By Law, California High Speed Rail May Be Doomed To Fail

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It has been 10 years since passage of California Proposition 1A the High-Speed Rail Act that approved the $9.95 billion bond, a down payment on a high-speed rail project that was optimistically estimated by proponents at that time to cost $40 billion. Today, the California high-speed rail cost may approach $100 billion. Public enthusiasm is obviously dwindling.  read more »

2018 Standard of Living Index

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The Center for Urban Opportunity (COU) has developed a measure (the “COU Standard of Living Index”) that estimates the purchasing power of real average pay in metropolitan areas compared to that of the average employee who moves to a new residence. We have found that the places that return the most for median pay are varied.  read more »

The First Shots in the Climate Wars

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In launching their now successful protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s gas hike, the French gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) have revived their country’s reputation for rebelling against monarchial rule. It may well foreshadow a bitter, albeit largely avoidable, battle over how to address the issue of climate change.  read more »

Miami’s New Temples

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I scratched my head over this one for a while before I eventually came around. Give me a minute to come full circle here.  read more »

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Highest 2017 Home Ownership Rate in Grand Rapids, Los Angeles Last

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Home ownership is finally increasing in the United States, following the housing bust. The Census Bureau reports that 63.9 percent of households owned their own homes in 2017. This represents the first annual home ownership increase in more than 10 years, as a string of losses followed the housing bust after 2006. The home ownership rate has continued to increase, and stood at 64.4 percent in the third quarter of 2018.  read more »

ABC Sitcom The Conners: The Struggle is Real

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Life expectancy for Americans has fallen to an average of 78.6 years. This is a drop from the most recent estimates—indicating a downward trend that is virtually unheard of in Western countries.  read more »

California Doesn’t Have a Budget Surplus

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It’s become common folklore that California is booming and incoming Governor Newsom and the Democratic supermajority have more taxpayer money than they will know how to spend, save, or invest. Nothing could be farther from the truth; and it’s the California voters and taxpayers who will continue to be pay for this mistake. We literally owe trillions that isn’t being discussed.  read more »

Louisville Bridges Project Is the Biggest Transportation Boondoggle of the 21st Century

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I have been a steadfast critic of the project to build two new bridges across the Ohio River in Louisville for over a decade. In fact, my first critical post on the bridges proposal was put up in 2007 less than six months after starting my original Urbanophile blog.

The end result was even worse than I anticipated. The project has proven to be a money waster of the highest order, and in fact by far the biggest American transportation boondoggle I can identify in the 21st century so far.  read more »

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The Soul Of The New Machine

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Thirty-five years ago Tracy Kidder electrified readers with his “Soul of a New Machine,” which detailed the development of a minicomputer. Today we may be seeing the emergence of another machine, a political variety that could turn the country toward a permanent one-party state.  read more »

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The Benefits of Homeownership Mean We Should Still Believe in the American Dream

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In 2004, President George W. Bush announced the aim of promoting a broader “Ownership Society,” in which more Americans could benefit from owning a home, retirement accounts, and other financial assets. “If you own something,” he declared, “you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America.” President Bush’s premise echoes ideas advanced by virtually all presidents since Franklin Roosevelt.  read more »