Nation’s Transportation News Highlights – Nov. 10, 2010

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“Since 1996, the city of Portland has drawn five urban-renewal districts along the routes of existing or planned light-rail lines and used four preexisting districts along those lines to promote transit-oriented developments. The total subsidies offered in these districts amount to well over $1.5 billion, not counting the tens of millions of property tax waivers offered to high-density residences. The total subsidies to transit-oriented developments are close to the total capital costs of the rail lines themselves, on which Portland has spent more than $2 billion (in 2008 dollars, including projects currently under construction.” — Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and What To Do About It, Randal O’Toole, p 69

NOTE: Portland’s tax waivers on high density residences were $100,000 per unit (10 years x $10,000 annually). In Honolulu, the subsidy per affordable rental unit is $150,000 to $250,000. (Rail an Integral Part of Managing Our Growth, op ed by Craig Watase, Honolulu Advertiser, 12/07/2006)


Adding Cabbie Know-How to Online Maps, Kate Greene, MIT Technology Review, 11/05/10

Young People on Car Ownership: Meh, Angie Schmitt, StreetsBlog Network, 11/05/10

After NYPD Kills Bill, Council Pushes for Traffic Safety Data From DOT, Noah Kazis, StreetsBlog, 11/05/10

U.S. dollar printing is huge risk – China advisor, Reuters Beijing, 11/03/10

Double A Energy Policy, Kenneth P. Green, Steven F. Hayward, The American, 11/04/10

Calif. Rail project is high-speed pork, Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 11/01/10

How to Cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget, Brian Riedl, Heritage Foundation, 10/28/10

Rethinking Homeownership, A Framework for 21st Century Housing Finance Reform, Anthony Randazzo, Reason Foundation, October 2010

News in Hawaii

There’s more we can learn from the New Jersey Tunnel, HonoluluTraffic.Com, 11/02/10

Critics Decry end of N.J. Tunnel Project, Chris Hawley, Geoff Mulvihill, ENR, 10/31/10

Other projects in doubt include a train system in Hawaii, high- speed rail lines in the Midwest and a highway tunnel to replace the earthquake-damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle.

Global Economy-Obama returns fire after China slams Fed’s move, Reuters, 11/08/10

Zoellick seeks gold standard debate, Alan Beattie, Financial Times, 11/07/10

System that “is likely to need to involve the dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound and a renminbi that moves toward internationalization and then an open capital account. The system should also consider employing gold as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values.”

Program Opens Farmers Markets to Food Stamps, Miller-McCune, 11/05/10

Fed bond move spurs backlash from Asia to Europe, Joe McDonald, MyWay, 11/05/10

Wise Men Or Blind Men At The Fed?, Martin T. Sosnoff, Forbes, 11/04/10

Eliminate Waste or Kill Good Projects? Earmark Ban Could Cut Both Ways, Tanya Snyder, DC.Streets, 11/04/10

Mid-term Election Accelerates Federal Deconstruction, Robert J. Cristiano, New Geography, 11/04/10

Republican House “young guns” to lead freshman class of 65 on budget crusade to rein in government spending. Return federal spending to 2008 levels.

Protect, don’t privatize Turnpike jobs, Janice Fine, Jeff Keafe, Julia Sass Rubin, Star-Ledger, 11/04/10

Christie admin waging PR campaign to inpugn the integrity of toll collectors, maintenance workers and other Turnpike employees, to pave way for privatizing Turnpike operations.

The World Looks at Obama After the U.S. Midterm Election, George Friedman, Stratfor Global Intelligence, 11/04/10

Obama won a substantial victory in 2008, but almost 48 percent of voters voted against him. Though he won a larger percentage than anyone since Ronald Reagan, he was not even close to the magnitude of Reagan’s victory. Reagan transformed the way American politics worked. Obama did not.

This Time, Triangulation’s Not An Option, Dick Morris, Eileen McGann, 11/04/10

When Obama took office, government (federal, state and local combined) controlled 35 percent of the US economy — 15th among the two-dozen advanced countries. Now, it controls 44.7 percent, ranking us 7th, ahead of Germany and Britain. So where’s the compromise — leave government in control of, say, 40 percent?

Indebted and Unrepentant, Fred Siegel, City Journal, 11/03/10

New York and California stand virtually alone against the rest of the country.

President Obama’s Hollow Jobs Boast, IBD, 11/02/10

Private job growth peaked at 241,000 in April and has rolled over precipitously. Gains in private payrolls plunged 31% to 64,000 in September from 93,000 in August, when they fell 21% from the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. September’s gain, in fact, was the weakest since June.

US to spend $200 mn a day on Obama’s Mumbai visit, NDTV, 11/02/10

How to Cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget, Brian Riedl, Heritage Foundation, 10/28/10

Obama: Infrastructure a Top Priority, Fawn Johnson, National Journal, 10/26/10


DUI, Uninsured Motorists, Tolling, PPPs, Variable Pricing, RUCS and Sustainable Transportation

After NYPD Kills Bill, Council Pushes for Traffic Safety Data From DOT, Noah Kazis, StreetsBlog, 11/05/10

Young People on Car Ownership: Meh, Angie Schmitt, StreetsBlog Network, 11/05/10

Young adults between 20-24 who are licensed to drive dropped by five percent between 1994 and 2008, down to 82 percent, according to FHWA. Among 16-year-olds, just 31 percent held a driver’s license in 2008, compared to about 42 percent in 1994. Growing ambivalence among younger generations about driving and car ownership more generally.

