|The General Motors (NOVA Bus) / Fuel Company / Tire Company "National
City Lines" Anti- Streetcar Conspiracy (Video Link) Is Alive And Well- In New York
We bet you never heard of a circa 1999 study commissioned by George Haikalis (presently of Vision42), for a Second Avenue light rail line (and recently instead "Bustituted" by NYC DOT's Bruce Schaller into an MTA "Select Bus Route").
While BHRA feels that the use of certain particular European light rail design paradigms and specifications (such as over three foot deep "slab track" requiring extensive utility relocation, the employment of oversized, overweight streetcars and the use of streetcar operating voltages greater than 600VDC) are totally wrong for older North American cities, we applaud any project that promotes light rail or "streetcars" as a Green, sustainable transportation mode.
Read the circa 1999 Second Avenue light rail study here: http://www.irum.org/lrtmes.pdf (PDF)
On a related topic, its interesting to note, that City DOT's recently failed effort for a 34th Street "Select Busway" was subverted from the 42nd street light plan, which in its late 1990's iteration provided for a "light rail loop" encompassing 42nd Street, 12th Avenue, 34th Street and a "Pedestrianized Broadway" between 34th street and 42nd Street.
As we already know, NYC DOT's Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Sustainability Bruce Schaller, long acknowledged as the number one advocate of the "Bus Rapid Transit Industry" (PDF) in the U.S., is the documented (PDF) "one man band" of current NYC government against the return of light rail to New York City.
Its as though he, present DOT Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan and the MTA planning department "rediscovered" certain previous plans for light rail all around New York City, and "Bustituted" them with Canadian made NOVA buses (PDF), almost as though these bus orders served as a sort of "international foreign aide corporate financial subsidy" (corporate welfare for the wealthy- current Mayor Bloomberg's business associates?) for the financially struggling NOVA BUS company of Quebec, Canada and the "Trillium USA" company, the Canadian controlled Natural Gas firm that contractually supplies the MTA NYC Buses with all its CNG bus fuel at fully 25% above the market cost of the fuel!
Its noteworthy to point out for those interested in "Conspiracy Theories", that General Motors, the driving force behind the infamous (and proved in U.S. Federal Court) "National City Lines" conspiracy against the U.S. streetcar industry, sold its Bus Manufacturing Division to NOVA BUS (now a subsidiary of VOLVO), and in fact, the current NOVA buses are made in the very same original G.M. bus manufacturing plant in Quebec. Small world...
In light of these facts, would any reasonable person ascertain that it was in fact City DOT's Bruce Schaller who ordered the sabotage of last year's NYC DOT Red Hook Streetcar Study by consultant URS?
On another related topic, Back in 1994, "the City" solicited 4 mysterious "bidders" who were interested in being appointed "Franchisee" for the design, construction and operation (Super- Turnkey) of the 42nd Street light rail project. Who were these mysterious "defense contractors" (addicted to "gold plated toilet seats' and "$10,000 screw drivers") penetrating into to the light rail industry? The following is the only information we could find on the internet (on the IRUM website) regarding the "Four Consortiums":
City Council Approves 42nd St. Trolley
IN A DRAMATIC MOVE that could mark the rebirth of streetcars in New York City, the City Council approved on June 9 the plan to build a 2.2 mile long light rail line on 42nd St. from one side of Manhattan to the other. The vote was 45-2, the two no votes being Kenneth Fisher (Park Slope) and Andrew Eristoff (Upper East Side). Brooklyn Councilman Steve DiBrienza was the sole abstaining vote.
"[The vote will] mean that New York will have the tourism attraction that the cable car has in San Francisco," said Fred Papert, President of the 42nd St. Development Corporation, in the New York Times the next day. The Development Corporation is a private non-profit group which has long campaigned for the new line. "It means there will be cleaner air in midtown Manhattan. It means new life for 42nd St."
The approval of the City Council marks the final step in the approval process. Later this year four separately assembled teams of companies that would lay the track, provide the cars and operate the system on a franchise basis will be formally approached to submit bids. Assuming a bidder is selected, construction could begin in 1995, with the line to open in 1997.
The light rail project is expected to cost $75 million, funded entirely by private investment. An additional $60 million will be paid for by federal, state and city funds for street refurbishing and replacement of water and sewer lines. The Council also endorsed spending $766,000 on preliminary engineering and to survey what is under the street now, which should be completed by November. This is a very important part of the plan , according to
James Moore, project director and consulting engineer at the Development Corp., because it "will let everyone know how much will it cost to make any utility relocations, and who should pay for them, the city or the private light rail franchisee."
The 42nd St. light rail project has attracted some large and well-respected transportation firms to the four prospective franchisee groups. Examples include Bombardier, builders of many of New York's commuter rail and subway cars; Siemens Transportation Systems, currently filling an order of 39 low-floor light rail cars for Portland, Oregon; Carey Transportation Systems and Liberty Lines Transit, Inc. The four groups are:
--The New York Light Rail Transit Group
--Forty Two Transit Associates
--42nd St. Trolley Team