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August 2012

Metro – The Boston T turns 115 years old

The Hub’s rapid transit system is the oldest and fourth largest in the United States, so in light of it’s 115th birthday Saturday, Metro thought it only appropriate to mark the occasion with a cake, and a question: “What is your birthday wish for the  T?”

MBTA Acting General Manager Jonathon Davis said he had a couple.

“Adequate funding to continue to provide vital service, and also, the funding necessary to bring the system up to a state of good repair,” he said.

While money in a card is a timeless birthday gift standby, Davis has another, more sentimental T birthday wish.

“The one thing I really want to see is continued ridership growth,” Davis said.

If the numbers continue to climb, Davis may get his wish – June marked the 17th consecutive month of increased ridership. {…}

hat’s the Best Way to Build New Highways: Private? Public? Tolls? Magic?

(Washington, D.C. — WAMU) As the opening of the Interstate 495 Express Lanes on northern Virginia’s Capital Beltway draws closer, backers of the $2 billion project say they cannot guarantee the four new HOT lanes will achieve the goal of reducing traffic congestion while simultaneously returning a profit for their private sector operator.

The admission is noteworthy because there was enormous investment made by a private entity. The tolls revenues that are supposed to supply its profit are off limits to the state of Virginia for the next seven decades.

The HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes will run next to the Beltway’s non-toll lanes between the Dulles Toll Road and I-95 in Springfield, Va., one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. The project is the result of a public-private partnership between the state of Virginia and Fluor-Transurban, a company that has built similar facilities in the United States and abroad.

In the deal, the state received four new lanes of traffic capacity, a repaving of the Beltway, and a fully electronic toll facility for individual commuters and HOV-3 carpoolers. Transurban gets the toll revenues for the next 75 years, but company officials say they may not turn a profit at all.

“The private sector is responsible for paying back the debt and paying to operate and maintain the lanes,” said Jennifer Aument, a Transurban spokeswoman, at a recent press conference to promote the new E-ZPass Flex device that will be necessary for HOT lanes carpoolers to have. {…}

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