Ohio explores ways to pay for passenger train

Ohio will find a way to pay for a new passenger train system without increasing the state tax burden, transportation officials said Thursday, a day after winning a $400 million federal stimulus grant that adds the state to the national rail plan.

Gov. Ted Strickland touted the train project as a jobs builder, something that would create up to 11,000 positions in construction, engineering and spin-off economic development around new train stations. Thirteen passenger rail corridors in 31 states will receive grants, which are funded by the economic recovery act enacted last year.

Ohio’s train project, which calls for a 79-mph startup service connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, will lay the foundation for a higher-speed system that eventually will branch off to the Midwest and East Coast, reducing traffic on state highways, Strickland said at a news conference with U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. [Read the full article]

The First Marblehead Corp., which packages students loans for sale to investors, said cutting expenses and a fewer losses on loans held for sale helped it narrow its second-quarter loss.

The Boston-based company said it lost $11.7 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a loss of $93.4 million, or 94 cents per share a year ago.

Revenue rose to $10.1 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $86 million a year ago.

The unrealized losses on education loans held for sale fell to $10.7 million from a $29.3 million a year ago.

Compensation and benefits expenses fell 20 percent to $8.2 million and general and administrative expenses were 37 percent lower, to $12.4 million. [Read the full article]

Some Toyota customers are swearing off the brand, while others aren’t much worried about sticky gas pedals. For just about everybody, confusion reigns.

Toyota first announced its massive recall last week, which followed one last November. Both involve issues with gas pedals in millions of Toyota’s most popular models.

Toyota owners are still waiting for a coherent story about what is actually going on, said Sylvia Marino, executive director at auto sales site Edmunds.com.

“People are feeling a cross between shock, concern and disbelief,” she said. “There’s a huge amount of confusion. [Read the full article]

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