Talking Headways Podcast: Highways and Partisanship

This week we’re joined by Clayton Nall, a professor of political science at Stanford University, to discuss his new book about the interstate highway system and political partisanship — The Road to Inequality: How the Federal Highway Program Polarized America and Undermined Cities. Professor Nall discusses how partisanship affects the way people think about transportation projects, and historical shifts in the politics of transportation policy.

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The Highway Era Is Over. When Will Our Institutions Catch Up?

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The highway era is over. The construction of the Interstate Highway System is essentially complete. Americans will continue to log lots of miles on highways, but for the most part, the job of building them is over. We’ve already connected the places worth connecting by highways. The problem is that transportation agencies — especially state DOTs — haven’t caught up. In their training, organizational […]

It’s Time to Stop Pretending That Roads Pay for Themselves

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If nothing else, the current round of federal transportation legislating should end the myth that highways are a uniquely self-sufficient form of infrastructure paid for by “user fees,” a.k.a. gas taxes and tolls. With all the general tax revenue that goes toward roads in America, car infrastructure has benefited from hefty subsidies for many years. […]

Houston’s Big Chance to Turn Back the Tide of Car Traffic

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There’s a lot riding on Texas DOT’s $7 billion plan for downtown Houston freeways. TxDOT has been working for more than a decade on a plan for the three highways that roughly form a circle around the city — I-45, I-10, and U.S. 59. Last April, the agency revealed a draft version of the plan, and another revision […]