Vermont seeks $125.6 million to fund rail upgrades

first_imgThe Vermont Agency of Transportation has announced the submission of two preliminary applications for federal stimulus money to fund $125.6 million in rail-bed upgrades. If approved, the upgrade projects would enable faster and expanded passenger train service across the state.The first application seeks $50.9 million to improve the rail line running from Swanton to Massachusetts through Essex and White River Junction, with the objective of increasing passenger train speeds to 59 mph, or even 79 mph through certain sections.The second application seeks $36 million to repair tracks between Burlington and Rutland and $38.7 million to upgrade the tracks south to Bennington and west to Hoosick, NY – also with the goal of allowing trains to travel at 59 mph.Vermont’s applications were made in tandem with proposals from all of the other New England states, in an coordinated effort to provide federal officials with projects that would complete an already established regional network. Working together, the six states are aiming for double ridership by 2030, along with increased freight movement. The best way to develop and expand important high-speed and intercity rail systems to their greatest potential is by working in close coordination with our New England neighbors said Governor Jim Douglas. The health of New England s economy and its environment is highly dependent on all states working together because of the proximity and interdependence of our major cities and towns.With the application process underway, the New England states will compete for shares of $8 billion allocated by Congress towards the development of high-speed and inner-city rail projects, with the twin goals of job creation in the short term and economic growth in the long term. In August, the six states will meet in Vermont at a high -peed rail summit to continue their campaign for enhanced high-speed rail across New EnglandPassenger rail along Vermont western corridor was recently thrown into jeopardy by this year’s budget cuts, but the state even found the money to continue subsidizing Ethan Allen, thanks partially to increased ridership.Final applications are due in September, with winners chosen in November. If Vermont is selected, work would begin in the Spring of 2010.The six key projects are listed, as outlined from a vision statement released by the six New England Governors.The Downeaster service which operates on a route included in the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor between Boston and Portland is a national model for the successful introduction of new intercity passenger rail service. The states along the Downeaster Route are working together to improve the infrastructure with the goal of reducing the travel time between Boston and Portland to two hours and increasing capacity to support 7 daily round trips.New Hampshire s Capital corridor will create easily accessible passenger rail service for more than 500,000 residents of Southern New Hampshire with stops in the cities of Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Boston. The rail line will also stop at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, creating a much-needed connection for tourists and travelers from across northern New England. Eventually, this service will extend north to White River Junction, VT and to Montreal fulfilling the vision of this designated High-Speed Rail Corridor. .Vermont s Western Corridor will provide direct service down the western side of the state connecting Burlington, Rutland, and Bennington with Albany and New York City via the Empire Corridor.Massachusetts will return the Vermonter to its original route through western Massachusetts via the Knowledge Corridor.  This effort, supported by the State of Vermont, is a vivid example of the ongoing collaboration of two states working together to improve service and increase the number of rail passengers. The Knowledge Corridor between Springfield and White River Junction provides connection between the Boston to New Haven and the Boston to Montreal legs of the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor.Through Connecticut s leadership, the group will work double track and replace bridges on the Springfield Line that serves the cities of New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield in order to provide the foundation for the larger rail network. Expanded train service will provide key connections between New York City, Bradley International Airport and will allow further development of the inland high speed rail line between Boston and New York.Providing the connection between Providence and Boston to TF Green Airport in Rhode Island via the Northeast Corridor as well as enhancing passenger service south of Providence will build on the long term transportation partnership between Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In addition, Rhode Island is working with Amtrak on capacity improvements along the Northeast Corridor in Southern Rhode Island that will permit bi-directional overtakes for intercity passenger rail, benefiting all users of the corridor while providing for future commuter rail infrastructure at Kingston Station.Other projects the states will pursue include the development of corridor plans for the Boston to New Haven and Boston to Montreal segments of the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor via the Inland Route through Worcester and Springfield. The Inland Route is also important as New England s largest freight rail corridor. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts will develop corridor plans for the northern half of the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor, which extends from Boston to Portland and beyond and from Boston through Concord, NH, Vermont and terminating in Montreal.  Massachusetts will continue its investment in the South Coast Rail project and continues to be supportive of building a connection between the North and South regional rail networks.For decades the New England states have successfully worked through the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) to promote promoting passenger rail service in the Northeast. The completion for the electrification of the Northeast Corridor in 2000 is a prime example of the successful long term advocacy for passenger rail. The development of the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor will fill in the gaps of the region s network and be a critical element in achieving the Northeast Governors goal to double passenger ridership in the northeast corridor by 2030.Source: press releaselast_img read more

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5,875 – The number of credit unions with assets less than what?

