NJ Transit Brings Light Rail Extension Into Bergen County One Step Closer

Supporters of light rail in Bergen County, NJ received a piece of news they have been waiting for a long time. Currently NJ Transit light rail runs only in Hudson County, but recently the transit agency approved an environmental study to extend the line 10 miles north of its Tonelle Avenue stop to Englewood Hospital.

The Bergen portion of Hudson-Bergen will finally be implemented and be a barrier-free service to schools, hospitals, universities and commercial centers. - Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Rose Heck

Proposed stations include 91st Street in North Bergen, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, Englewood Route 4, Englewood Town Center and Englewood Hospital.

The project was altered by a few miles due to opposition from officials and residents in Tenafly, where stops had been proposed for Tenafly Town Center and Tenafly North. NJ Transit’s Board of Directors approved $3 million for Jacobs Engineering of Morristown to finish the final environmental impact statement.

RWA is excited to see light rail expansion all across the United States. We know the benefit that a light rail extension will bring to the Bergen County residents, not only with more options of transit but the economic development that follows light rail development.

To learn more about how to bring light rail to your city, contact RWA today and find out how The Tide light rail system was born in Hampton Roads. 

Hudson-Bergen light railimage credit: wallyg on flickr

Future Light Rail Transit Line Will Improve Duke-Durham Connections

A new light rail line was proposed by Triangle Transit to better connect Durham and Orange counties. The track is estimated to be completed within the next 12 years and will feature stops at various campus hubs, with one stop located on Erwin Road serving Duke Hospital, one on LaSalle St close to Science Drive, and one on Ninth Street near East Campus. The train track will begin at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical Campus and end at North Carolina Central University.

The plan came about through a joint effort between the metropolitan training organization of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro, and Triangle Transit, an organization devoted to facilitating transportation within the region. The hope is that notifying the public this early may lead to increased growth in anticipation of the light rail.

Sam Veraldi, director of Duke Parking, Housekeeping and Transportation, said he has been in conversations with officials to determine the Duke University’s role in the light rail’s progression. He noted that the light rail has the potential to pave the way for increased student exploration of nearby Durham locations that many students have not been exposed to in the past.

RWA knows the impact that this future light rail transit line will have on Durham area. The ability to connect the city with its universities and provide another alternative mode of transit should lead to economic growth and development in the Durham area.

To learn more about how RWA can help your city bring light rail transit to your residents, contact us today. 

Charlotte Light Railimage credit: davidwilson1949 on flickr

Surrey British Columbia Pushing For Light Rail Transit Solution – Canada Knows The Value Of Light Rail

The Surrey Board of Trade announced a new coalition, Light Rail Links, which is joining the call for an light rail transit solution to the region’s lack of rapid transit infrastructure. Surrey business and community groups formed the group to get light rail transit on track for south of Fraser.

Surrey Mayor, Dianne Watts, has been pushing for years to bring a light rail solution connecting Surrey town centres: one between City Centre and Guildford, along 104th Avenue; one connecting City Centre to Newton, along King George Boulevard; and one connecting Surrey to Langley along the Fraser Highway. The mayor is in support of light rail transit as compared to a SkyTrain solution.

Increased traffic in Surrey as the population grows has become a very real threat to potential businesses investing in Surrey. Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said it took her 50 minutes by car to get from South Surrey to the Board of Trade office at 104th and 144th Avenues. Light Rail Links stressed that Surrey, the fastest-growing municipality in the region, is expected to grow 50 percent to 750,000 residents by 2041. Yet it has not had any significant transit infrastructure in almost 20 years.

RWA knows the importance of light rail and the benefits it brings to metropolitan areas. Our President, Randy Wright, played an integral part of bringing The Tide to the City of Norfolk. Business investment is 7 to 1 around light rail transit, meaning for every dollar you spend on light rail, businesses will invest seven. Business investment combined with traffic congestion relief options make light rail a viable option for most cities.

To learn more about how RWA can help bring light rail to your city, contact RWA today. 

