paths from east of Highway 680 north of Mabury Road to Santa Clara as far west as Lawrence Expressway.

VTA judged each route by eight metrics: equity, compatibility, desirability, sustainability, access, joy, safety and feasibility. Equity measures how attractive a route is to new users, women and people of color, while desirability is based on whether segments of a route lead to popular destinations.

The Shortliner route scored highest among the most categories and follows an on-street path from Mabury Road, Taylor Street, Hedding Street and The Alameda to El Camino Real. The route is the shortest of the three alternatives.

Map of the Shortliner route option. Image courtesy of VTA.

San Jose resident and cyclist Andy Murillo said that when they travel via bike, they choose routes with as few turns as possible, which makes the Shortliner route attractive. However, they cautioned that riding along The Alameda and El Camino Real can be dangerous.

“The optimal option would be to make it easier and safer to bicycle The Alameda (and) along El Camino Real, rather than along a bike route that you have to piece together,” Murillo told San José Spotlight. “For a lot of people, it’s a lot easier to imagine yourself sharing a trail with pedestrians than sharing a street with cars.”

The Trail Trackway route scored highest for equity and safety. The route extends along the Penitencia Creek Trail, Coyote Creek Trail, Caltrans Corridor, Caltrain Corridor and San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail through Central Expressway.

However, VTA considers the route infeasible along some stretches of San Jose and Santa Clara. For example, in Santa Clara the route faces gaps in the Caltrain Corridor which are expensive to connect.

Map of the Trail Trackway route option. Image courtesy of VTA.

The third route is the Walsh Wizard, which tracks