No G-8 Summit for Chicago

Veteran Chicago journalist Ben Joravsky explains why Chicago’s better off without the G-8 summit:

One, we're not equipped to handle it. Two, we can't afford it. And, three, it has the potential to give the Republicans great campaign material for the coming election.  read more »

California's Bullet Train --- A Fresh Start and a Change in Direction

A new strategy is beginning to emerge toward California’s embattled high-speed rail venture. The strategy is designed to rescue the project from a possible defeat at the hands of the state legislature, gain friends and supporters among local transportation agencies, win converts among independent analysts and turn around a largely skeptical public.  read more »

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 »

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 »

"Jaw-Droppingly Shameless:" Mother Jones on California High Speed Rail Projection

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones reports on the highly questionable "cost of alternatives" that has been routinely repeated by proponents of the California high speed rail project, in an article entitled "California High Speed Rail Even More Ridiculous than Before."  read more »

What Lies Ahead for Transportation in 2012?

As befits this time of year, our thoughts turn to the events that await us in the days ahead. Putting aside the major imponderable — the outcome of the presidential and congressional elections that inevitably will impact the federal transportation program —what can the transportation community expect in 2012? Will Congress muster the will to enact a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization? Or will the legislation fall victim to election year paralysis? What other significant transportation-related developments lie ahead in the new year?  read more »

The Troubled Future of the California High-Speed Rail Project

A congressional oversight hearing, focused on the concerns surrounding the troubled California high-speed rail project, cast new doubts on the likelihood of the project’s political survival.  read more »

An Obituary for the Occupation in New York

I came to report on the occupation of Zuccotti Park expecting it would pass in a matter of days, like the stillborn movements before it.

In spite of its self-celebrated cosmopolitanism, New York after 9/11 has become an arid environment for protest under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The press and the public yawned through the massive anti–Iraq War march in 2003 and the excessive police response to the 2004 RNC protesters (the city is still dealing with those lawsuits). Even after the Wall Street meltdown, an eerie silence prevailed.  read more »

Blago’s Historic Sentencing: Organized Crime in Illinois

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today to 14 years in prison. Illinois will now have the dubious distinction of having two back-to-back Governors in jail at the same time. Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich? When you look into the background of the former Governor the tentacles of organized crime can’t be ignored.  read more »