09/16/2021

News

California’s Roads, Dams and Other Infrastructure Get ‘C-‘ From America’s Civil Engineers

California’s infrastructure, from highways to levees to water systems, received an overall grade of “C-” from the American Society of Civil Engineers in its annual evaluation. The Golden State’s airports, wastewater systems and ports received the highest grade at “C+,” while energy came in at a near-failing “D-” in the report released last week. “Recent […]

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Quarterly Housing Units In California Down 10%

March 2019 building permits came in hot with a 40% total unit increase compared to February 2019, including a 25% increase in single-family dwelling units and a 63% increase for multifamily – but that’s where the positive news ends. All housing categories, and even non-residential construction valuation categories, revealed permit decreases of at least 15% […]

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Wealthy Bay Area Suburbs Could Have A Whole New Look Under California Housing Bill

When Paul Wickboldt moved to the Bay Area from Boston more than two decades ago, he settled in Walnut Creek for the same reasons many families choose the suburbs: good public schools, safety, a backyard for the kids to play in, and the pleasure of knowing his neighbors. “There’s a different level of anonymity that […]

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California’s Hottest Housing Bill Moves Ahead—With A Break For Smaller Counties

A controversial bill that would force California cities to allow denser housing around public transit cleared a major hurdle today, but only after its sponsor agreed to go easier on smaller-sized counties. Senate Bill 50, from Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, passed out of a key legislative committee after it was amended to […]

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Cyber-Sabotage, Wildfires, Weather — A Web Of Threats To The Power Supply Could Leave Californians In The Dark

Russians hack Ukraine’s electricity network, turning lights off and on at will, rendering the country’s best tech hands helpless to intervene. North Korea takes over the controls of a South Korean nuclear power plant. Snipers with high-velocity rifles unleash a fusillade on a transmission station near San Jose, inflicting $15 million in damage. It’s not […]

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The Poverty of the Carless: Toward Universal Auto Access

We document the falling socioeconomic status of American households without private vehicles and the continuing financial burden that cars present for low-income households that own them. We tie both these trends to the auto-orientation of America’s built environment, which forces people to either spend heavily on cars or risk being locked out of the economy. […]

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Transit: The Long Commute

The headline trumpeted “Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others,” in a 2000 edition of The Onion, the leading national satirical newspaper. The spoof suggested a national transit promotional campaign with the slogan “Take The Bus… I’ll Be Glad You Did,” and quoted a Los Angeles 80 mile daily commuter “Expanding […]

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Phil Matier: Cars still hold No. 1 spot for getting around in SF — and it’s getting worse

Despite millions of dollars spent on new bike lanes and other transit improvements, people still favor cars when it comes to commuting in and around San Francisco, a new report by the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency concludes.

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Feds rush Whittier Narrows Dam fix to prevent breach that would flood 1M residents from Pico Rivera to Long Beach

Because of the potential of massive flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers is rushing to begin a $500-million repair project for Whittier Narrows Dam, classified as the highest priority of any of the 13 “high risk” dams in the country. Nearly three years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers elevated the risk of failure from […]

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Ride-hailing companies fly off with BART’s airport riders

BART service to both San Francisco and Oakland international airports is taking a multimillion-dollar shellacking from ride-hailing companies. Compared with the high-water mark in 2013, BART estimates it has seen about a 10 percent drop in rides to and from SFO in the past year, resulting in a $4 million loss in fares. Oakland airport […]

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California cedes water to feds in Delta deal with Trump

Southern Californians could lose billions of gallons of water a year to Central Valley farmers under a deal Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has struck with water officials working for President Donald Trump. There’s no guarantee the agreement with Trump will accomplish what Brown’s team is seeking: a lasting compromise on environmental regulations that could stave […]

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California bus agencies ordered to make fleets emission-free

The days when urban life in California involved regular inhalations of diesel smoke from rumbling buses will soon be history after the California Air Resources Board ordered transit agencies to make their fleets entirely emission-free within two decades. The ruling, handed down by a unanimous vote Friday, is the latest move by California to seize […]

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Water districts were so close to deal. Now, lawsuits will contest ‘water grab’

Some water districts would like to keep negotiating with state officials over river flows. But lawsuits replaced settlements as the most likely path forward, the day after a crucial vote in Sacramento approving the “water grab.” The Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts had no agreement for flows on the Stanislaus River before Wednesday’s […]

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State Audit Exposes High Speed Rail’s Epic Waste of Time and Money

Although the midterm election was held on November 6th, the news media was absorbed for several weeks with undecided close races and the strength of the “blue wave,” especially here in California. Perhaps that is why a report from the Auditor of the State of California on the High Speed Rail Project issued the following […]

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California shifts water from farms, cities to fish. But a Jerry Brown compromise plan isn’t dead

Despite an epic last-minute compromise brokered by Gov. Jerry Brown, state water regulators voted Wednesday to reallocate billions of gallons of San Joaquin River water from farms and cities to revive struggling fish populations. After hours of testimony, the State Water Resources Control board voted to deliver hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water from […]

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