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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

California High Speed Rail Could Earn the State Over $40 Billion in Profit

Monday, December 15th, 2014
ca_hsr_cover

Earlier this year I argued that the up-front cost of local transportation projects, like light rail and bus rapid transit, aren’t really comparable to the cost of California’s high speed rail system. While all of these investments are fighting for the same dollars to some degree, their long-term balance sheets look very different: Local transit typically requires a persistent operating subsidy, whereas even the low-ridership estimates for high speed rail forecast a consistent operating profit. As a result, longer time horizons favor high speed rail, as profits gradually eat away at the high initial capital costs required to build out the network.

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Rethinking Transportation Funding

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 16
Has the time come to reconsider the way we pay for transportation? Should the Highway Trust Fund and its fuel tax revenue continue as the main source of funding for the federal transportation program? If not, what are the alternatives? And more broadly, is the age of long term reauthorizations and of heavy reliance on federal funding, drawing to a close?

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Green Highway Snow and Ice Control Cuts the Chemicals

Monday, November 24th, 2014
Xianming Shi with the industrial size mixer he uses to concoct green deicers and ice-free pavement. (Photo by Rebecca Phillips, University Communications)

By Rebecca Phillips, University Communications, Washington State UniversityPULLMAN, Wash. – Ice-free pavement. “Smart snowplows.” Vegetable juice ice-melt. Cold-climate researchers at Washington State University are clearing the road with green alternatives to the salt, sand and chemicals typically used for highway snow and ice control.As a nation, “we are kind of salt addicted, like with petroleum, […]

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Transportation Policy and Funding in the Post-Election Climate

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 15
The mid-term elections have put an end to any lingering hope of passing a long-term transportation bill during the congressional lame duck session. Such hope was recently expressed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and two Democratic senators, Tom Carper (D-DE) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee…But with the November elections heralding a fiscally more conservative political climate and with Congress preoccupied with a whole lot of unfinished business, passing a massive multi-year multi-billion funding bill for transportation during the lame duck session will be the last thing on the lawmakers’ minds.

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How to Be Prepared For the Inevitable Takeover of Autonomous Vehicles: A Letter to Jeff Brandes

Friday, November 7th, 2014
"I sure hope no one else gets in here." Photo from Car and Driver.

In Florida, Republican state senator Jeff Brandes is making the case that Pinellas County – home of the last metro area in the U.S. to develop a regional transit network – shouldn’t invest in light rail because autonomous vehicles will make mass transit pointless…In that spirit, I’ve put together a list of recommendations that Mr. Brandes can use in developing policy to prepare for this brave new world of robotic transportation. It’s one thing not to waste money on a boondoggle technology like light rail that’s faithfully served people for barely even 100 years –if we’re serious about autonomous vehicles and their guaranteed ability to solve all of our problems, we need to be more proactive.

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Introduction to Solar Roadways

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Introduction to Solar Roadways

If you have seen this viral video, you will know that Julie and Scott Brusaw have grabbed the imagination of several million people, with an invention that could benefit the lives of hundreds of times that number…When I saw it, several questions occurred to me about things such as cost, practicality, durability, traction and (a bit later) the effect of dirt covering, power generation/distribution, and several more…Here’s a small selection of questions from a large number that have already been answered (and whose answers are kept current as the project evolves)

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National ‘Bicyclist Safety’ report gets actual safety trends backwards

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
bikereport1

By Michael Andersen, News Editor, BikePortland.org

A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association Monday is a perfect example of what can go wrong when safety experts get stuck behind their own windshields. The GHSA, an umbrella organization for state departments of transportation whose claims to fame include popularizing the phrase “aggressive pedestrians,” is surely staffed by smart people who are working hard to reduce injuries and deaths. But the problems in this report start right at the top.

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Highway Boondoggles + The Illiana Expressway

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Photo by Brad/Flickr Creative Commons License

(This post also appears in Going Places, a policy blog by CNT’s Jacky Grimshaw)I recently read the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s excellent new report, Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future. I couldn’t help thinking about the decision(s) looming in CNT’s backyard about the proposed Illiana Expressway.Highway Boondoggles focuses on the national and local mismanagement […]

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Will There Be a “Tipping Point” for High-Speed Rail in the U.S.?

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 13
Count me among the skeptics…Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood liked to justify a national HSR program by drawing a parallel with the commitment to build the Interstate Highway system. But the analogy is misleading. What made the Interstate highway program politically feasible and financially sound was the concept of a user fee collected from millions of highway users and dedicated exclusively to the program. A national rail program could not hope to have this kind of revenue stream. Instead, it would need to depend on massive federal subsidies for years to come.

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Solar-Paneled Roadways: Future Infrastructure

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Solar-Paneled Roadways: Future Infrastructure

We’re all aware that America’s infrastructure is in trouble and needs some serious restoration work done ASAP…I don’t need to convince you that we have an urgent problem…Instead, I am here to spark a conversation about a potential solution to two of the problems. In my opinion it’s a pretty sweet deal as it is one solution that fixes two issues. I don’t know about you, but when I’m shopping around I’m a sucker for two for one deals so this tickles my fancy nicely. The problems are our aging roadways and power grid. The solution, potentially, is solar freakin’ roadways.

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