Monday’s Headline Will Bring Us Together

Photo:  No More Freeways PDX
Photo: No More Freeways PDX
  • Federal highway spending has contributed to political polarization that primarily benefits Sun Belt Republicans, and means Democrats aren’t really going to push for more transit funding over roads. (Governing)
  • Proposals have surfaced at the federal level and at least 10 states to cut or suspend gas taxes to combat high pump prices (Land Line). But it’s an election-year gimmick that won’t even save drivers much money (The Hill).
  • The idea of transporting people via, essentially, giant pneumatic bank tubes has been around for over a century, but the Hyperloop was never going to work despite the hype. (Motherboard)
  • A third of the Earth’s population can’t see the stars at night, and a big reason why is poorly designed streetlights. (Arch Daily)
  • Preliminary results from Boston’s fare-free pilot program found that it’s resulted in a 20 percent spike in ridership and improved on-time performance. (Globe)
  • The cost estimate for three miles of light rail on the Atlanta Beltline has exploded to up to $448 million, jeopardizing its chances of receiving federal funding. (Journal-Constitution)
  • It’s always been targeted by Republicans, but more delays and cost overruns on the Twin Cities’ Southwest light rail line are causing Democrats to start questioning the Metropolitan Council’s management. (MinnPost)
  • A North Carolina transportation agency is removing highway projects from its long-term plans and replacing them with spending on transit and bike infrastructure. (Raleigh News & Observer)
  • St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones says the Loop streetcar could restart this summer. (Post-Dispatch)
  • Uber and Lyft drivers in Washington state will get sick time and worker’s comp after the companies cut a deal with the Teamsters union that doesn’t force them to recognize drivers as employees. (Washington State Wire)
  • West Virginia union laws could prevent the state’s transit agencies from collecting federal funding. (WFXR)
  • The Savannah city council passed a Vision Zero initiative. (WSAV)
  • A Seattle parking space is on the market for $50,000, which is more than most people pay for a car and probably a lifetime’s worth of transit passes. (KING)
  • A new Showtime series shows how Uber founder Travis Kalanick disrupted his own career with privacy and sexual harassment scandals. (New York Times)


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

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. […]

Ranking the Sad Parade of Federal Transpo Funding Ideas From Worst to Best

The problem seems simple enough: The federal transportation program is going broke because Washington has allowed the gas tax to be eroded by inflation for more than 20 years. As obvious as raising the gas tax may be, America’s political leaders won’t touch it. Yesterday, The Hill reported that Congressman Bill Shuster, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is ruling out […]