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 »

A More Objective Attitude Toward the Suburbs (Almost)

It is always encouraging to see greater objectivity in the treatment of the suburbs. In fact, the urban form includes not only the urban core, but also the suburbs and economically connected rural areas and exurban areas that are beyond the urban footprint. This fact has often been missed by some urbanologists who imagine no city extends beyond the view on the foggiest day from a central city office tower.  read more »

"Patchwork" High Speed Rail System Unraveling?

The widely dispersed opposition to proposals for high speed rail (genuine and faux) led Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to say that the Administration would press forward in a patchwork fashion if necessary.  read more »

A $53 Billion High-Speed Rail Program to Nowhere

Vice President Joe Biden announced today a plan to spend $53 billion over the next six years on passenger high-speed rail projects that will help reach the goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.  read more »

Confirming International Research: Hudson Tunnel Costs Explode

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is looking like a prophet now. In late October, the Governor cancelled a new tunnel across the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, because of the potential for cost overruns, which would be the responsibility of New Jersey taxpayers. By that point, the cost of the tunnel had escalated at least $1 billion to $9.7 billion.  read more »

The President's Unserious Proposal

"Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail." With this ringing statement in his State of the Union address, President Obama injected new hope into the flagging spirits of high speed rail advocates. Predictably, spokesmen for industry associations, progressive advocacy groups and other stakeholder interests praised the President’s goal as a symbol of his renewed commitment to support investment in infrastructure. But hardly any one we spoke to at the TRB meeting took the President’s ambitious goal seriously.  read more »