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Transportation Archive

Policies of the Future Should Not Be Tied to Science of the Past | Commentary

Fighting the last war over again is a bad strategy for future military planning. Using science of the past in crafting technology policies for the future is just as foolish. Yet that’s what’s happening in the debate over refilling the Highway Trust Fund’s depleted financial tank.

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Amtrak Looks for Balance Between Serving Northeast Corridor, the Rest of the Country

A traveler wishing to ride the rails in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston can choose from dozens of trains per day. Anyone wishing to ride the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles, however, has more limited options: There’s one train on Monday, one on Wednesday and one on Saturday.

Taking Out-of-State Drivers for a Ride | Commentary

Labor Day marks the unofficial beginning of fall with back-to-school season, cooler temperatures and, for some, the long-awaited return of football. The National Football League season kicks off on Sept. 4 in Seattle with a rematch of the infamous 2012 “Fail Mary” game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Believe it or not, this game holds a lesson for students of transportation and tax policy — both teams are known for their superstar quarterbacks and rabid fan bases, but there is a significant difference in how they chose to finance their stadiums. Lambeau Field’s renovations were partially funded by a sales tax paid by those who benefit the most from the team and the stadium — the citizens of Green Bay, Wis. CenturyLink Field, on the other hand, was built using money collected from discriminatory taxes on car rentals paid by visitors to Seattle.

Norwegian Air International: What's Past Is Prologue | Commentary

Will U.S. commercial aviation travel the same path as U.S. maritime where flags of convenience cripple an important part of our economy?

A Highway Funding Plan that Could Work: Let States and Localities Decide | Commentary

Now that Congress has “patched” the Highway Trust Fund to save it from insolvency, it is time to get some clarity on a notable element of the Obama administration’s GROW AMERICA ACT that would lift the decades-old ban on tolling the interstates. Removing this ban would give states much-needed flexibility to tackle their growing transportation challenges. Yet critics of both tolling and the administration’s proposal are incorrectly suggesting that tolling is being proposed as a means of paying for the federal highway program.

The Open Road: Keeping Interstates Toll-Free Protects the Economy and Preserves Americans' Freedom | Commentary

Americans love the open road — it symbolizes the freedoms our country provides and a sense of exploration that has helped build our nation. The vast interstate network of asphalt and pavement for decades has facilitated people’s travel to places near and far for commerce or recreation. Now, that free system is under attack by some policymakers who want to roll back longstanding restrictions on tolling interstates. Doing that, as Massachusetts Transportation Department chief Richard A. Davey suggested in a July 25 Roll Call guest opinion column, would enable states to slap economically punitive fees on roads that traditionally have been toll-free. Such a policy reversal would be financially devastating for families and businesses, and the mere notion of it should alarm everyone who uses the interstates.

Road Closed to Investor Cash for Infrastructure Funding

Pension funds are slowly starting to take a look at investing in infrastructure projects, raising hopes among transportation advocates and lawmakers that the country’s roads and bridges could see an infusion of private cash.

Beyond Dollars: There's More Washington Can Do to Promote Transportation Investment | Commentary

Our nation’s transportation infrastructure is the backbone of a strong U.S. economy. But with a trillion-dollar backlog, America is simply not spending enough to keep its infrastructure in good repair. Investing in transportation is about more than filling potholes and paving roads; investment creates jobs and stimulates economic activity. Across the political spectrum, from the Simpson-Bowles Commission to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO, there is broad, bipartisan consensus to invest more in transportation.

What Washington Can Do to Prevent Train Tragedies | Commentary

A lot has been written in this newspaper about how little Congress is accomplishing this summer. But there is something important Washington could do before the August recess without any congressional action — demand safer standards for hauling crude oil.

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Conservatives See Highway Trust Fund Fight as Road to State Control of Transportation Spending

Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers want to revive a policy debate over the federal role in transportation policy as Congress gets ready to debate a long-term reauthorization of highway and transit programs.

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Solutions to Highway Fund Shortfall in the Slow Lane

Congress is once more setting itself up for a last-minute funding crisis, set to hit right before lawmakers take off for their August recess.

Allowing States the Option of Using Tolls Is a Good Idea | Commentary

A provision in the GROW AMERICA Act, introduced to Congress last month by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, proposes lifting a decades-old ban on tolling existing interstate general purpose lanes.

Gas Tax Is Imperative to a Robust Highway Bill | Commentary

This harsh winter has taken a serious toll on our roads and bridges, adding to the potholes and cracks in an already-damaged infrastructure across our nation. This spring and summer will be absolutely crucial for the construction industry to repair the damage and continue building a transportation infrastructure for the 21st century. Unfortunately, inaction in Washington has led to uncertainty and hesitation from the industry because of the pending shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund and potential loss of federal transportation assistance which makes up over half of state capital investment in highway bridge improvement projects.

Interstate Tolling Proposal Is a Bad Idea | Commentary

In late April, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx presented Congress with the Obama administration’s four year, $302 billion transportation GROW AMERICA Act, ostensibly to address the substantial shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and provide an additional $87 billion to address the backlog of structurally deficient bridges and aging transit systems across the country. As with most things in Washington, D.C., the devil is in the details.

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Surface Transportation Increase Unlikely -- Despite Infrastructure Needs, Public Transit Wants

Senators writing a six-year surface transportation bill are planning to keep status quo spending levels and skip an administration proposal to boost public transit programs and update the nation’s aging infrastructure.

Repatriation Tax Holiday Is Not a Fix for Highway Trust Fund Insolvency | Commentary

All over the United States, construction crews are shaking off the winter cold and gearing up for a busy season repairing and expanding our transportation infrastructure. Yet, one ominous question remains: Will the Highway Trust Fund have enough money to keep them on the job?

It's Time for Smart Growth and Planning | Commentary

A recent report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers should concern the public because it highlights the crumbling condition of our nation’s infrastructure. Delayed maintenance and underinvestment in several major infrastructure categories resulted in a dismal overall grade of D+. The large number of structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. and our declining road conditions are not only dangerous for users but also threaten future economic prosperity.

Political Earmarking Is Unfair to Taxpayers | Commentary

If your boss handed you a to-do list that had projects to work on from 25 years ago, you’d be fairly concerned about the prospect of getting all of them done. It would be even worse if the boss kept giving you new projects that also needed to be completed. While it may be a bit of a stretch, this is essentially the problem the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee had to solve in writing the latest Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

Restoring Our Ports, Restoring U.S. Competitiveness | Commentary

Our nation’s ports and waterways are vital to American competitiveness. They employ more than 13 million people and transport millions of products to markets across the globe.

Innovation Holds the Key to Driver Safety | Commentary

Even after almost 10 years of unveiling the latest consumer technology at the International CES, innovation and the ways it keeps us connected — no matter where we are — continues to amaze me. But innovation can also produce what economists refer to as negative externalities: an incessant urge to stay connected, even while we’re driving. And that connection can come at the expense of safety — for us, our families riding in our cars, the strangers with whom we’re sharing the road and everyone who’s hoofing it along sidewalks and crosswalks.

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