Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nigeria - unpleasant okada economy

...The okada is an ad hoc measure, elevated into a main vehicle in the face of the failure of urban planning and the public transportation system. We run a national economy that is fueled by ad hoc measures. That is why the process of formulating the 2008 budget has so far been mostly experimental. The Presidency and the National Assembly do not know what they want. They can't agree on a road map.

Motorcycles have become the main means of transportation in Nigeria, because of the failure of planning. Okada-related accidents are often more fatal, and more frequent, than any other category of accidents, and yet the government is not sufficiently concerned. Even government officials, faced with a traffic snarl, jump onto the back of the okada....VillageSquare

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Charlotte, NC - Creative thinking needed

...Here’s another idea: treat public transportation as a necessary public service and set up the system so it’s guaranteed enough money to increase service around the city. It’s time for local officials to get creative for a change, rather than thinking like robotic bureaucrats. How about a luxury car tax? A gas guzzler tax? Or how about coming up with something new, an overhaul of the system that could be proposed to local governing bodies — come on, Keith Parker, have you got that in you? Maybe even look into an idea we brought up in October 2007 — something a number of cities in the US and other nations are having success with: fare-free public transit. Think of the drop in congestion and gasoline bills, not to mention air pollution — and what a way for Charlotte to show that its progressive vision goes beyond a couple of light-rail lines and a lively Uptown...The CLOG

Monday, November 17, 2008

U.S. transit didn't just die, it was murdered

But GM lost $65 million in 1921. So Sloan enlisted Standard Oil (now Exxon), Philips Petroleum, glass and rubber companies and an army of financiers and politicians to kill mass transit.

...But with a varied arsenal of political and financial subterfuges, GM helped gut the core of America's train and trolley systems. It was the murder of our rail systems that made our "love affair" with the car a tragedy of necessity. commondreams

Friday, November 14, 2008

U.S.Auto bailout tip of iceberg

For decades the U.S. taxpayer has directly subsidized the carbon-fuel, automobile, and sprawl industries. Now "emergency" direct subsidies are being considered for automakers.

But these direct subsidies are just the tip of the iceberg. The autosprawl system generates large "profits" for the above industries, but these are not real economic profits. The profits come from ignoring the costs [externalities] and wastefulness [opportunity costs] of this system.

The biggest hidden cost is greenhouse gas emissions and the consequent floods and drought. The second is oil and pipeline wars. There are many more problems absorbed by society for the unnecessary autosprawl system. How many can you name?

The solution is to stop the subsidies and invest in public tranportation.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Congress for New Urbanism

“Throughout history, streets were expected to be vibrant public spaces and the setting for diverse and valuable economic activity, as well as movers of people and goods. We’re learning how to do that again, but when you design simply around vehicular movement as typically happens, you limit the results to a familiar landscape that includes big-box and strip retail. And perversely enough, you get a lot of traffic congestion and outrageous carbon emissions. It shouldn’t be a surprise — when people need a car or truck to get anywhere, that creates a lot of long car trips.”
--John Norquist, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU)

Friday, November 7, 2008

U.S. - Which infrastructure?

There is a lot of talk about investing in infrastructure. But which infrastructure? Will the U.S. continue to dump good money after bad into the wasteful autosprawl system? Or will the carbon-auto subsidies come to an end? The American Public Transportation Association makes the case for public transit. It's intuitive, folks. Will the U.S. Congress do the right thing? Join your local bus/transit riders' union, or transit advocacy group.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voters Approve More than $75 Billion for Transportation

from the Center for Transportation Excellence:

Voters Approve More than $75 Billion for Transportation
74% of Transportation Measures Pass
Voters across the country have again signaled their support for transportation-related investment. On November 4, voters approved more than $75 billion in funding for transportation. There were 32 measures on ballots from Rhode Island to Hawaii and 14 states in between. More than 70% of measures were approved in favor of transportation, demonstrating the willingness of voters to invest in expanding choice, improving performance, and increasing competitiveness.
Since 2000, approximately 70% of all transportation measures have been approved, a rate double that of ballot measures generally. Of 23 approved measures, 14 increased sales taxes, 4 provided funding through property taxes and 3 authorized bonds. One measure, a one-eighth cent sales tax increase in Santa Clara Valley, California is still too close to call. In total, yesterday voters approved more than $75 billion in new investment for transportation. The continued success of transportation ballot measures is especially noteworthy this year considering the on-going economic challenges facing the nation.

Included in the 23 approved measures were the three largest measures on this November's ballot:

  • Los Angeles County, California: A 1/2 cent sales tax increase was approved to finance new and existing transportation projects, including highways, local roads and mass transit. The sales tax is expected to generate $40 billion over the next 30 years.

  • Seattle, Washington: Last year's "Roads and Transit" plan was defeated because of its size and cost. This year, voters approved a sales tax increase for Sound Transit's $17.8 billion plan to provide an additional 34 miles of light rail and expand bus service.

  • California, statewide: Voters approved a $9.9 billion bond to support construction of a high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Fifteen measures appeared on ballots in 8 states earlier in the year. Twelve of those measures were approved in favor of public transportation and will raise an estimated $40 million a year for local transit agencies in those regions. For the year, a total of 47 measures were considered with 35 receiving voter approval. 2008 has been among the most successful election cycles ever in terms of overall investment and percentage of approved measures.

A complete list of 2008 ballot initiatives is available at The Center for Transportation Excellence is a non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

U.S. carbon-auto industry still in control

U.S. voters have shaken the foundation of divisive politics that has enabled the carbon-auto industry to control public policy. With the voting public split on various lines it has been easier to keep carbon-auto agents in policy-making positions. These agents protect carbon-auto interests in energy policy, transportion, land development, and wars for control of carbon sources and pipeline routes.

But the election has not changed economic reality. Sprawled out homes continue to waste coal-based energy. Private autos continue to waste oil-based energy. This waste is necessary to the carbon-auto industry to protect their investment in the fixed costs necessary for extraction, processing, transporting, and distributing the energy from coal, oil, and gas.

Until this system is dismantled, it will continue to cripple the economy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In the U.S. - Vote for public transportation

Tuesday, November 4th 2008, U.S. election day. Support public transit. Check out the sites below for your ballot initiatives.

The Center for Transportation Excellence website. [click here]

Also check out the CFTE blog -- Modal Citizen