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RAIL:

As punctuality plummets, Amtrak confronts freight in Supreme Court battle

Wisconsin resident Bob Fisher had a ticket to ride the train. He ended up on a bus. Fisher, a retired planner from La Crosse, had planned to take Amtrak's Empire Builder eastward across the state to Milwaukee for a conference this summer. Informed that his train was running six hours late, Fisher disappointedly opted to make the trip on a motor coach chartered at the railroad's expense. For Amtrak travelers, such schedule-shredding snafus are becoming more common as delays push long-distance train punctuality to its lowest point in years, driving off customers and raising costs.

TRANSPORTATION:

More cities experiment with electric buses and other, cleaner forms of mass transit

Just as American drivers balance fuel economy, sticker price and overall value when buying cars, transportation departments nationwide are increasingly forced to weigh fiscal constraints with long-term economic and environmental merits and pitfalls before placing their next bus orders. Faced with a diversity of choices as electric bus makers have multiplied and as diesel and hybrid engines have become more efficient, transit providers are following their own blueprints.

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