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Can you guess what this number represents?  You probably would not have guessed that this is the number of credit unions with assets less than the balances held on the Starbucks app and gift cards, which as of the first quarter 2016 totaled $1.2 billion (Source: marketwatch.com).  As a point of comparison, this is more than double the balances held on prepaid cards issued by Green Dot Corporation.  Perhaps even more surprising is that a whopping 41% of all Starbucks transactions are completed using a Starbucks card or their mobile app (Source: marketwatch.com).  Starbucks has announced plans to introduce a prepaid Visa rewards card through a partnership with Chase at the end of the year (the full article can be found here).In the grand scheme of things, the $1.2 billion balances held by Starbucks, while impressive, is a small piece of the American deposit base, which totals more than $12 trillion (Source: bankregdata.com).  However, the continued disruption of traditional banking should be what gets the attention of credit union decision-makers, as these types of alternatives are growing quickly and are being offered by a more diverse group of companies that generally have had nothing to do with traditional financial services in the past. continue reading »last_img read more

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3 easy ways to save money this fall

first_img 105SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for CUInsight.com. John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details You probably spent a decent amount of money this summer on vacations and just having fun in general. Then you had to spend money on all kinds of things so your kids were ready to go back to school. The sad part? The holidays aren’t too far off. If you need a few easy ways to save money this fall, here’s 3 ideas for you.Keep your systems off: If you’re anything like me, you’ve been keeping your house frosty during these hot summer months. Now that it’s starting to cool down slightly it’s a good time to think about shutting it off before the cold weather arrives. If you can wait until closer to November to turn your heater on, you can probably save a few hundred bucks. That’ll come in handy on Black Friday.Stop going out so much: In the summer, it’s fun to spend time and money doing fun things around town. Now that it’s cooling off, take advantage. Instead of dining out, break out that Crock-Pot, make a big batch of chili, and enjoy a hot bowl on a cool evening on your back porch. Haven’t been using that gym membership you bought back in January? Cancel it, and go for a run or a bike ride in the great outdoors. It’s finally cool enough that you won’t melt.Unsubscribe: Is your inbox full of promotional emails? I know mine is chocked full of emails from Amazon, Academy Sports, and tons of other retailers. As Christmas is right around the corner, it may be a good idea to unsubscribe to some of those. Sure, you might need some gift ideas for family, but you also may be tempted to buy a few discounted items for yourself. If you need help with unsubscribes, check out Unroll.Me.last_img read more

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Touchy topics you should never discuss in the workplace

first_imgWhen it comes to office conversation, there are varying opinions when it comes to what discussions are acceptable. To be on the safe side, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when discussing certain out of office matters while at work. Below are a few topics you should not touch on while in the workplace.ReligionPeople tend to feel very strongly about their religious beliefs. Furthermore, many view religion as incredibly private and take offense when the subject is broached. The best decision to make to avoid any workplace tension or ill will is to refrain from bringing up religious topics. You don’t have to hide what’s important to you, but because there are so many ways to worship, it’s better to leave this topic outside the office and just be respectful of different backgrounds and beliefs.PoliticsThese days we can’t seem to go anywhere without hearing about politics. The political climate is so divisive it seems to always stir up emotion no matter what party you affiliate with. Because politics today is often so contentious, it’s important to remember the effect political discussions can have on workplace rapport. Some people find it difficult to leave their political perspectives at work and when that occurs, it’s important to remain professional.Personal problemsIt’s absolutely fine to get to know your coworkers on a personal level. But remember, everyone has problems so there’s no need to share yours with your colleague. No one wants to hear about the fight you had the night before with your significant other. If you need advice or guidance on a personal matter from a colleague you consider a friend, ask to get together with them after business hours. 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendy Moody Wendy Moody is a Senior Editor with CUInsight.com. Wendy works with the editorial team to help edit the content including current news, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps … Web: www.cuinsight.com Detailslast_img read more