Light Rail Canadaimage credit: Canadian Pacific on flickr

Salt Lake Light Rail Transit Line Packing Thousands Of Rides Per Day

On April 15th, the Utah Transit Authority opened their light rail transit line from downtown Salt Lake to the Salt Lake International Airport. It is a six mile stretch of transit  that in its first few weeks have far exceeded expectations.

According to the UTA, about 4,800 people per day ride the line and that number does not include the passengers who are headed to the airport that were already on the Green line before the downtown stop.

The addition to the line has added to the 140-mile rail system that has been aggressively built in just over twelve years. The Green line has been a welcome addition to the residents of Utah, allowing for alternate means of transit to the airport and neighboring cities like West Valley City, Provo, and Ogden.

The Brookings Institution has recently determined that the Green line is convenient for about 65% of commuters in its service territory. That number would make it the most convenient light rail transit line in the United States.

RWA understands the benefit that light rail transit can bring to our metropolitan areas. RWA is excited for the studies of the Tide expansion into Naval Station Norfolk and Virginia Beach to begin and hopefully bring about more transit connectivity in Hampton Roads. To learn more about RWA’s role in The Tide development, contact us today. 

The Green Line Light Rail Transit Salt Lake Utahimage credit: CountyLemonade on flickr

New Light Rail Transit Line Promotes Urban Development In Denver Suburb

A light rail transit line is opening Friday and could remind long time residents of an earlier time in Denver’s existence when their trolley route through the suburbs to Golden, CO was booming. The Denver Tramway Corp.’s Route 84 connected suburban ranch homes to jobs in the city. When cars and buses replaced the trolley in the 1950′s, West Colfax Avenue corridor was a neon showplace of shopping, dining, and entertainment.

With the launch of a new light rail transit line, Denver officials are anticipating a boom returning to the area. Millions of private and public dollars have been invested and business owners are anxious for the possibilities of this new line.

One developer is using 5 acres to redevelop and place 110 homes 400 feet south of the Lamar Station Crossing light rail station.

Projects are coming out of the ground, and deals are being done right and left. West Colfax is on its way back. It’s just taking off. – Bill Marino, Director of the Lakewood -West Colfax Business improvement District

The West Rail Line — or W Line — is the first completed project in the $6.5 billion FasTracks mass transit package approved by voters in 2004 and paid for with a 0.4 percent sales tax. The Regional Transportation District projects the line will initially carry more than 19,300 riders daily, which is slightly more than the entire population of Golden.

If you are interested in learning more about light rail transit and how it can benefit your city, contact RWA today and let us help you.

Denver RTD Light Railimage credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious on flickr

Maryland Making A Push For Federal Support To Build Two Light Rail Systems

In an article by the Baltimore Sun, state officials for Maryland went to Washington D.C. to assure the administration that the state has both the means and the will to build two light rail systems.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown met with U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari and the deputy administrator for the Federal Transit Administration to let them know that Maryland has the resources and that they are at a critical point.

State officials hope to persuade both federal agencies to partner with the Maryland to help fund the cost of two large public works projects. The $2.58 billion Red Line that would run 14 miles from Woodlawn to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus and the $2.15 billion Purple Line that would run 16 miles from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County.

The state has already put into place several strategies to help increase Maryland’s opportunity to receive federal funding. First, they approved a gas tax that will add $4.4 billion over the next six years to the transportation trust fund. Secondly, the General Assembly approved legislation that creates the framework for public-private partnerships to pay for infrastructure improvements and other projects.

The Maryland Transit Administration has set a 2015 start date for both lines with a completion date of 2020 or 2021.

RWA supports Maryland’s push to receive federal funding for light rail transit. RWA know the impact that The Tide has had on the City of Norfolk and will continue to have on the Hampton Roads region into the future. To learn more about the challenges to starting a light rail project, contact RWA today.

Future Maryland Light Rail Transitimage credit: James Willamor on flickr

HRT To Study Expansion Of The Tide To Naval Station Norfolk

Hampton Roads Transit announced recently that they have hired an engineering firm to conduct The Tide expansion to Naval Station Norfolk. The hiring of the firm to commence with the study is the first formal step toward expansion of The Tide to Naval Station Norfolk.

