Talking Headways Podcast: I’m Not a Scientist

podcast icon logoDo you ever think about the ecology of the city you live in? Not just the parks and the smog. Scientists are starting to examine urban ecosystems more holistically: the trees and the concrete, natural gas lines and soil, water pipes and rivers. The natural and the synthetic feed off each other in surprising ways. We’re not scientists, but we found it interesting.

Then we move from the ecosystem to the highway system — specifically, the argument made by Evan Jenkins in The Week to abolish the National Highway System. Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns thinks it’s a good idea. Jeff and I aren’t so sure. Could rail really pick up the slack? Would states make better decisions? What funding source would replace the federal gas tax?

Enjoy this, our 42nd episode of Talking Headways. Find us on the Twitters already. And oh yeah, also on iTunesStitcher, and the RSS feed.

  • Ben Ross

    The National Highway System is different from the Interstate Highway System. It includes many local streets in urban areas. For example, in downtown Washington DC, it includes parts of 7th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 17th, and K Streets, as well as Pennsylvania Ave., Independence Ave., and Constitution Ave.

    The case is actually stronger for abolishing the NHS than the IHS, because the NHS is subject to federal rules that can prevent traffic calming and other road improvements.

  • neroden

    ” the argument made by Evan Jenkins in The Week to abolish the National Highway System. Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns thinks it’s a good idea. Jeff and I aren’t so sure. Could rail really pick up the slack? Would states make better decisions?”

    The NHS should certainly be abolished; it’s used as an excuse to enshrine overly-wide lanes and unsafe streets because “federal standards”.

    Could rail pick up the slack? Obviously. Rail is great for high volumes.

    Would states make better decisions? Some would. Some would not.

    Funding? Yeah, that’s a problem, since it would be good to have some funding from an entity which can print money (which the feds can but the states generally can’t). Simple population-based block grants to states would do fine.