Janet's Feed
Mar 28, 2013

Special Report: A rural housing program city slickers just love

By Michelle Conlin and Janet Roberts

(Reuters) – Dotted with swimming pools and golf courses, the thriving seaside enclave of Ewa Beach perches just down the coast from bustling Honolulu, Hawaii. The island-style homes fronting palm-fringed streets offer views of two mountain ranges and proximity to some of the best big-wave surfing in the world.

This resort community, where houses sell from around $200,000 to more than $1 million, enjoys another perk: easy access to no-money-down home mortgages, guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The guarantees are provided to qualified homebuyers courtesy of the farm agency’s rural housing program, created in 1949 to help lower-income Americans in rural areas who lacked access to “safe and sanitary dwellings” and couldn’t get credit any other way.

Mar 18, 2013

Special Report: A rural housing program city slickers just love

By Michelle Conlin and Janet Roberts

(Reuters) – Dotted with swimming pools and golf courses, the thriving seaside enclave of Ewa Beach perches just down the coast from bustling Honolulu, Hawaii. The island-style homes fronting palm-fringed streets offer views of two mountain ranges and proximity to some of the best big-wave surfing in the world.

This resort community, where houses sell from around $200,000 to more than $1 million, enjoys another perk: easy access to no-money-down home mortgages, guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The guarantees are provided to qualified homebuyers courtesy of the farm agency’s rural housing program, created in 1949 to help lower-income Americans in rural areas who lacked access to “safe and sanitary dwellings” and couldn’t get credit any other way.

Jan 12, 2013

Exclusive: Readying for Sandy, New Jersey Transit erred in modeling storm

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey Transit incorrectly used federal government software that otherwise could have warned officials against a disastrous decision to leave $100 million worth of equipment in a low-lying rail yard before Superstorm Sandy struck, a Reuters examination has found.

The agency based its decision, at least in part, on software provided by the National Weather Service that allows users to simulate an approaching hurricane and show areas vulnerable to flooding from storm surge, according to Sandy-related forecast documents obtained by Reuters from New Jersey Transit. Exactly how the agency used the software is unclear because the agency declined to answer any specific questions.

Jan 12, 2013

Exclusive – Readying for Sandy, NJ Transit erred in modelling storm

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey Transit incorrectly used federal government software that otherwise could have warned officials against a disastrous decision to leave $100 million (62 million pounds) worth of equipment in a low-lying rail yard before Superstorm Sandy struck, a Reuters examination has found.

The agency based its decision, at least in part, on software provided by the National Weather Service that allows users to simulate an approaching hurricane and show areas vulnerable to flooding from storm surge, according to Sandy-related forecast documents obtained by Reuters from New Jersey Transit. Exactly how the agency used the software is unclear because the agency declined to answer any specific questions.

Jan 12, 2013

Readying for Sandy, NJ Transit erred in modeling storm

NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) – New Jersey Transit incorrectly
used federal government software that otherwise could have
warned officials against a disastrous decision to leave $100
million worth of equipment in a low-lying rail yard before
Superstorm Sandy struck, a Reuters examination has found.

The agency based its decision, at least in part, on software
provided by the National Weather Service that allows users to
simulate an approaching hurricane and show areas vulnerable to
flooding from storm surge, according to Sandy-related forecast
documents obtained by Reuters from New Jersey Transit. Exactly
how the agency used the software is unclear because the agency
declined to answer any specific questions.

Dec 10, 2012

New Jersey lawmakers press transit chief on storm planning

By Janet Roberts and Ryan McNeill

(Reuters) – New Jersey lawmakers on Monday pressed the head of New Jersey Transit to explain $100 million in damage to rail cars and engines flooded during Superstorm Sandy, particularly why his agency stored hundreds of cars and locomotives in low-lying railyards.

Executive Director James Weinstein told the General Assembly’s Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee his agency relied on “best available” weather forecasts. He also said he would not raise fares to pay for repairs of storm damage because he expected costs to be covered by insurance and federal disaster funds.

Nov 17, 2012

Exclusive: New Jersey railway put trains in Sandy flood zone despite warnings

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey Transit’s struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter of its passenger cars.

That damage is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars and take many months to repair, a Reuters examination has found.

Nov 17, 2012

New Jersey railway put trains in Sandy flood zone despite warnings

NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) – New Jersey Transit’s struggle
to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a
pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail
yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that
resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter
of its passenger cars.

That damage is likely to cost tens of millions of dollars
and take many months to repair, a Reuters examination has found.

Nov 7, 2012

Post-Sandy commuting pains ease slightly for New Jersey riders

MAPLEWOOD/HOBOKEN, New Jersey (Reuters) – Getting into New York City was a little easier for some New Jersey commuters on Tuesday, with limited rail service under the Hudson River and added buses for train riders whose lines were washed out by Superstorm Sandy.

Nerves remained raw, however, as travel times were stretched by traffic jams and overcrowded transit station platforms and some tunnels into New York flooded by the massive storm remained closed.

Nov 6, 2012

New Jersey residents fight nightmarish commute with no quick fix

HOBOKEN/MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey (Reuters) – New Jersey commuters who headed back to New York City to work on Monday found a chaotic landscape of long lines, jammed buses and rail cars and lengthy waits to get through tunnels due to the impact of superstorm Sandy.

And while transit officials forecast relief in the days ahead, it will take weeks at least to fully repair the damage from the storm, which killed at least 113 people in the United States and Canada and downed power lines in the region. More than 1.4 million homes and businesses are still without power.