Blogs

The White House Transportation Re-authorizaion: An "Unserious" Proposal

The Administration's $476 billion six-year transportation reauthorization proposal ---included as part of its FY 2013 budget submission ---has met with indifference if not outright skepticism in the transportation community. For one thing, the proposal comes at a time when both houses of Congress have already developed and are actively pursuing their own versions of reauthorization legislation.  read more »

Academics Find Chicago Most Corrupt Big City

One of the great failures in studying the politics of American cities has been the assumptions political scientists have used. Many academics assume that politicians work toward serving the public interest. In this naïve or dishonest world, an informed public (aided by a vigilant press) votes for candidates that rise above petty self interest to promote the common good. Recently, The University of Illinois-Chicago Political Science department released an impressive empirical study on corruption.  read more »

China's Expanding Motorways

In some ways, it has been an "annus horribilis" for transport in China (Note). There was the tragic high-speed rail accident in Wenzhou (Zhejiang), the fastest trains were slowed, construction was slowed or, in some cases stopped, and a top railway official was removed for misappropriation of at least a billion Yuan (more than $150 million).  read more »

2011 Canada Census: Strong Growth & Suburbanization Continues

Statistics Canada has just released the first results of the 2011 census. The nation's population rose to 33.5 million, from 31.6 million in 2006. This is a 5.9 percent growth rate, up from a 5.4 percent rate between 2001 and 2006 and nearly one-half above the 4.0 percent growth rate from 1996 to 2001.  read more »

Trials, Tribulations and Middle Class Protest in Christchurch, New Zealand

It has been a tough year and a half in Christchurch. Christchurch is the largest urban area South Island and second in size in New Zealand only to Auckland. On September 4, 2010, Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, stronger than the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that with its aftershocks killed 300,000 people in Haiti in 2010. To the great fortune of Christchurch, there were no fatalities from the September quake.  read more »

Why Pleas to Increase Infrastructure Funding Fall on Deaf Ears

Letting the nation’s roads and bridges deteriorate may worsen traffic congestion and add to our commuting woes, but when water and sewer systems begin to fail our very civilization is at risk. That is the message of a recent story in The Washington Post drawing attention to the alarming state of the nation’s water and sewer infrastructure. The story looks at the Washington D.C. system as a poster child for neglected and dilapidated municipal utilities. The average age of the District water pipes is 77 years and a great many were laid in the 19th century, notes the Post article.  read more »

The Moonbeam Express

Seldom has public opinion and expert judgment been more unified than in its opposition to  the California high-speed rail project.    The project has been criticized by its own Peer Review Group, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), the California State Auditor,  the State Treasurer and a group of independent  experts  (Enthoven, Grindley, Warren et al.).  In addition, the bullet train has come under severe criticism by influential state legislators and  by members of the state's congressional delegation.  read more »

What to Do About Gang Violence in Salinas California

Is there any connection between the fact that Salinas has the gang problem that it does, and the fact that Monterey County's restrictions on the building of housing are very strict?  read more »

On The Move

Overall migration rates in America appear to be down in the wake of the Great Recession, reaching the lowest levels recorded since the 1940's. While some statisticians argue that changes in data collection over time have led to an overstatement of such changes, there seems little doubt that "interstate migration has been trending downward for many years," regardless of recent recessionary effects. That said, Americans remain a mobile people.  read more »

Things Aren't that Bad in Saginaw

Our 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey included the Saginaw, Michigan metropolitan area, which we noted had the lowest Median Multiple (median house price divided by median household income) among the included 325 metropolitan areas. This made Saginaw the most affordable metropolitan market, principally due to depressed economic conditions.  read more »