The Diminishing Returns of Large Cities: Population Growth Myths

One of the big myths of the twentieth century is that large American cities are necessary and inevitable. Yet in reality growth has been dispersing to suburbs and smaller cities for the last two decades. As the decline of Detroit, once the country’s fourth largest city, reveals in all too harsh terms, being bigger is not always better.  read more »

A Lasting Solution to the Transportation Funding Dilemma

President Obama's FY 2014 budget request includes $77 billion for the Department of Transportation and an additional $50 billion  "for immediate transportation investments." His next transportation bill to follow the current MAP-21, calls for a 25 percent increase in funding over current levels and assumes a transfer of $214 billion to the trust fund over six years "to maintain trust fund solvency and pay for increased outlays." To offset this spending, the Administration proposes using the "savings" or "peace dividend&quot  read more »

Wanted: A Reasoned Approach to Dealing with America's Infrastructure Needs

It seems like not a week goes by without fresh warnings about the nation’s”crumbling infrastructure" and renewed appeals to rebuild our aging highways and bridges.  President Obama reinvigorated the campaign with his State-of-the-Union proposal for a $50 billion program of infrastructure investments, $40 billion of which would be devoted to a "fix-it-first" program targeted at urgent improvements such as "structurally deficient" bridges.  read more »

Top GOP Budget Officials Call for Investigation of Xpress West High Speed Train from Victorville to Los Angeles

Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee and Sen. Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee have expressed serious reservations on the proposed taxpayer loan to the Xpress West high-speed rail line that would operate two thirds of the way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas (from Victorville).  read more »

Is the Acela Killing America?

Has the finance industry trainjacked America?

By all accounts the Acela has been a success. Thought it is far from perfect and constitutes moderate speed rail for the most part, it seems to have attracted strong ridership. A midday train was totally packed on both the BOS-NYC leg and NYC-DC leg the last time I rode it. I didn’t see an empty seat anywhere. Which is pretty amazing given how much more expensive it is than the regional, and frankly not that much faster. It does seem to have accomplished its mission of more closely linking Boston, New York, and Washington.  read more »

Election: "Stop Portland Creep" Resonates in Suburbs

Election results from all three of Portland, Oregon's largest suburban counties indicate a reaction against what has been called "Portland Creep," the expansion of the expansive light rail system without voter approval and the imposition of restrictive densification measures by Metro, the regional land-use agency.  read more »

Uniting a Fractured Republic: Innovation, Pragmatism, and the Natural Gas Revolution

Over the last four years, emissions in the United States declined more than in any other country in the world. Coal plants and coal mines are being shuttered. That's not from increased use of solar panels and wind turbines, as laudable as those technologies are. Rather it's due, in large measure, to the technological revolution allowing for the cheap extraction of natural gas from shale. By contrast, Europe, with its cap and trade program, and price on carbon, is returning to coal-burning.  read more »

Honolulu Rail Project Legal Problems Mount

According to the Hawaii Reporter, Honolulu's rail transit project has lost a major legal test in The Federal Ninth Circuit Court, as Judge Wallace Tashima ruled in  HonoluluTraffic.com v. Federal Transit Administration et al  read more »

The Future of Passenger Rail in America

On October 19, an Amtrak passenger train hit 111 mph in a test run on a 15-mile stretch of track between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois. It was the first tangible return from a three-year $1.5 billion program of improvements funded under the Administration's high-speed rail initiative. The program hopes to shave about an hour off the 5 ½ hour rail trip between Chicago and St. Louis. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn who were aboard, called it a "historic" event.  read more »

Warnings of an "infrastructure Crisis" are Meeting with Skepticism

Is the "infrastructure crisis" a myth or a reality?  read more »