Politics

Rasputin's Tunnel?

First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cancelled the proposed intercity and suburban rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan because of the financial obligations its out-of-control costs could impose on the state's taxpayers. Then he delayed the final decision, under pressure from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and other supporters of the tunnel.  read more »

Australian Local Governments Stop Forced Amalgamation

Local government consolidations are often proposed by a wide range of interests, often out of the belief that they will produce more efficient (less costly) governments. Much of the academic literature supports this view. However, the evidence indicates that material savings routinely fail to occur from such amalgamations. The claimed $300 million annual savings in Toronto's megacity quickly became higher costs and a larger bureaucracy.  read more »

The Myth of the Sustainable Public Budget

Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman caused a stir on ABC's This Week, expressing the following view to Christina Amanpour on the recommendations by the leadership of the US Debt Reduction Commission:  read more »

Subjects:

Governor Christie Cancels Under-Construction Tunnel in Unprecedented Move

New Jersey governor Chris Christie reaffirmed his decision to cancel the "access to the regional core" tunnel across the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. Christie had suspended his previous decision pending discussion of alternatives with the US Department of Transportation.  read more »

New York Political Leadership Forces Another Fare Hike

The New York Post editorialized (October 8) against what it called "Another TWU Fare Hike," blaming the union for the fares that will now rise to $2.50 for a ride. The editorial writer goes on to say of MTA chief Jay Walder, "It's not his fault that straphangers get whacked while the MTA's unionized workers -- whose blue collars come with fur trim -- don't have to make a single sacrifice to meet the MTA's shortfall."  read more »

Soccer Moms Against Rail Transit in Tampa

On election day, the voters of Hillsborough County, Florida (Tampa) will vote on a one-cent sales tax that would fund transit (75%) and roads (25%). Part of the funding would be used to build a new light rail line, which is the focus of campaigns on both sides.

The proponents are the usual well financed coalition of business, rail construction companies and consulting engineers, who could well profit from the program going forward.  read more »

Vancouver Olympic Villiage Development Becoming a Burden to Taxpayers

The former Olympic athlete's village in Vancouver is in the news again, but this time no one is celebrating. The billion dollar plus development, originally built to house athletes then converted to a residential housing development, was primarily financed by a loan from the city of Vancouver. Millennium Development Corp., developer of the project, currently owes the city $731 million. Millennium was scheduled to pay back the first $200 million by August 31st, but came up $8 million short.  read more »

Mayor Daley Calls it Quits

Chicago’s Mayor Daley has decided to end his political career. Chicago’s Mayor since 1989, in December he will break his father’s record as Chicago’s longest serving Chief Executive. No one knows the real reason Daley chose to hang it up, whether it’s his wife’s health or his low polling numbers.  read more »

McClatchy-Medill: Real $timulating News

I saw this story in the Omaha World Herald last week: Benefits of stimulus bill spread unevenly over U.S. As I read through it, I became increasingly impressed. The journalists start off by laying out who said what about the benefits of stimulus spending. They provide quotes and facts from the White House, the Congressional Budget Office, and Joe Biden’s spokesperson.  read more »

High Cost of Living Drives New York’s Fiscal Deficit with Washington

Between now and the end of the year, a hot political topic here in New York will be whether to let the Bush tax cuts expire for people in the highest income bracket, as the Obama administration proposes, or whether to extend those cuts for everyone. Advocates taking the latter position will correctly argue that higher rates will be especially harmful to New York, because of the large number of wealthy people, who live here.  read more »