Recent Headlines: National Edition

For more on Clarence’s most recent Streetfilm from Copenhagen, click here.

  • Dems Retreat on Energy, Oil-Spill Bills (The Hill)
  • Obesity Rates Continue To Rise (NYT)
  • Cars Remain Currency of Cool in Hollywood (Slate)
  • Gulf Oil Gusher 2nd Largest Ever; Still a Fraction of What Americans Consume Every Day (APTime)
  • But Government Tells Us 3/4 of Spill "No Longer a Threat" (LAT)
  • Obama’s "Plan B" on Climate Under Assault (Politico
  • The Case for Open Data in Transit (Streetfilms)
  • Livable Communities Act Clears Senate Sub-Committee (DC Streetsblog)
  • Reason Foundation: Transit a "Peripheral Concern" to National Transpo Policy

Thanks to Adam Voiland at DC Streetsblog

  • Carter Rubin

    Bizarre to see the Reason Foundation advocating for “tolling, and congestion pricing to produce a sustainable, user-pays 21st-century highway system” in the same breath that they say the Federal Government should stop funding transit projects because the subsidies are too large.

  • Marcotico

    Not really, Carter. The reason libertarians like tolling is that it links activity (auto-mobility) directly to user fees, rather than to indirect economic signals like gas taxes. In fact they would love to see fully privatized self-supporting roadways. In the libertarian world view over time fully privatized systems would lead to less inequality rather than more. I don’t necessarily agree, and I question what life would be like in the “over time” period of transition, while the market reaches equilibrium, but there is nothing contradictory in the statement you quoted. Subsidies occur whenever a source of revenue from one of set of users goes to support services for a separate set of users. Regardless of how you may feel about the diverse benefits of transit, and the costs of auto-mobility currently transit riders depend on more subsidies than auto drivers (which is not to say autos don’t benefit from subsidies).

    What I find interesting, is that transportation planners and theorists from both the left and the right (or statist and libertarian) agree that auto-mobility needs more tolling and VMT based pricing, while non transportation experts decry tolling and VMT pricing. Left-leaning transpo people see VMT pricing as balancing the playing field between autos and transit, and right leaning see it as linking pricing signals directly to travel choices (user-pays). However left leaning non-transpo people feel that tolling and VMT charging punishes the poor more than the rich for much needed mobility, and right leaning non-transpo people think that tolling is paying again for something they’ve already paid taxes for (they forget these things need to be maintained). AND both sides fear the civil liberties implications of paying for travel by the mile.