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Gas Tax

The Brian Lehrer Show

How To Pay for New Jersey's Roads?

Monday, November 10, 2014

John Wisniewski, New Jersey State Assemblyman (D-19), talks about his proposal for a hike in the gas tax to pay for repairs on the state's roads, rails and bridges. 

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WNYC News

Ever Wonder Why New Jersey Has Such Cheap Gas?

Monday, May 05, 2014

Taxes help keep low prices at the pump, but that could pose problems as the state takes on massive debt to pay for transportation projects.

Comments [13]

Transportation Nation

Pump It Up: Group Calls for Higher NJ Gas Tax

Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Jersey needs to raise its gas tax — or risk running out of funding for future road, bridge and transit improvements, according to a nonprofit policy group.

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Transportation Nation

Proposal to Raise Gas Tax Has Allies Outside Congress

Thursday, December 05, 2013

WAMU

The federal gasoline tax, last raised in 1993 to 18 cents per gallon, would increase five cents per year over three years and have future increases tied to inflation, under legislation proposed Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). With the Highway Trust Fund set to go broke in ten months, the congressman called on leaders of both parties and the Obama administration to raise the tax to replenish the pot of money that pays for rail and road improvements.

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Transportation Nation

Virginia and Maryland Set Up For Gasoline Border War

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WAMU

How far would you go for cheaper gas? Starting this July, Maryland drivers will be heading for the border.

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Transportation Nation

After Objections, Va. Gov Amends Two-Tiered Transpo Funding Plan

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(Michael Pope -- WAMU) Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has offered a compromise on his transportation funding plan in response to a legal objection by the state's attorney general. Virginia needs new and additional revenue for upkeep it's network of highways (about 58,000-miles worth) and mass transit systems. As cars get more fuel efficient, gas tax revenues are falling in many states.

McDonnel has already signed a bill that replaces the state's 17.5 cents-per-gallon retail gasoline tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent levy on diesel fuel. That won't change. The portion of the plan under scrutiny involves sales tax.

Virginia attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had raised concerns about a provision that would have levied higher taxes on some more densely populated areas, including Northern Virginia.

The bill members of the General Assembly sent to the Governor's Mansion had a long list of localities from Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads that would have been subject to a higher sales tax rate. The two-tier tax system was intended to raise money for road building, but Cuccinelli said it may have been unconstitutional.

Now the governor has a fix: ditch the parts about the two urban areas and extend the taxing authority to the entire state. McDonnell is sending an amendment back to the General Assembly that would create regional taxing authority to all 21 of the commonwealth's regional planning districts — two of which are Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

That means the other 19 districts could create taxing authorities for transportation dollars if they wanted to, but they don't have to.

The governor's amendments also cut the controversial $100 fee on hybrid cars to $64 a year, cut taxes paid on hotel stays, and reduced the titling tax on vehicle purchases.

McDonnell's 52 amendments will be considered by the General Assembly in a veto session April 3rd.

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Transportation Nation

"It's Not Perfect" but Virginia House Reaches Compromise on Transpo Funding

Friday, February 22, 2013

Six roller coaster weeks after Governor Bob McDonnell proposed a major transportation funding overhaul, the Virginia House of Delegates has approved a compromise measure to raise $3.5 billion over five years for roads and rails.

The House voted 60 to 40 -- with 25 Democrats providing key "yes" votes -- to send the measure to the state Senate. House minority leader David Toscano said, "it's not perfect but better than not approving any new money for transportation."

"There are things that I don't like about this, but I am willing to support it because I do think that even though it doesn't solve every problem, it solves a lot of problems," he said.

The bill replaces the 17.5 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax you pay at the pump with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline AND a 6 percent tax on diesel. The state sales tax would also increase to 5.3 percent, with that additional revenue earmarked for transportation.

Republican Delegate David Albo of Fairfax says Northern Virginia will eventually receive $350 million a year for its needs. "The three funding sources are a .7 cent sales tax, a .25 percent fee when you sell a home, so on a $500,000 that's $1250, and a three percent hotel [tax]."

The legislation also imposes a $100 registration fee on hybrid and electric vehicles. State Senate approval is needed to approve these proposals.

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Freakonomics Radio

The Downside of More Miles Per Gallon

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The gas tax doesn't work well, and it's only going to get worse. What's next?

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Transportation Nation

Virginia Governor Now Says He's Willing To Compromise On Gas Tax

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Virginia highway (photo by bankbryan via flickr)

(Washington, D.C. -- WAMU) For the first time Gov. McDonnell says he is willing to compromise on his plan to eliminate the state's gas tax, an idea Senate Democrats are unhappy with because it would shift transportation funding to general revenues.

"I think we can talk about that," says McDonnell. "I think this is the best solution to be able to eliminate it."

On Tuesday, the Virginia State Senate will take up Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation funding plan that passed the House of Delegates last week. But what the governor still calls the "best solution" is still dead on arrival in the Senate.

"We will have to compromise. There's no way I'm voting for a total elimination of the gas tax. That's absolutely insane," says Democratic Sen. Chap Petersen, who represents parts of Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. He says Democrats are open to a mix of solutions for paying for transportation, but the gas tax will have to be part of it.

