WAITING FOR LICENSES: With lines to get driver's licenses in New Jersey getting longer, one lawmaker has proposed legislation to ensure that customers are served within 15 minutes, reports the Star-Ledger. The head of the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, Raymond Martinez, says he supports the effort and wants to start by moving as many transactions as possible online. People are waiting longer now because the agency's workload is growing and its workforce is shrinking. It shuttered 17 offices last year.
FRENCH TRAIN FRACAS: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley recently signed a law that would bar SNCF , the train operator owned by the French government, from operating trains in Maryland unless it discloses its role in transporting some 76,000 victims of the Holocaust during the Nazi occupation of France. The French company has a majority stake in Keolis America, which recently bid to run two of the state's commuter lines. Proponents of the legislation say SNCF needs to release more details about its collaboration and determine what happened to property it confiscated from victims. But the Washington Post editorial board says the measure goes too far. Even Israel has hired SNCF, it pointed out. "The bill is bizarre, illogical and possibly self-defeating," the Post wrote. "It is testament to the absence of rational discourse in public disputes related to the Holocaust."
GOVERNOR'S CLOUT: All it took to stop a new highway funding bill in Louisiana was the opposition of Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, writes Will Sentell of The Advocate . The $3 billion bonding proposal released May 9 would have tripled the fees required to register a car or truck. The bill's sponsor said the governor's aides rallied enough lawmakers against the proposal that it was essentially dead the day it was unveiled.
BIKE-FRIENDLY ROADS: More Vermont roads will be designed and maintained with bicyclists in mind, thanks to a law signed last week by Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat. But the state has a long way to go before becoming truly bicyclist-friendly, writes the Burlington Free Press . The League of American Bicyclists ranks Vermont 34th among states for accommodating cyclists, well behind Maine and New Hampshire, the paper notes.
NO NEBRASKA VETO: Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman signed a controversial transportation funding bill that many thought he would veto, the Lincoln Journal Star reports . The Republican governor acknowledged that the decision was difficult, but he eventually backed the law to designate a small portion of sales tax revenues toward fixing and building roads. He had worried that the state could not afford it. "Recent revenue forecasts have been encouraging, and now it is possible that the state may be able to afford increased roads funding," Heineman said.