CTA to buy more than 800 new rail cars

The Chicago Transit Authority‘s (CTA) board today is expected to award a contract for more than 800 new 7000-series rail cars.

CTA’s order for 800 new rail cars will allow the agency to replace older units, such as the 2600-series cars (pictured above) that were built in the 1980s.
Photo: Flickr user Kevin Zolkiewicz
Shared under Creative Commons

The deal includes a commitment from the winning bidder to build a multimillion-dollar assembly facility in Chicago, CTA officials said in an emailed announcement.

The contract is valued at $2 billion, a local CBS affiliate reported.

The plant would be the first of its kind for the city in more than 35 years. The last rail cars manufactured in Chicago were Amtrak‘s Superliner units, which were built at the now-shuttered Pullman-Standard factory in 1981, according to the CTA.

The new rail cars will replace nearly half of the agency’s existing units, some of which are more than 30 years old.

As of press time this morning, CTA hadn’t announced the name of the contract awardee.




LIRR expansion plan won’t require property acquisitions, Cuomo says

A plan to add a third track to MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will not require any residential property acquisitions, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday.

The LIRR initially anticipated acquiring portions of up to 20 properties to construct the expansion, but the plan has been revised to ensure that the expansion occurs entirely within the existing right-of-way, according to a news release issued by Cuomo’s office.

At a Long Island Association meeting yesterday, Gov. Cuomo announced that his plan to expand MTA Long Island Rail Road wouldn’t require any residential property acquisitions.
Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo is also collaborating with local mayors and the LIRR to review all seven street-level grade crossings along the LIRR expansion project corridor. The governor’s administration will work with communities to eliminate the crossings and find a better approach for each, Cuomo’s news release said.

“This plan is a transformative project for Long Island,” Cuomo said. “My administration is fully committed to mitigating the project’s impact on surrounding communities and improving safety overall.”

Cuomo’s plan reduces the expansion corridor to 9.8 miles, compared with 11.5 miles in previous proposals.

The project is aimed at expanding capacity by building an additional track on LIRR’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville.

Currently, the railroad can run trains only in one direction on that section of track. The expansion project will allow LIRR to increase service, reduce congestion and train delays, and enable the railroad to run “reverse-peak” trains to allow riders to travel to jobs on Long Island during traditional business hours, according to Cuomo’s office.

The Clintons’ Record Is Utterly Abysmal on Race

By Michelle Alexander, Michelle Alexander’s Facebook Page

believe this is a moment in history when millions of people could be mobilized in a way that changes the course of Democratic politics — perhaps forever.

I do not endorse Bernie Sanders, as a candidate, because I do not believe the Democratic Party can be saved from itself and therefore I will not endorse any Democratic candidate. BUT I believe it is critically important that he is helping to build a popular consensus in favor of political revolution. I endorse the revolution.

The Clintons’ record is utterly abysmal on race, poverty and criminal justice. They are now headed to South Carolina to play their usual games with black people. Few things would bring me more joy than to see people of conscience organizing on a massive scale across the country to stop their madness, wake up the communities that that have been most harmed by Clintonism, and put a decisive end to the kind of politics that the “New Democrats” and the Clintons have championed for 25 years.

I just published this piece in The Nation which explains exactly why the Clintons do not deserve the black vote. I hope you will share it and help mobilize our communities to stop the effort by the Clintons to play us once again.

  • *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funny, same day I see that the Congressional Black Caucus LOBBY GROUP has enforsed Mrs; Clinton; but the Congressional Black Caucus has not.

America’s Radical Transformation From a GM Economy to a Wal-Mart Economy

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I have differences of opinion on many issues. In no area are our differences stronger than trade policy.

In 1960, Detroit was the richest city in America and General Motors was our largest private employer paying union workers a living wage with affordable health care and a secure retirement.

Today, Wal-Mart is our largest private employer paying nonunion workers starvation wages with little or no benefits and selling products made in China.

America’s radical transformation from a GM economy to a Wal-Mart economy has decimated the middle class, turning Detroit into one of the poorest big cities in America and hollowing out communities across the country.

No city in America has suffered more than Flint. Long before Flint’s children were poisoned by contaminated drinking water, the city was poisoned by disastrous trade policies that allowed GM to eliminate more than 72,000 jobs and move several factories to Mexico.

Unfettered free trade turned this once-prosperous middle-class city, where residents could own a home, raise a family and retire with security, into a place where good jobs are scarce and extreme poverty is high. Today, a quarter of Flint residents have an annual income of less than $15,000 and 65% of the city’s children live in poverty.

The decimation of Detroit, Flint and communities all over this country did not happen by accident. It is a direct result of disastrous trade deals that have allowed corporations to ship our jobs to low-wage countries.

Since I have been in Congress, I’ve helped lead the opposition to these trade agreements. Not only did I vote against them, I stood with workers on picket lines in opposition to them. Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton sided with corporate America and supported almost all of them.

Here is the sad truth. The North American Free Trade Agreement, which was supported by Clinton, cost our nation 850,000 good paying jobs. It cost Michigan 43,000 jobs, Ohio 35,000 and Illinois another 35,000.

Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, also supported by Secretary Clinton, cost our country 3.2 million jobs, including 80,000 in Michigan, 106,000 in Ohio and 132,000 in Illinois. The agreement exploded our trade deficit with China to a record-breaking $365 billion last year and made it increasingly difficult to find a product that is not made in China.

One of the major reasons why our middle class has been disappearing for the past 40 years is the decline of the manufacturing sector. Incredibly, over the past 15 years, we have lost nearly 60,000 factories and almost 5 million manufacturing jobs.

Not only has our trade policy cost us millions of decent paying jobs, it has led to a race to the bottom. American workers are forced to compete against desperate workers abroad who make pennies an hour. In Grand Rapids, 300 decent-paying jobs are being shipped to Monterrey, Mexico, where Dematic will pay workers an estimated $1.50 an hour. That’s unacceptable.

It is easy for candidates to say what they want on the campaign trail. But voters must look at their record, rather than their rhetoric.

Throughout my political career I have stood with workers and demanded that corporate America invest in this country. Secretary Clinton’s position has been very different.

Not only did she support the North American Free Trade Agreement and special trade status with China, she also supported disastrous trade deals with Vietnam, Colombia and Panama.

Enough is enough! As president, we will work together to fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to make sure American jobs are no longer our number one export.


By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

Stanford Researcher: This Small Psychological Change Will Make You Much More Successful

Success, most of us have heard, is hard. We’ve read about Bill Gates’s insane hours when starting Microsoft, gossiped about Elon Musk’s divorces (and plenty of other founders’ rocky personal lives), and discussed the psychological cost of entrepreneurship. Listen to enough of these tales of exhaustion and trouble and it’s easy to assume that getting to the top professionally is bruising and stressful.

But that’s the very belief that could be holding you back from achieving great things, according to Stanford researcher Emma Sepala, a Stanford researcher and author of the new book The Happiness Track.

“After working in many high-achieving environments … I noticed too many people pursuing ‘success’ at a cost to themselves,” Sepala has written. “They were postponing their happiness now in pursuit of success … with the idea that, when they attain success, they will be happy. Yet they were burning themselves (and others) out in the process.”

The trouble is that science shows this exactly the wrong way to approach success. “When I looked at the research,” writes Sepala, “I saw that–overwhelmingly–happiness is actually the secret to success. If you prioritize your happiness, you will actually be more productive, more creative, more resilient, more energized, more charismatic and influential. You will have more willpower and be more focused, with less effort.” Sepala is not the only scientist to make the point that happiness generally precedes achievement, not the other way around.

Be nice … to yourself

Which is fascinating, but also a bit general. Great, now I know I should be happy to give myself the best shot at accomplishing impressive things, what can I do with that information besides add another stress to my already overworked brain?

Sepala, thankfully, doesn’t just admonish the ambitious to be happy. She also offers concrete, research-derived tips on exactly how you can modify your psychology to both improve your mental well-being and increase your odds of getting ahead. In short, this advice boils down to a simple dictum–be nicer to yourself.

In fact, you can even encapsulate Sepala’s advice in a handy rule of thumb–treat yourself with as much kindness as you’d treat a friend.

Research has “shown the immense power of self-compassion and compassion not only for our personal well-being but for our work life,” she writes. “Self-criticism is basically self-sabotage whereas self-compassion–treating yourself with the understanding, mindfulness, and kindness with which you would treat a friend–leads to far greater resilience, productivity, and well-being.”


Specific strategies for self-compassion

Sepala offers those looking to tweak their mindset for both greater success and greater happiness a handful of specific strategies that can help them increase their self-compassion.

  • Notice your self-talk. So you screwed up. Don’t tell yourself, “I’m an idiot!” Instead, be more gentle with yourself and acknowledge, “I had a moment of absentmindedness. That’s OK.”
  • Write yourself a letter. If your emotions are overwhelming, write yourself a letter as you would write to a friend, advises Sepala. This might feel strange the first time you do it, but it will help you keep the situation in perspective.
  • Develop a self-compassion phrase. Dr. Kristin Neff, a self-compassion researcher, uses this one: “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment; may I give myself the compassion I need.”
  • Make a daily gratitude list. Every day, write down five things you’re thankful for. Studies show gratitude physically changes your brain, making it easier for you to see the bright side of your life going forward.

Would you say the things you say to yourself to your best friend?

Building materials company to renovate long-vacant facility on Indiana short line

A Franklin, Ind., building materials company recently began renovating a facility located on the Louisville & Indiana Railroad (L&I).

84 Lumber will manufacture wood truss products at the building, located 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis.

“They will be occupying a building that’s been sitting vacant for over nine years,” said Cheryl Morphew, president and chief executing officer of Johnson County Development Corp. in a prepared statement. “They’ll be repurposing a vacant building and bringing job opportunities.”

And they’ll be shipping building materials via the L&I. A rail spur is already located on the property.

“84 Lumber has been a major player in the building materials market for many years,” said L&I Director of Marketing and Sales Scott Lurkins. “We look forward to growing our business with them as they expand their footprint in Indiana.”

L&I officials expect to begin delivering shipments to 84 Lumber in mid-2016.

One of six short-line railroads operated by Anacostia Rail Holdings Co., the L&I serves numerous customers along the Indianapolis-Louisville, Ky., corridor and in the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville.