Tag: Transportation

Join hosts Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute’s Mary Connaughton, and guest, former Mass. Secretary of Transportation Jim Aloisi, as they discuss the I90 Allston Multimodal Project, its long-term benefits, and their concerns for the metro west commuters and communities during the project’s decade-long construction.

Interview guest:

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I don’t write posts frequently (I enjoy the other ones so much!) but every so often something comes up and as I was fretting over it, I realized that the very-sensible Ricochet-members would probably have solid advice. Here goes: I take the Metra from downtown Chicago to the suburbs (Lake Forest, for those in the […]

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Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, joins City Journal contributing editor Nicole Gelinas to discuss the state of U.S. infrastructure and how federal spending could be used more effectively to improve safety and reduce fiscal waste.

The federal government spends between $40 billion and $60 billion on transportation infrastructure annually. In recent years, congressional leaders and the White House have pushed a $2 trillion plan to upgrade roads, bridges, and more. But such proposals, Osborne argues, “would throw more money into the same flawed system.”

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Sound Transit (WA) is in the process of building out, at Enormous Expense (many billions, of taxpayer money, in perpetuity), the Link Light Rail system. Just lately, the system has seen some disturbing activity. Fatal Shooting at Westlake Station Preview Open

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Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council, joins Seth Barron to discuss the state of New York City’s transit system and his plan to break up the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), allowing the city to take control of its buses, subways, bridges, and tunnels. According to Johnson, direct control of the MTA would enhance its responsiveness, accountability, and transparency.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. California History: The Ridge Route

 
Grapevine Grade looking north of original Ridge Route. Note this is Tejon Pass, not Tehachapi Pass

Early in my engineering career, I used to drive what was and still is colloquially called “the grapevine” to and from work every day for about five years. In fact, I rarely did drive the actual grapevine. I lived in Castaic , which is located in Los Angeles County at the southern end of the Tejon Pass, and worked on construction projects in the Gorman area and so drove I-5 “up the hill” and “down the hill” between these two points. The grapevine is the name for the grade at the northern portion of the Tejon Pass, which is in Kern County and connects Los Angeles with northern California.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. All Aboard! 10 May 1869, 150 Years Ago Yesterday

 

On 10 May 1869, 150 years ago yesterday, the newly reunited United States were tied together, from coast to coast with the first transcontinental railroad. Without any modern construction or surveying tools, the two teams, building towards each other from east and west, met in Promontory, Utah. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad presidents met and drove a ceremonial final spike. With this, transportation accelerated far beyond any prior technology.

The inherent efficiency of even wood or coal steam engines over animal and sail power meant those modes would change. Horse or oxen would now service hubs defined by rail stops. The stops, necessary to refueling with coal and water, became towns. The glorious era of clipper ships was cut short, the golden spike puncturing their whole business model as surely as the rocky coast of Cape Horn could hull them. @seawriter can tell that tale far better.

Nicole Gelinas joins Seth Barron to discuss her research on New York subway ridership, the future of the city’s subways, and the decriminalization of fare-jumping, a reversal of a critical policing strategy that helped fight crime.

Subway ridership in New York has nearly doubled since 1977, but it’s not tourists packing the trains: it’s city residents. And New York’s poorest neighborhoods have seen the biggest growth in annual ridership over the last 30 years.

This week on Banter, AEI Visiting Scholar Rick Geddes joins the show to discuss hyperloop technology. Geddes has written extensively about how hyperloop technology could dramatically reduce travel time in the United States as well as the regulatory, environmental, and financial challenges such a system would need to overcome. Geddes hosted a public event at AEI headquarters on hyperloop in April. You can view the full event video below.

Learn More:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Making Life Multiplanetary

 

Here is Elon Musk’s presentation at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia. He describes a revised version of the interplanetary transport architecture he presented at last year’s IAC. The vehicle has been downsized, but the largest innovation is that he now believes it can be funded by SpaceX’s ongoing operations by replacing its existing launchers and spacecraft with the new, fully reusable system.

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Since I love the Ricochet podcasts, I thought why not become a member! Hope folks enjoy my first post, an interview with former Democratic nominee 88′ Michael Dukakis. I’m trying to return our political debate to intelligent conversation instead of yelling over split screens. If you like it please share. Thanks. Preview Open

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Robert Poole (Reason Foundation) joins Aaron Renn on the ​City Journal podcast to discuss the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Port Authority was originally founded to manage the region’s transportation infrastructure, but the agency has long been plagued by politicized decision making, money-losing facilities, and declining financial viability.

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Of all the ways to travel in Thailand, the rickshaw was almost my favorite. We called this town conveyance a somlaw, or three-wheeler, because it was a bicycle in the front with two-wheeled carriage attached to the back. Somlaw carriages came in vivid primary colors with elaborate raised designs. The drivers tended to be older (men from surrounding villages?) […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What Is the Future of Pricey Bullet Train Projects in a World of Driverless Cars?

 

shutterstock_200996891_BullettrainsThe Wall Street Journal reports that the “U.S. government has approved the first federal funds for an ambitious plan to tap Japanese technology for a high-speed train project that could carry passengers between New York and Washington, D.C. at more than 300 miles an hour.”

Indeed, politicians have lots of big transportation ideas, like a $10 billion business terminal in New York or that ever-more-expensive California bullet train. But when dreaming up these super-pricey projects, are politicians taking into account autonomous vehicle technology? What should transportation policy be given the following scenario, sketched out by Princeton’s Steven Strauss?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Drone Taxicabs, Maglev Transportation Bubbles, and Peak Car

 

shutterstock_109852124Technological advances can help us do more with less. In a new piece at the Breakthrough Institute, Jesse Ausubel argues that with better tech, a “large, prosperous, innovative humanity, producing and consuming wisely, might share the planet with many more companions, as nature rebounds.” A future of abundance, not austerity. Already we may be at Peak Farmland and Peak Timber because of efficiency and alternatives. Also, Peak Car:

The beginning of a plateau in the population of cars and light trucks on US roads suggests we are approaching peak car. The reason may be that drone taxis will win. The average personal vehicle motors about an hour per day, while a car shared like a Zipcar gets used eight or nine hours per day, and a taxi even more. Driverless cars could work tirelessly and safely and accomplish the present mileage with fewer vehicles. The manufacturers won’t like it, but markets do simply fade away, whether for typewriters or newsprint.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What to do About Amtrak — Beyond the Usual Suggestions

 

051415amtrakBreaking! There’s a major disaster with possible public policy implications! Scramble the hot takes! (I know I often do.)

Here we go: “Amtrak needs help,” asserts the New York Times editorial page. But maybe the “world will lose nothing if the government winds down Amtrak by selling off its profitable lines in the Northeast to a competently-managed private company and scrapping the rest,” as the Washington Examiner argues. Then again, the Center for American Progress claims “Congress’ refusal to acknowledge Amtrak’s predicament has made American trains so inefficient that it’s actually having a dampening effect on ridership growth.” Yet National Review’s Ian Tuttle counters that “Amtrak’s history of fiscal chaos suggests that the service’s problems are not the product of congressional stinginess, but of a faulty assumption (that America needed a passenger rail service) compounded by decades of mismanagement.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Warning to Republicans Nationwide

 

voteOn Tuesday, as I reported, the voters in Michigan went to the polls to vote on a sales tax increase aimed in part – but only in part – at repairing the state’s disintegrating roads. The turnout was far larger than I expected. Something like one voter in four actually showed up – and the results were a sharp rebuke to Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican establishment in Michigan. Although the Republicans scheduled this vote at a time when only those guaranteed to profit from the measure were apt to be paying attention — and although the road-building lobby outspent the opposition by more than twelve-to-one — the voters rejected the initiative four-to-one. This was the most resounding defeat for a ballot initiative since the current Michigan constitution was adopted in 1963. If Snyder and his not-so-merry men were up for reelection tomorrow, they would be voted out in a landslide. That is what happens when a political party betrays its base.

Of course, Republican voters are used to being betrayed. Republican candidates nearly always tout their conservative credentials. They oppose abortion, they criticize tax increases, they whine about government regulation. But when push comes to shove, very few of them ever do anything for their constituents.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Can Buses Ever Be Cool?

 

shutterstock_112350695Recently, at The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead highlighted a UK think tank’s efforts to persuade the government that buses are superior to trains. “The great train fantasy” is, he argues, preventing us from generating sensible solutions to transportation problems. Trains seem fancy and futuristic, but in reality are expensive and lower-capacity than buses. Also, buses are more flexible. When urban development and demographic changes alter people’s travel needs, you can just change the bus routes. It’s much harder to reroute a train.

Despite all that, buses still seem déclassé, which is presumably a major reason why trains and light rail continue to streak their way through the dreams of liberal urban planners. Trains seem sleek and streamlined and their doors make that cool whoosh noise. Is the coming technocratic paradise going to run on buses? Yeah, right.

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For MFR— “Did you ever hear the story about Dr. F and the python?” asked Dr. A. Preview Open

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