Digest: Driver killed, 40 injured as train hits school bus in New Zealand

News Wire Digest second section for Sept. 16: Sacramento Regional Transit reverses course, advances light rail proposal; taxpayer group says MBTA may have to forego capital plans to maintain existing system
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More Wednesday morning rail news:

Driver killed, 40 hurt as train hits school bus in New Zealand

The bus driver was killed and 40 children were injured after a school bus was hit by a train in New Zealand on Wednesday morning. Radio New Zealand reports the accident occurred in Bunnythorpe, on New Zealand’s North Island, about 90 miles northeast of Wellington. The students’ injuries were reported to range from minor to moderate. The driver of the KiwiRail train was reported to be uninjured but shaken. The accident occurred at a grade crossing protected by flashing lights and bells, but no crossing gates. An investigation is in progress.

In revote, Sacramento board OKs light rail plan
Reversing its previous decision, the Sacramento Regional Transit board voted on Monday to advance a light rail project connecting downtown to the minor-league baseball stadium in West Sacramento, Calif. The $130 million, 1.5-mile, three-stop line is a scaled-down version of a project that originally would have covered 4.4 miles with 21 stops. The Sacramento Bee reports the revote, under the board’s weighted voting system, passed with 59% in favor, after previously achieving just 48% approval. One member who was absent during the previous vote voted in favor; another switched to vote yes; and a third, who previously voted no, recused herself.

Report says MBTA may have to defer or cancel capital projects to maintain existing system
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has released the second of a series of three reports on the finances of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, recommending that the agency defer or cancel many of its planned capital projects in order to preserve money to maintain its existing core assets. CommonWealth Magazine reports the recommendations include forgoing planned electrification of parts of the MBTA commuter rail system, the second phase of the South Coast Rail project to New Bedford and Fall River, and expanded service on several lines, among other options. The report says there is an “impending chasm” between the billions of dollars needed to maintain the system in a state a good repair and the money to fund that work.






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