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Cuomo announced plan for COVID-related illness in children

first_imgAdditionally, Governor Cuomo announced the preliminary results of the antibody testing survey of more than 1,300 transit workers in New York City. He said 14.2% have the antibodies compared to 19.9% of the general population in New York City. (WBNG) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that the state is helping to develop national criteria for identifying the COVID-related illness found in children. Cuomo said there have been 73 reported cases in school-aged children. He said the symptoms the individuals have experienced are similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome. Cuomo said this could be due to the coronavirus. Here is a list of symptoms to look out for: Governor Cuomo announced the results of the state’s diagnostic and antibody testing surveys. He said the results show that communities of low-income and minority are suffering the most.  For more coronavirus coverage, click here.center_img Governor Cuomo also said this illness has taken three lives, including a 5-year-old in New York City, a 7-year-old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County.  Cuomo also announced a partnership with Northwell Health to expand access to coronavirus testing for low-income communities and communities of color. He said they will create 24 temporary testing sites at churches in minority communities in downstate New York. Prolonged fever (more than five days)Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluidsSevere abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomitingChange in skin color – becoming pale, patchy and/or blueTrouble breathing or is breathing very quicklyRacing heart or chest painDecreased amount of frequency in urineLethargy, irritability or confusion Governor Cuomo said as per the CDC’s request, the state is helping in response efforts for this COVID-related illness. He said the state health department is working with the NY Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA sequencing study to help in understanding this illness in children.last_img read more

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New COVID-19 epicenter East Java has among the lowest testing rates in Indonesia: Health Ministry

first_img“This means that East Java needs to do even more massive PCR laboratory testing,” Yurianto said.Read also: ‘Stop blaming us’: Surabaya mayor kneels down and cries over rising case numberEast Java has recently emerged as the new epicenter for COVID-19 in Indonesia after surpassing the number of confirmed cases recorded by Jakarta last week.According to the official government count, the province has recorded a total of 11,805 positive cases, with 863 deaths as of Monday, the highest in the country. Jakarta, which has long held the top spot, came in second with 11,237 confirmed cases and 625 deaths. East Java also reported the most daily cases on Monday with 297 new cases, followed by Central Java and South Sulawesi at 198 and 188 cases, respectively.According to the World Health Organization’s latest weekly situation report on Indonesia published on June 24, East Java had a positivity rate of around 25 percent between June 15 and June 21, far from the WHO’s provision of below 5 percent to impose “new normal” measures. The province has nevertheless ended its large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) and looks unlikely to reinstate them even as experts call for stricter controls to stem the spread of COVID-19.Topics : The Health Ministry revealed on Monday that East Java, Indonesia’s new COVID-19 epicenter, had one of the lowest testing rates compared to other provinces even as it continues to record the highest number of daily new cases. Health Ministry disease control and prevention director general Achmad Yurianto said in his daily press briefing that East Java had conducted only 1,428 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests per million population, far lower than Jakarta’s 21,406 tests per million population. Other provinces also had significantly higher testing rates, like West Sumatra (7,168), Bali (7,151) and Papua (4,436).last_img read more

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Bengkalis police arrest four people on suspicion of illegal logging

first_imgThe Bengkalis Police in Riau arrested last Wednesday four residents of Rupat Island on suspicion of illegal logging.Bengkalis Police chief Adj Sr. Comr. Hendra Gunawan said authorities found one of the suspects, identified as SUN, transporting 58 pieces of punak scantlings in his pickup truck on Wednesday.”When asked about the source of the scantlings, he said they were from a limited production forest [HPT] in Darul Aman village,” Hendra told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. Based on SUN’s statements, the police managed to discover the place where the illegal logging was taking place and arrested two other suspects, identified as TUM and JAS.”Police officers found a chainsaw, 300 meranti and punak logs, 58 wood planks and 95 scantlings,” Hendra explained.Police also arrested a suspect identified as SUJ, who is believed to have funded the illegal logging activities.Head of the Bengkalis Police’s criminal Investigation department, Adj. Sr. Comr, Adre Setiawan, said authorities had been probing illegal logging activities in the forest since the end of 2019.”After a land fire in the area we found signs of systemic illegal logging. But it was quite hard to capture the suspects as the location is quite remote and locals are used to illegal logging activities,” he said.”When we were transporting the suspects and the evidence, around 50 locals threw stones and tried to stop us,” he added.The four suspects have been charged under articles 83, 12, and 94 of Law No 18/2013 on the prevention and eradication of forest damage, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