The engineering firm will determine which mode of transportation, light rail or bus service, would be a better solution for high capacity mass transit into the world’s largest naval base. HRT says high capacity transit to the base has been of interest to regional planners as well as commuters.

HRT also said the study will take 15 months and will be financed through federal and state funding. It will be the first year of a multi-year federal study process that is necessary if Norfolk wants to receive federal construction dollars.

RWA knows that this study will be a positive opportunity for Hampton Roads. The Tide provides affordable and efficient transportation for the City of Norfolk. To learn more about the benefits of light rail transportation, contact RWA today.

The Tide Naval Station Norfolkimage credit: norfolkdistrict on flickr

Open Letter: Light Rail Could Fix Parking Problem At The University Of Rochester

Light rail is the solution to a parking problem plaguing the University of Rochester, at least according to one writer. Kevin Yost wrote the Democrat and Chronicle to voice his solution to fix the parking issues.

 There is a solution to the parking crunch at University of Rochester and its surrounding neighborhood. Namely, a public light-rail system could run from Charlotte through downtown and the Plymouth-Exchange Neighborhood, and use the former Erie Lackawanna right-of-way and its bridge over the Genesee River, serve the university and also run out to Rochester Institute of Technology, Park Point, and end at the new urbanist Erie Station Village in Henrietta.

A branch line from the university could also serve College Town, Monroe Community College, Pittsford and Fairport, while another branch could serve South Town Plaza, The Marketplace mall and Calkins and Lehigh Station roads. There should also be other light-rail and commuter rail lines serving the city and other suburban areas as well.



Light rail has proven to be an affordable and efficient means of transportation for the residents in the City of Norfolk. To learn more about how light rail can benefit your city, contact RWA today.  

light rail transitimage credit: camknows on flickr

Another Glowing Testimonial – This Time from the President of the U.S. – Nigeria Trade Council

Titus O. Olowokere, President, U.S. – Nigeria Trade Council

It was a pleasure meeting … at the Africa-America International Business Forum. On behalf of the Planning Committee of the Business Forum, I want to thank you once again for your participation. Your presentation on “Africa’s Economic Growth Potentials in Light Rail” was very well received. The information in the panel discussion was scholarly, informative, very timely and was speaking from the heart. Our only regret is that we didn’t have more time to discuss the topic with you in more detail.

We hope that you enjoyed meeting the members of the business community present, and that you will consider returning in the future to participate in other programs for the professional improvement of our Business Community in Georgia, and to foster bilateral trade relations with other national economies.

Again, a huge thank you! I look forward to future collaboration with you.”

Light Rail Development Brings Economic Growth Along For The Ride

The opponents of light rail often reference the cost of light rail development and the impact it would have on many states’ already depleted transportation budgets. An often over looked benefit to light rail development is the economic growth that comes along with it.

According to APTA, the American Public Transportation Association, for every $1 spent in light rail development, there are $7 spent in economic development around that light rail.

Light Rail Economic Development Success Stories

  • Kenosha, WI — Over $120 million in economic development.
  • Tampa, FL — Over $600 million prior to construction and then more than $2 billion in economic development.
  • Memphis, TN — $137 million in economic development.
  • Portland, OR — $2.3 billion in economic development.
  • Charlotte, NC — $400 million in economic development.
  • Dallas, TX – $8 billion in economic development

Randy Wright & Associates was heavily involved in bringing light rail to Hampton Roads. With the implementation of The Tide light rail system in Norfolk, we have seen over $500 million in economic development in the short time that The Tide has been active.

If you would like to learn more about how light rail can benefit your city, head on over to the transportation consulting page to continue the discussion.

The Tideimage credit: VaDOT on flickr

Multifamily Development In Denver CO Receives Backing From Urban Land Conservancy And U.S Department Of Housing And

The Urban Land Conservancy, in partnership with the Piton Foundation and Gary Community Investment Co., City of Denver and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently purchased the largest land purchase in ULC history. The purchase of 9.4 acres at about $6 million will be used to develop 156 permanently affordable apartments and additional assets to benefit the community.

