"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 City of Sunnyvale's analysis of a road improvement project's traffic and related impacts based on predicted conditions in 2020 violated the California Environmental Quality Act's requirement to compare a proposed project with existing conditions.
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.
If a new generation of transportation advocates and federal officials has their way, California will soon have miles of brand-new rail lines, strategically sited to enliven cities, increase real estate values, and whisk passengers several whole blocks at speeds ofï¿½ nearly 20 miles per hour.
High-speed rail, it's not. But $40 billion, it's not either.
A couple of weeks ago, Shelley Poticha, the Obama Administration's point person on smart growth, gave a high-profile talk to a big Urban Land Institute crowd in Los Angeles. Her message, plain and simple, was that it's time for what she called "alignment."