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Jasa Marga plans to issue commercial paper, cut expenditure amid revenue downturn

first_imgAs of June 30, Jasa Marga has Rp 42.2 trillion worth of long-term debt from banks, a 90 percent year-on-year (yoy) increase, according to the company’s financial report published on the Indonesia Stock Exchange website.Jasa Marga’s financial report also shows that the company’s debt-to-equity ratio increased to 3.3 from 3.1 in the same period last year. The company set the maximum debt at 5 times its equity.Amid the rising debt, Jasa Marga’s financial director Donny Arsal assured investors that the company would enjoy an increase in revenue, as 18 of its 20 toll road projects were already in full operation.“We will have a steady cash flow on a long-term basis, as our toll roads are already in full operations. We also will not take massive projects in the future, maybe just one or two projects per year,” he said.Read also: Wika slashes new contract target by third to $1.46 billionHe added that Jasa Marga would not start a new construction project at least until 2023, as the company shifted its focus to optimizing revenue from existing toll roads.According to the company’s data, the toll roads operated by Jasa Marga and its subsidiaries increased by around 500 kilometers between 2015 and 2019 and currently total 1,165 km across Indonesia.Besides revenue optimization, Donny said, the company had also reduced its capital expenditure by Rp 2 trillion and operational expenditure by Rp 500 billion to maintain its profitability amid the recent downturn in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.“To face the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we reduce our operational expenditure by canceling business travel and reducing nonessential toll road maintenance costs, among other things. That’s why we could still post a positive result this year,” he said.Read also: Jasa Marga profit stagnates in 2019 despite double-digit toll revenue growthJasa Marga posted a Rp 105 billion profit during the first half of 2020, a 90 percent yoy drop from Rp 1.05 trillion in the same period of last year, according to its financial reports. The company’s revenue fell by 25.8 percent during the period, mainly due to the government’s Idul Fitri exodus ban and large-scale social restrictions.“We have to understand that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all sectors, including transportation. However, we saw a quick rebound in the toll road sector with the recent traffic increase” he said.According to the company’s data, vehicle traffic on toll roads had dropped by 50 percent from the pre-pandemic level in May, but the gap has been reduced to around 10 percent in August.Topics : Besides the issuance of commercial paper, Eka said, the company was preparing to issue Rp 1 trillion worth of bonds to inject fresh capital into the company.Read also: What you need to know about Batang industrial zone developmentHe said the company had acquired a large amount of debt and obligations over the last years as it had gone through a “massive construction phase” with 20 toll road construction projects.“Loans from banks and the capital market fund 70 percent of Jasa Marga’s toll road projects, while 30 percent comes from our equity. That’s why our debt has increased significantly in recent years,” he said. State-owned toll road operator Jasa Marga plans to issue up to Rp 1 trillion (US$68 million) of commercial paper (SBK) with one-year maturity date to provide additional capital, executives say.Jasa Marga’s corporate finance head Eka Setia Adrianto on Wednesday said the company was looking for alternative ways to fund its running projects and toll road maintenance, including with the issuance of bond and commercial paper.“We’re not aiming for the size, because [commercial paper] is a new product for us. [We plan to raise] between Rp 500 billion and Rp 1 trillion from the paper’s issuance,” he said during an online press conference.last_img read more

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Governor Wolf Touts Standardized Test Reduction Benefiting Students, Parents and Teachers