This is ULC’s largest acquisition using Denver’s $15-million Transit-Oriented Development Fund, the country’s first fund created specifically to preserve and develop affordable housing near public transit, according to a ULC statement.

The property, called Park Hill Village West, is located in an area of northeast Denver where many families lack access to affordable housing, high-performing schools and quality healthcare. Connecting affordable multifamily housing to public transit is a necessity for PHVW and the property is located at the 40th/Colorado station on the East rail line of FasTracks. The commuter rail travels through an area of Denver that Piton has targeted because the neighborhoods are home to nearly 35,000 children living in poverty.

RWA understands the importance of transit-oriented development. Visit the RWA Transportation Consulting page to learn more and continue the conversation. 

Denver skylineimage credit: MomentsForZen on flickr

Cumberland County Future Transportation Projects Centered Around Economic Development

Cumberland County’s new transportation plan, which was approved this month, will have an economic focus on the direction of future transit policies. The hope is is to improve the connection between the county and the larger markets of South Jersey.

 It sets the direction in terms of future policies. It looks at transportation as the primary economic driver for Cumberland County. – Planning Board Director, Bob Brewer

The plan noted that economic development is ultimately dependent on transportation access, with roads serving as the main conduits for commerce and commuting in the county. In one possibility of changes to come, Brewer said the plan will set a future outline for improving express bus lines between Bridgeton and Atlantic City.

RWA understands the importance of economic development and its partnership with transportation development. Light rail development has been integral in economic development in major cities across the US. According to APTA, the rule for economic development around light rail development is 7 to 1. That means for every dollar spent in light rail, seven will be invested in economic development around the light rail.

Talk with RWA today and let us help you plan your communities transportation future. Economic development is important in every community and RWA knows how to help develop the right plan.

The Tide Light Rail Economic Developmentimage credit: tracktwentynine on flickr

Featured Photo: RWA President W. Randy Wright & Nigeria Ambassador to the USA H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye

RWA President W. Randy Wright, Nigeria Ambassador to the USA H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye

RWA President W. Randy Wright & Nigeria Ambassador to the USA H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye at The Africa – America International Business Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, GA. Mr. Wright spoke to conference attendees on Economic Growth Potentials in Light Rail.

Highway Trust Fund and Federal Transit Administration Could See Potential Budget Cuts From Sequestration

With sequestration cuts slow to come about, many are speculating where and how budget cuts may be made. Transportation is one of the main areas where cuts are expected to be made.

Currently, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), including the Mass Transit Account (MTA), are exempt from cuts under sequestration, so formula funding to transit agencies should not be impacted.

Several programs that can be effected by sequestration cuts are the General Fund transfers to the Highway Trust Fund, as well as to programs funded from the General Fund, such as New Starts, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) operations, FTA Research, and even the recently enacted emergency relief funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery are subject to sequestration cuts.

Below is a table to reflect how the expected sequestration cuts will impact programs:

The table was provided by APTA (American Public Transportation Association). Figures are in millions.

How devastating would sequestration cuts be to our already struggling federal transportation budget? Let us know your thoughts and leave your comment below. 

Amtrak Trainimage credit: Gene Bowker on flickr

Charlotte Begins Streetcar Construction – 1.5 Mile Starter Line Near Time Warner Cable Arena

With construction beginning recently, Charlotte is excited to get its first stretch of streetcar rail underway. The 1.5 mile starter streetcar line will begin with construction crews will start road and curbside work along Trade Street nearest to Kings Drive, then move toward the Time Warner Cable Arena. The streetcar line will interface at TWC arena with the existing light rail line.

There have been some to question the impact that the streetcar line with have on light rail funding, but Charlotte was able to secure government funding to help build the line. In November 2012 the city awarded a $26.3 million contract to Atlanta-based Balfour Beatty Rail Inc. and Charlotte-based Blythe Development Co. for the streetcar line.

What do you think about Charlotte’s development of a streetcar line? Will this help or hinder light rail? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Charlotte streetcar projectimage credit: OZinOH on flickr

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