Vermont loses out on high-speed rail grant, state may use ‘Jeffords’ earmark instead

first_imgLINKSAmerican Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials: Vermont Route improvementsVermont Rail Action Network: High-Speed Rail In Vermont?Federal Rail Administration: U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Billion for High-Speed Intercity Rail Projects to Grow Jobs, Boost U.S. Manufacturing and Transform Travel in AmericaDOCUMENTSCommonwealth of Massachusetts: Vision for the New England High-Speed and Intercity Rail NetworkIn March and April, Gov. Peter Shumlin made several personal appeals to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a portion of the high-speed rail funding that states like Florida turned down.On Monday, Vermont’s application was rejected in the third, and last, grant round. The funding would have extended the Western Corridor Amtrak Service. Twenty-four states applied for 15 awards. LaHood announced that about $945.2 million would go toward projects in the Northeast. The federal government has, to date, awarded $10.6 billion for improvements in the reliability, speed and frequency of existing lines. Of that amount, $5.8 billion is obligated.In a statement, Shumlin accentuated the positive and downplayed the negative. He drew attention to the $53 million in high-speed rail money the state had received last year through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for improvements to the Vermonter rail line, which runs from St. Albans to Brattleboro and on to Penn Station in Manhattan. (The Vermont rail upgrades began last fall and are slated for completion in 2012.)The high-speed investments announced this week for other nearby states will indirectly benefit Vermont, Shumlin said, because they will result in faster travel times to New York.‘Vermont will see direct benefits from the funding received by our New England partners: the Connecticut project will support work for the Vermonter line and the major Northeast corridor projects in the New York metro area will ensure quicker clearance and reduced time travel for all trains,’ he wrote. ‘Additionally, the New York State project in the Albany area will directly benefit travel time for the Ethan Allen service.’Sue Minter, deputy secretary of the Agency of Transportation, said it’s clear the federal government wants to bolster the existing eastern rail Amtrak corridor before they expand another section. Sue Minter. VTD file‘It is a disappointment because we were really gearing up for that investment in the western corridor and seeing it as a critical link from Burlington to Rutland, which is one of highest priorities of the administration,’ Minter said.The current horizon for future federal funding for high-speed rail doesn’t look optimistic, according to Joe Flynn, rail director for the Agency of Transportation.‘It would have been wonderful to have gotten the award, and it would be disingenuous to say otherwise,’ Flynn said.The Burlington-Rutland line project is important for Vermont, Flynn said, but compared with projects in other states with denser populations, ‘our desire (to improve) the western corridor may not marry up to Washington’s radar screen.’‘We may have to do it without large sums of federal funding,’ Flynn said. ‘We may have to look at other ways to do it.’Flynn pointed to the $19.8 million earmark for transportation obtained by former Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., who retired from office in 2006, as a possible source of funding for passenger rail development on the western corridor. ‘We shouldn’t curl up in a ball because we didn’t get the grant,’ Flynn said.He suggested that the agency needs to determine exactly what it would take ‘to get Amtrak here so that it’s a competitive form of transportation.’Amtrak revenues and ridership are both up, Flynn said. About 140,000 people used passenger rail in Vermont last year. The state appropriated $4.5 million in subsidies for Amtrak in fiscal year 2012.The Ethan Allen Express, which runs from Rutland to Albany, and the Vermonter are both ‘in the black,’ according to Flynn. In the last fiscal year, revenues increased by $838,000, and the taxpayer subsidies for the service decreased accordingly.Meanwhile, the $52.7 million improvements to the Vermonter rail line could increase train speeds by as much as 20 miles per hour, Flynn said. Once the upgrades are completed, trains will be able to travel at a rate of 59 miles per hour and up to 79 miles per hour in certain areas.It currently takes about 10 hours to travel from St. Albans to New York City by train. The improvements on the Vermont line will shave 27 minutes from the total travel time; additional upgrades in Connecticut and Massachusetts will carve another hour from the trip, according to Flynn.‘The Vermonter has high travel time,’ Minter said. ‘The more we can do to reduce travel time, the more we can increase ridership.’Minter said the agency is actively discussing a northern run to Montreal via St. Albans. The rail project would involve designing a security checkpoint in Montreal, she said.  Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org by Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) May 11, 2011 Despite the Shumlin administration’s best efforts, the third time wasn’t the charm for the Amtrak western corridor project. The U.S. Department of Transportation passed over Vermont’s most recent bid for $83 million in funding for track improvements that would have enabled the state to offer passenger rail service from Burlington to Rutland. The western corridor is now used for freight.Dig Deeperlast_img read more