Electoral fallout on toll biz- several certain changes, other possibilities, TollRoadsNews, 11/04/10

Mica seems to be overly enthusiastic about rail and anti-road for the temper of the new Republican governors and congresspeople. He blocked Florida’s Turnpike from developing toll express lanes on I-4 through the Orlando area and has championed light and commuter rail like a true ‘liberal.’ And Mica has supported heavy taxpayer funding of highspeed rail projects…

Idaho highway agency plans massive overhaul, Spokesman, 11/03/10

State transportation employees to inspect construction projects or clearing snow rather than pushing paper around.

Wisconsin, Ohio Governors-Elect Press Ahead to Pull the Plug on Rail, Tanya Snyder, DC.StreetsBlog, 11/05/10

Walker says he will stop train project to Milwaukee, Clay Barbour, Wisconsin State Journal, 11/04/10

Elections Cloud High-Speed Rail’s Future, Just as New Survey Shows Its Potential, Eric Jaffe, The Infrastructurist, 11/04/10

With GOP gains, transportation projects could slow, Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/04/10

Calif. Rail Project Is High-Speed Pork, National Center for Policy Analysis, 11/04/10

New Midwest Governors Could Derail High-Speed Trains, Amy Merrick, WSJ, 11/03/10

Voters say no in advisory referendum on commuter rail, Steven Verburg, Wisconsin State Journal, 11/03/10

N.J. to repay federal government $350M spent on killed Hudson River tunnel project, New Jersey News, 11/03/10

Phoenix Transit Cuts: Caused by Light Rail? The Antiplanner, 11/02/10

Almost half of transit’s share of sales tax increase goes for light rail, to pay back loans incurred to build system.

Revenues drop slams Valley’s regional transit system, David Madrid, Arizona Central, 10/31/10

Out of 10 major bus routes being postponed because of falling tax revenues, eight affect West Valley. Regional bus system is dead.


TODs, Eminent Domain, Property Rights

Rethinking Homeownership, A Framework for 21st Century Housing Finance Reform, Anthony Randazzo, Reason Foundation, October 2010

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be eliminated, all mortgage distortions and fiscal policies favoring homeownership removed along with them. Focus on protecting consumers by prosecuting fraud, providing necessary legal approval for other lending and changing the tax code to favor savings (rather than consumption) and investment, letting market allocate capital to housing. Aim for a market that aligns business and consumer interests more acutely instead of restricting certain business practices and products ad hoc; Alignment to include promoting transparency, forcefully prosecuting fraud and creating incentives for consumers to better educate themselves about their mortgage purchases.

Amendment 4 is Bad News for Us, Wes Blackman, Edge Ft. Lauderdale, 10/31/10

Residents living an hour from your home will be voting on whether or not to put gas stations, hospitals, schools, fire stations, or parks in your backyard. Ultimately, your voice –and the voice of your neighbors – will be drowned out in the noise of high-priced, countywide media campaigns.

In 2006, the small Florida town of St. Pete Beach adopted a local version of Amendment 4. Since then, the town has seen higher property taxes, fewer jobs and endless litigation. When the voters of St. Pete Beach tried to improve their town’s failing economy at the ballot box, some of the same special interest lawyers who wrote Amendment 4 took the taxpayers to court. Now, nonstop lawsuits in St. Pete Beach have paralyzed the town’s economy and cost local taxpayers nearly $1 million. That’s one of the top reasons that every major Editorial Board to weigh into the debate has opposed Amendment 4.?The fact is that, if passed, top economists report that Amendment 4 will put more than 250,000 Floridians out of work while costing taxpayers more than $1 billion.


If Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure, Does the MSM Make a Sound?, Steve Hilloy, Pajamas Media, 11/06/10

CCX founded in Nov 2000, to end carbon trading this year; was once estimated to exchange $10 trillion. CCX’s panicked original investors bailed out this spring, unloading the dog and its across-the-pond cousin, the European Climate Exchange (ECX), for $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange-traded Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — an electronic futures and derivatives platform based in Atlanta and London. ECX may soon fold also.

Double A Energy Policy, Kenneth P. Green, Steven F. Hayward, The American, 11/04/10

Promote abundant and affordable energy, oppose policies raising energy prices and restrictive energy access.

Algae for Biofuels, Ron Kolb, Energy Tribune, 11/03/10

Day of reckoning for climate vote, Darren Samuelsohn, Robin Bravender, Politico, 11/03/10

Colombia = The Gulf, Investors Business Daily, 11/02/10

In yet another sign we are not keeping up, Colombia, a small nation not highly endowed with oil resources, will soon match or surpass U.S. production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Natural gas the future of energy: Qatar minister, Breitbart, 11/01/10

James Cameron and Google CEO: Questioning Warming Science is “Criminal”, Steve Watson, PrisonPlanet, 10/29/10

Master of the Brand: Bernard Arnault, Susan Adams, Hannah Elliott, Forbes, 11/04/10

Three Keys To Giving Great Presentations, Shaun Rein, Forbes, 11/01/10