first_img Education,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Harrisburg, PA – As students and teachers prepare for back to school, Governor Tom Wolf joined Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and education advocates for a Schools that Teach event in Pittsburgh to announce students and teachers will spend at least 20 percent less time on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) this school year.“Parents, teachers, and students have expressed concerns to me about the amount of time devoted to standardized tests,” said Governor Wolf at Pittsburgh Morrow PreK-8. “This reduction to the PSSA is an important step to giving students and teachers more time for learning while maintaining the accuracy of the test and reducing the burden on the kids.”“Our state is listening to parents about what we want in the education of our children,” said parent Cynthia-Grace Devine-Kepner.  “As a parent, I am thrilled with the reduction in the time commitment to the standardized test which can be stressful to many children. This change allows our kids to focus more on learning in the classroom which will help them to better prepare for success throughout their life.”“I am relieved that teachers’ voices were heard when we emphasized the pressures that are put on our students and teachers with the abundance of testing,” said Lorena Mitchell, a seventh-grade math teacher at Pittsburgh Colfax K-8. “A reduction of 20 percent of testing time could equate to two full days that I can use in my classroom to help maintain structure and focus on educating the students.”Beginning this school year, students and teachers in grades 3 through 8 will spend an average of 20 percent less time on statewide testing, and an even greater reduction – nearly 25 percent – for Pennsylvania’s youngest students. The Department has identified and removed two sections – one in math, one in English language arts – and additional questions from the science section, which could eliminate up to two full testing days for some schools.“We are grateful to both Governor Wolf and the Department of Education for their willingness to listen to the voices of educators from across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. “This decrease supports the steps we took as a District to reduce the amount of time our students in grades K-5 spend taking tests.”Currently, the PSSA exams take place during a three-week testing window identified by school districts and this schedule will apply to the shortened assessments in 2018. For test administration in 2019, the Department of Education anticipates shortening that window and moving it toward the end of the year to provide educators more time for curriculum instruction and to minimize disruptions to classes. The Department identified the PSSA changes during discussions with stakeholders for nearly a year when developing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan. The plan is a federal requirement to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.“The Department worked extensively with experts and stakeholders to make this change to the PSSAs and ensure that the exams are still accurate and maintain rigor,” said Secretary Rivera. “Although standardized tests are still required by the federal government and can provide meaningful information to schools and parents, we know that there are other equally important indicators of student success.”Governor Wolf has fought for Schools That Teach and has made investments in children and schools a top priority.Over the past three years, Pennsylvania has:Increased state funding by more than $800 million at all levels after devastating cuts in the past that is bringing teachers back to the classroom and restore educational program.Established a Fair funding formula to reduce the inequity in state support and taking Pennsylvania off a shameful list of states without a way to fairly fund their school. Pennsylvania was one of only three states in the nation without a fair funding formula.Doubled early childhood education access to provide nearly 8,800 more children access to Pre-K and Head Start programs to get a good start to their education.Increased graduation rates to among the highest in the nation for four-year high school from 85.5 percent in 2013-14 to 86.1 percent in 2015-16.Additionally, 42 percent more credentials were earned by students in industry-recognized programs andPennsylvania has become a national leader in STEM education, helping workers compete in the 21st century economy and build economic prosperity for working families.Also this year, the Department introduced the Future Ready PA Index, a new, public-facing school report card that expands the indicators used to measure performance, extends the comprehensive approach to ensuring student and school success. The Index will place additional emphasis on academic growth, evaluation of school climate through a robust chronic absenteeism measure, attention to both four-year and extended-year graduation rates, and assessments of postsecondary readiness.Details about the PSSA reduction and the Future Ready PA Index are available in Pennsylvania’s ESSA Consolidated State Plan, on PDE’s website. The plan is open for public comment until August 31, 2017. August 17, 2017 Governor Wolf Touts Standardized Test Reduction Benefiting Students, Parents and Teacherscenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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Boston Carriers Inks Bareboat Charter Deal to Buy Bulker

first_imgGreece-based shipping company Boston Carriers has entered into a contract to acquire a secondhand dry bulk carrier.The company has not disclosed the name or the owner of the 46,000 dwt, 1996-built vessel which will become the only owned ship in the company’s fleet.As informed, the company will provide a down payment of USD 500,000 together with the issuance of 10 million shares of common stock restricted for four years at a price of USD 0.05 per share prior to delivery of the vessel.Boston said it will pay USD 2,191 per day for a period of five years during for having full use of the vessel. After the end the payment schedule, the bulker will be fully owned by Boston without any further payment.Antonios Bertsos, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated that “Boston’s short-term employment strategy allows the company to capture any potential upside that arise in the dry bulk market.”“We believe in the dry bulk sector and will attempt to continue to grow our fleet with additional dry bulk Handysize-Handymax vessels,” he added.In 2017, Boston Carriers chartered several times the Handymax bulker Nikiforos from compatriot Marine Spirit. It is understood that the newly purchased vessel is the 45,700 dwt Nikiforos, previously named Go Trader.last_img read more

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