Lakers build early lead but fall to Kyle Lowry, Raptors

first_imgFor that, Ball took the blame.“We’re just ball watching, to be honest,” Ball said, not noticing his own pun. “I’m supposed to be back on the point guard, sometimes I go crash (the glass) when I’m supposed to be getting back, and (we’re) just not talking.”After a pair of gritty performances in which they were the ones climbing back from double-digit deficits, the Lakers on Friday learned how it feels to be on the other side.There was a point guard with a triple-double, but it was Ball’s counterpart, not the rookie, who is still searching for his first.Lowry scored 11 points with 12 assists and 10 rebounds. It was Lowry’s 3-pointer with 1:09 left that pushed the Raptors’ lead to nine and allowed the Raptors to hold the Lakers at bay.Ball finished with five points, six assists and seven rebounds. The Lakers took their biggest lead at 47-30 on a layup by Brandon Ingram with 3:56 left in the second period. The rest of the game felt like a mad scramble up a muddy slope. The Lakers never found their footing and ended up sliding into their third loss in five games.The subplot of the night was the continued dominance of the Lakers’ bench.Randle, whose misgivings about coming off the bench already seem like a distant memory, led the Lakers with 18 points, while Kuzma recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Clarkson added 11 points. Lakers rookies serenade Lonzo Ball on 20th birthday PreviousToronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Corey Brewer defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors forward CJ Miles, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle, right, shoots as Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, of Cameroon, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, left, passes the ball as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart, left, shoots as Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, of England, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., left, grabs a rebound away from Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, of Cameroon, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka, of Congo, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl, of Austria, dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, right, grabs a rebound away from Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Corey Brewer defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, of Cameroon, dunks during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart, left, shoots as Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka, center, of Congo, defends and forward Julius Randle watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell, left, blocks the shot of Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Famed comic book creator Stan Lee, right, talks with singer will.i.am of the Back Eyed Peas during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Toronto Raptors, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Corey Brewer defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 15Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Corey Brewer defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Raptors won 101-92. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES — Toronto’s All-Star backcourt had chipped away at what once was a 17-point Lakers lead. The Lakers, however, weren’t ready to give it up.A bench unit led by Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Clarkson had the Lakers tied with the Raptors with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter on Friday when Luke Walton decided it was time to go back to his first unit, including star rookie Lonzo Ball.“Some nights,” Walton said, “it’s the bench’s job to just get that lead or keep you around and you put the starters in and they’re supposed to finish it for you.”Related Articles The Raptors rattled off eight straight points, and when point guard Kyle Lowry heaved a full-court pass to a streaking Pascal Siakam for a breakaway dunk, Walton called timeout in disgust. He replaced his starters with the bench unit that had found earlier success. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“We gave up a lot of fast-break points,” said Ball, who turned 20 on Friday, “people not getting back and it was a unit thing so that’s why he pulled everybody.”It was a mirror image of the third quarter, when the Lakers’ starters were also ineffectual in transition.The Lakers actually outscored the Raptors 22-12 in fast-break points, but it was the timing of their defensive breakdowns that had the coach most frustrated.“We talked about how important that third quarter was when the momentum of the game was changing and them being a playoff team,” Walton said. “We can’t afford to give those up.”He said that “as a teaching lesson” he pulled his starters ahead of schedule with five minutes left in the third. His message might have been clear, but it didn’t resonate enough to help the Lakers in the final period.center_img That group had the Lakers ahead 79-77 when Luke Walton went back to Ball with 8:34 left in the fourth. Once the rest of the starters joined him, things stalled.There were missed 3-point attempts and a couple of charges. The Raptors rattled off eight straight points, taking a commanding 91-83 lead with 3:42 left before Walton went back to his bench.Brook Lopez was the only Lakers starter to score in double figures, though eight of his 13 points came in the first quarter. Brandon Ingram finished with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.For as much attention as Ball draws, for all of the praise directed to Ball and Lopez and the hope affixed to Ingram, it has been the bench that has kept the Lakers competitive in the early games of the season. On Friday, the Lakers reserves outscored the Toronto bench 56-27.“We have a good second unit,” Ball said. “So they come in to pick us up when we’re down, but that can’t happen.” Heisler: Can someone from Lakers tell LaVar Ball to shut up? Lakers’ Luke Walton singles out Larry Nance Jr. as ‘great example’ of putting team first Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more