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As expected, President Obama has picked a mayor to succeed Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation. But it’s not Los Angeles’s Antonio Villaraigosa. It’s Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Google may have revolutionized our understanding of geography, but so far the world’s leading internet company hasn’t revolutionized the geography of commuting. So as Google contemplates its first major “campus,” the City of Mountain View is looking to innovation – the coin of the realm in the Silicon Valley – to help Googlites get to work. Even if it means building a rail system that transports individual commuters around town in little capsules.
In releasing his proposed 2012-13 budget last Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown also proposed a major reorganization of state government that would separate transportation and housing at the same time Brown’s policy thrust is intended to link the two closer together.
In particular, Brown has proposed a major restructuring of the Business, Transportation, and Housing (BTH) Agency that would have here parts:
For the most part, public transportation in American cities has all the sex appeal of a hearse.
“Life in the Slow Lane” is the headline of a piece in The Economist that provides a very interesting analysis of the lack of infrastructure spending in the United States.
Because the story is in The Economist, it comes at the topic from a European perspective. No doubt this will trouble conservatives because, well … I’m not sure why conservatives fear comparisons with other prosperous, industrialized, democratic societies. Anyway, I think the story is worth reading.
Poor George Will. He’s getting kicked all over the blogosphere for a recent Newsweek column in which he said liberals love trains because they are a way to control the masses, while conservatives love cars because they provide freedom.
The constitution mandates that we build highways, but not bike lanes. So says Duncan Hunter, a freshman Republican congressman from suburban San Diego.
I’m not making this up. A short interview with Hunter, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, posted by DC Streetsblog is the talk of the alternative transportation crowd.
"SB: But you’re OK with mandating highways?"
Public transit was one deciding factor when free agent pitching ace Cliff Lee chose to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies last week. I am not making this up.
The left hander had previously pitched for the Phillies, and his wife, Kristen, enjoyed urban living in Philadelphia, including its abundant transit options. She didn’t care for the Dallas area, where her husband played last season for the Texas Rangers.
“We liked the easy travel on a train for our kids to other cities and the good cultural experience for them here,” Kristen Lee told the Philadelphia Daily News.
Twenty years from now, while we scoot up and down the state on 200 mph trains, we could look back on the current “train to nowhere” episode and laugh at the furor over the project’s starting point.
Or, twenty years from now, as we crawl up and down Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in bumper-to-bumper traffic, we could look back on the “train to nowhere” episode and cry over a decision that killed high-speed rail’s chance of ever succeeding.
Or, twenty years from now, we may simply look back at the “train to nowhere” episode and smile, comfortable that we never sent tens of billions of dollars down that rat hole.
It appears the federal government is on the verge of reducing funding for public transit and other means of “alternative” transportation. Such cutbacks could be bad news for California, where alternative transportation is mainstream and the state government is barely solvent.