Blogs

The Impact of Federal Cutbacks

During my college days, I had the opportunity to interview a local government official tasked with conducting various disaster response programs. North Dakota had, at the time, been dealing with severe flood issues for nearly a decade, and the interviewee had vast experience dealing with the ins and outs of working within the system to find mitigation solutions. Asked about the challenges of having to deal with a multitude of state and federal agencies, he informed me that the most vital contacts he had were at the federal level.  read more »

The Precarious State of the Highway Trust Fund

On November 18, President Obama signed into law a bundle of appropriation bills for FY 2012  including appropriations  for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The measure had been passed earlier in the House by a vote of 298-121 and in  the Senate by a vote of 70-30.   read more »

Population Growth in Australia Has Normalized

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph contained an interesting article on the increasing number of Australians departing Australia permanently:  read more »

California's Bullet Train in the Court of Public Opinion

A business plan released on November 1 by the the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), has placed the price tag for the LA-SF bullet train project at $98 billion--- trippling the $33 billion estimate provided in 2008 in the voter-approved Proposition 1A. At the same time, the date of project completion has been pushed back by 13 years -- from 2020 to 2033.  read more »

How Phoenix Housing Boomed and Busted

When analysing the US housing bubble, four states stand-out for the way in which home values rose into the stratosphere before crashing and burning: California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona (see below chart).  read more »

If Wishes Were Iron Horses: Amtrak Gaining Airline Riders?

Andy Kunz of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association commented to Fox Business News on the recently announced record ridership on Amtrak that, "At the very least, the increased demand offers another sign travelers are getting fed up with soaring airline fares and fight cancellations."  In the article, which read more like an Amtrak or high speed rail press release than a news story,  read more »

All in the Family, 2011

We overheard this phone conversation recently between tea party activist Bill Francis and his 19-year-old daughter and Wall Street occupier Serena: 

Bill:  I understand why you’re protesting but I think you’re missing the point.

Serena:  What’s that?

Bill:  You’re mad at rich people and upset that you can’t get a job.

Serena:  True.

Bill: And you think that by camping out on the street you’ll get attention?  read more »

Interactive Data Visualization: The Connection Between Manufacturing Jobs and Exports

By Hank Robison and Rob Sentz

We recently observed that there are only about 50 manufacturing sectors out of 472 (6-digit NAICS) that actually gained jobs over the past 10 years. This made us wonder because we keep hearing that manufacturing output is actually improving. Politicians and policymakers tend to assume that an uptick in output would naturally result in an uptick in employment. So we investigated.  read more »

Development Plans for Old Hong Kong Airport Announced

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has outlined plans to create a "second central business district" at Kai Tak in eastern Kowloon, site of the now former international airport. Kai Tak airport was abandoned in 1998 when the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chep Lap Tok opened.  read more »

Placing Amtrak Records in Context

The state of Michigan recently announced record ridership on three routes supported by Michigan taxpayers. Records mean little when the numbers are insignificant.  read more »