Governments’ Oil Windfall

We are reading a lot about the windfall coming to consumers due to falling gas prices now that oil is under $50/barrel. But cheap energy also represents a windfall for governments, including governments who are hard pressed for cash.  read more »

Sources for Our "Southern California Stuck in Drive" Story

Joel Kotkin and I wrote in the Orange County Register that transit work trip market shares in the Los Angeles area had changed little, from 5.9 percent in 1980 to 5.8 percent in 2013. In a response, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACTMTA) noted that we did not cite sources. Fair enough. Our source was the 1980 US Census and the 2013 American Community Survey, a product of the United States Census Bureau.  read more »

Taiwan High Speed Rail Near Bankruptcy

Efforts are underway by the Taiwan government for a government led restructuring to avoid bankruptcy (Plan to stop Taiwan's high-speed rail going bust set for review). Since opening in 2007, this privately financed and operated system has been plagued with ridership well below projections.  read more »

New Climate Report Misses Point on US Cities

The doubtful claim that low density US cities impose a cost to the economy of $400 billion is countered by their being the most affluent in the world. Nine of the top 10 cities in GDP per capita are in the US and more than 70% of the top 50.  read more »

More Criticism of the Mythical Shift to Transit

There has been additional attention to the exaggeration of transit ridership trends claimed by the American Public Transit Association. Writing in The Washington Post, David King of Columbia University.  read more »

Portland Light Rail Revolt Continues

In a hard fought election campaign, voters in the city of Tigard appear to have narrowly enacted another barrier to light rail expansion in suburban Portland. The Washington County Elections Division reported that with 100 percent of precincts counted, Charter Amendment 34-210 had obtained 51 percent of the vote, compared to 49 percent opposed.  read more »

Portland’s Transit Halcyon Days?

For more than a quarter century, the leaders in the Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area have sought to transfer demand for urban travel from automobiles to transit. Six rail lines have been built, five of which are light rail and bus service has been expanded. If their vision were legitimate, transit’s market share should have risen substantially and automobile travel should have declined. Neither happened.  read more »

London Mayor: High Speed Rail Cost £70 Billion Plus?

In a Daily Telegraph commentary, London Mayor Boris Johnson expects the proposed high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham (HS2) to cost £70 billion (approximately $105 billion). This is two thirds more than the most recent estimate of £42 billion (approximately $63 billion), which includes a recent increase in costs from £32 billion (approximately $48 billion) for the 140 mile long first segment.  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 »