Carmageddon has come and gone, and the world didn’t end. The catalyst for the predicted disaster was the closure of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles for construction for the weekend of the 16th and 17th of July. Freeway closures aren’t all that unusual, but the 405 is not a regular freeway. It is both the busiest, and most congested road in America. The 405 carries an estimated half million vehicles per weekday. Had traffic been even close to normal volumes—even weekend volumes—the event would have earned the nickname. However, less people drove. Way less people. read more »
July 15: Today there was another indication that the newly constituted House of Representatives understands the “litmus test” imperative of zeroing out high speed rail appropriations, in light of potentially required cuts in essential programs like Medicare, Social Security and others. $1 billion was switched to Midwest flood relief in an approval today of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for the 2012 budget. read more »
One thing that makes Smart Growth appealing is its language. Terms like “livability” and “transit-oriented development” sound engaging, and “smart” growth is, frankly, self-flattering for its acolytes. On transportation matters, advocates rarely declare their intent to reduce roadway capacity and divert money to transit projects (along with other auto unfriendly policies). Instead, they say they are pursuing a “multi-modal” strategy to promote “transportation choice.” read more »
As this is written, we do not know the exact level of funding the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will propose in its draft legislation, to be unveiled in the first week of July and marked up the following week. Nor do we know what level of funding the Senate Finance Committee will come up with. But we do know that both Houses will be obliged to propose far less funding than is contained in the current (FY 2010) surface transportation budget of $52 billion ($41 billion for highways, $11 billion for transit). read more »
For decades taxpayers have paid billions to finance major transportation project cost overruns far exceeding the routinely low-ball forecasts available at approval time. read more »
The Federal government is again offering money it does not have to entice a state (Iowa) to spend money that it does not have on something it does not need. The state of Iowa is being asked to provide funds to match federal funding for a so-called "high speed rail" line from Chicago to Iowa City. The new rail line would simply duplicate service that is already available. read more »
The sustainable biking craze seems to keep rolling as more and more cities encourage commuters and wanderers to bike across town instead of drive. New programs, such as Nice Ride in Minneapolis, offer an innovative service where one can rent out a bike for a small fee and ride it across town to other stations, or continue to hold onto the bike and continue making payments. read more »
For California’s high-speed rail boosters including their chief cheerleader, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the month of May must have felt like a month from hell. First came a scathing report by California legislature’s fiscal watchdog, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), questioning the rail authority’s unrealistic cost estimates and its decision to build the first $5.5 billion segment in the sparsely populated Central Valley between Borden and Corcoran. read more »
Results from the US Department of Transportation's 2009 National Household Travel Survey indicate that transit's work trip market share in the United States was only 3.7 percent in 2009. This is a full one quarter less than the 5.0 percent reported by the Bureau of the Census American Community Survey for 2009. Further, the NHTS data does not include people who work at home. If the work at home share of employment from the American Community Survey is assumed, the transit work trip market share would be 3.5 percent. read more »
Results and not ideology should guide transportation policy.
Large city officials have been lobbying for a major program of federal transit subsidies for years. The push will likely intensify after the federal election.
A principal resource in this campaign will likely be the Toronto Board of Trade’s third annual Scorecard on Prosperity, which finds Toronto’s transportation system to be among the worst in the world, ranking 19th out of 23 metropolitan areas. Other metropolitan areas also ranked poorly, such as Montreal at 12th, Calgary at 13th and Vancouver at 21st. read more »