RTA chief tells it like it is: pre-Katrina service won't be restored in depopulated areas

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |

The city’s transit chief delivered a blunt message this week: Don’t expect service to return to pre-Katrina levels in parts of the city where significant numbers of people haven’t come home. “Unfortunately, what happens is a mindset that says, if I had it before Katrina I should have it again,” New Orleans Regional Transit Authority CEO Justin Augustine said Wednesday, at a City Council hearing on his agency’s 2012 budget.

RTA lists worthy projects; let's be sure they're well designed

By Stephen Crim, The Lens contributing opinion writer |

With applications due at the end of the month for TIGER III grants for transportation infrastructure, the federal government will soon be playing Santa Claus to transit agencies around the nation. As in the past, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has put together a wish list.

Filled-in canal drives up cost of planned Loyola Avenue streetcar extension

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |

A bridge running over a buried canal beneath a streetcar track — the setup sounds like a backdrop for the post-industrial romance of an Arcade Fire video. On Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District, however, the infrastructure sandwich will soon be a very expensive reality – and one that has raised the price of putting a streetcar line on the corridor by several million dollars, according to engineers working on the track with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority.

TIGER III funds: How NOT to spend these federal transit dollars

By Stephen Crim, The Lens contributing opinion writer |

The U.S. Department of Transportation has opened the application process for $527 million in grants for transportation projects under the name TIGER III. In an earlier round of similar funding, last year the Regional Transit Authority won $45 million for the Loyola Avenue line.