Politics

Bus Versus Train: A Dying Debate

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s cutbacks on its bus line, eliminating about 12% bus service, illuminate the problems of mass transit in LA, specifically the relative inefficiency of trains in the city. This 12% is a further reduction after the 4% cutbacks six months ago, sparking anger from the Bus Riders Union.  read more »

Vancouver Olympic Villiage Scandal Gets Worse

The Vancouver Olympic Village scandal continues to worsen.  During construction, the City of Vancouver was forced to take over financing of the project, as the developer’s initial lender backed out due to cost overruns.  At the end of last August, the developer fell behind its payment schedule, and the City placed the property into receivership in November.  The development has been a spectacular failure, with fewer than half of the 737 units being sold.  read more »

Chicago’s Unique Population Loss of the 1 Million Plus Cities

There are only 9 cities in the United States with populations over 1 million. The list includes New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. With this afternoon’s release of Census 2010 numbers for New York City, the final 2010 data is in.  read more »

Home Ownership and the American Dream

What defines the American Dream? A new poll by Big Builder reveals that one answer to this enduring question may be home ownership. A major portion of the American population (59%) believes that they are living the American Dream. Respondents distinguished owning a home as the second most important factor of the American Dream, just behind raising a family.  read more »

USDOT Rail Grants to Obligate Taxpayers

The US Department of Transportation has announced a competitive grant program to reallocate funding that was refused by Florida for a proposed high speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. The line was cancelled by Governor Rick Scott because of the prospect for billions of dollars of unplanned obligations that could have become the responsibility of the state's taxpayers.  read more »

High-Speed Rail vs. Modal Neutrality

Isn't it curious that an Administration devoted to the principle of multi-modalism is so obsessively determined to promote a single mode of its own preference -- that of high-speed rail? All three governors who rejected the federal HSR grants --- Govs. Walker, Kasich and Scott --- told Sec. LaHood that their states could badly use that money for more urgent needs of fixing roads, bridges and transit systems and, in the case of Gov. Scott, rebuilding Florida's ports in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion.  read more »

Rahm Emanuel Wins The Right to Confront Chicago’s Problems

Rahm Emanuel has won Chicago’s Mayoral election. He now must confront Chicago’s massive problems. The Chicago Sun-Times is already grim:  read more »

Tampa to Orlando High Speed Rail: The Risk to Local Taxpayers

No sooner had Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected federal funding for the Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail line, than proponents both in Washington and Tallahassee set about to find ways to circumvent his decision. While an approach has not been finalized, a frequently suggested alternative is to grant the federal money to a local government, such as a city or county or even to a transit agency.  read more »

Debt Ceiling or Spending Limit?

We’re seeing a lot of debate in Washington about what is commonly referred to as the "national debt ceiling." This post is an attempt to shed some light – and provide some good resources for further information – on what this really means. National debt is not the total future obligations of the federal government to pay. It is basically all the public debt (like Treasury bills) plus money we owe to other governments – in other words this ceiling only puts a limit on how much the federal government can borrow, not on how much they can spend.  read more »

The Rest of the Story on Krugman and the Economy

Paul Krugman really doesn’t like the possibility that there is a structural shift in employment, because it weakens the argument for the massive Keynesian spending spree he’d like to see the government initiate.  To that end, he published this piece on his blog February 13th.  read more »