transportation

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 »

Nerdwallet.com Mixes Apples and Oranges on "Worst Cities for Drivers"

The website nerdwallet.com mixes apples and oranges in producing a list of the 10 worst "cities" for car drivers in the United States. The ratings hardly matter, since the nerdwallet.com score is based on a mixture of urban area and municipality data.  read more »

Top GOP Budget Officials Call for Investigation of Xpress West High Speed Train from Victorville to Los Angeles

Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee and Sen. Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee have expressed serious reservations on the proposed taxpayer loan to the Xpress West high-speed rail line that would operate two thirds of the way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas (from Victorville).  read more »

Is the Acela Killing America?

Has the finance industry trainjacked America?

By all accounts the Acela has been a success. Thought it is far from perfect and constitutes moderate speed rail for the most part, it seems to have attracted strong ridership. A midday train was totally packed on both the BOS-NYC leg and NYC-DC leg the last time I rode it. I didn’t see an empty seat anywhere. Which is pretty amazing given how much more expensive it is than the regional, and frankly not that much faster. It does seem to have accomplished its mission of more closely linking Boston, New York, and Washington.  read more »

Higher Gas Tax Unlikely to Gain Support in Congress

Although some infrastructure advocates are hoping to use the current budget negotiations to win support for an increase in the federal gasoline tax, the idea is unlikely to gain support in Congress or the Administration.  While  the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission proposed raising the federal gas tax by 15 cents/gallon as part of a broad deficit-reduction plan, neither House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have endorsed the idea.  Nor is an increase in the federal gasoline tax popular among  the  read more »