Petersen says his colleagues are now more open to working with the governor since an unrelated but controversial redistricting measure was dumped.

"It can't help but improve things around here," says Peterson. "I think when that redistricting bill happened, it cast a shadow over the session."

If the Senate passes the measure, it will have to be conferenced with the House bill. The legislative session ends in about three weeks.

Follow Martin Di Caro on Twitter @MartinDiCaro

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Transportation Nation

As Virginia Debates Transportation Funding Plan, EVs Put Gas Tax Under Microscope

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Chevy Volt at the 2012 NY International Auto Show (photo by Kate Hinds)

As both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly prepare to work to find common ground after passing different versions of Governor Bob McDonnell’s major transportation funding plan, critics say the governor’s proposal to eliminate the state gas tax and replace it with a higher sales tax would not provide enough revenue to satisfy the state’s transportation needs.

On Monday the House gave preliminary approval to a measure that keeps most of McDonnell’s proposals intact, including eliminating the state’s 17.5 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax.  In the Senate, a key Republican lawmaker is proposing a different solution: a 5.5 percent sales tax on the wholesale price of gasoline tied to inflation.

The bill approved by the House killed the governor’s plan to impose a $100 registration fee on alternative fuel vehicles.  The proposals are scheduled for a final vote today.

The McDonnell administration argues higher fuel efficiencies continue to eat into gas tax revenues so the tax should be replaced, especially as the adoption of hybrid and electric cars is expected to reduce gas consumption.

The latest hybrid and electric models are currently on display at the Washington Auto Show, where proponents say they have become much more practical for everyday use since the first generation models.

Mahi Reddy, the founder of SemaConnect, a manufacturer of electric vehicle charging stations based in Bowie, Maryland, says EVs are indeed becoming more popular, although they only represent less than one percent of all vehicles on the road today.

“Previous generations of electric cars struggled because they used lead-acid batteries. They used nickel-metal hydride batteries,” Reddy said. “The new generation all use lithium batteries, the same lithium technology that is in your cell phone. So that means these batteries are much lighter, they have much more range, and these cars are much better engineered so they are practical cars you can use to commute to the office.”

In his view, the biggest obstacle facing EVs is the lack of charging stations.

A report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments found our region has strong potential for EV growth, but an "underdeveloped charging network" is one of several problems.

But while the governor views improving fuel efficiency as a reason to dump the gas tax altogether, the Council of Governments executive director Chuck Bean takes the opposite position.

“In terms of transportation funding all of the options need to be on the table; gas tax, sales tax. We are really in a crisis of transportation funding and need to be very creative,” Bean said. “I would hesitate to reverse or eliminate any taxes because there is simply a great need for more funding.”

The potential of these vehicles does raise another potential challenge to funding transportation: as the U.S. vehicle fleet is comprised of more EVs and regular vehicle fuel standards improve, the gas tax will lose even more of its purchasing power. That would leave states looking for other revenue streams like higher tolls, more borrowing, higher vehicle fees, or higher sales or property taxes to pay for roads and rails.

The smart growth community says there is no way for Virginia to build its way out of its infamous traffic congestion and taht the solution lies in changing land use policies and urban planning strategies to maximize the potential for transit, walking, and bicycling.

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Transportation Nation

Mica Gets Transportation Subcommittee Posts

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

John Mica (photo by Matthew Peddie)

Representative John Mica (R-FL) will retain some influence in helping set transportation policy, even though Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster has taken over as chair of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Mica was appointed to three subcommittees:  Highways and Transit; Railroads Pipelines and Hazardous Materials; and Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. He was also named chair of the subcommittee on Government Operations under the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Winter Park Republican says he's proud of his legacy as chair of the Transportation Committee.

"My replacement is fortunate in that we passed a highway bill, we passed an FAA bill that was stalled for many years under the Democrats, we passed a Coast Guard reauthorization, we passed pipeline safety legislation, so most of the major bills have been passed," he says. "So [Shuster] has time to reassess and then move forward with a highway bill and find a responsible way to go beyond the next two years. "

But Mica says it will be a challenge to try to fix congested and crumbling highways. "Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to increase gas taxes, and that doesn’t really even solve your problem because people are using even less of the traditional gasoline."

"You have alternative fuels, you have plug in cars, and you have cars going much further on one gallon of gas."

 One source of revenue included in the current transportation bill allows for extra toll lanes to be built on existing interstates like I-4.

Mica says Amtrak -- which he labels a "Soviet style passenger rail system" -- also needs reform, and he favors allowing private operators to run the passenger rail system.

Meanwhile, Mica says he’s excited about the prospect of private passenger rail starting in the state - with All Aboard Florida proposing a Miami to Orlando service beginning in 2015. "It'll be a project that actually will make money and pay taxes with the private sector," he says. "That's the way we need to be going with passenger rail service across the country."

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Transportation Nation

Washington Governor Proposes New Fuel Tax For Education

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

(photo by Larry Darling via flickr)

(Derek Wang - Seattle, KUOW) Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing a new wholesale vehicle fuel tax to help cover the costs of getting kids to school.

Currently, school districts help pay for students' transportation needs, but a recent court ruling says state government is not doing enough to support education. That includes education-related transportation.

Gregoire’s solution? A new tax on refineries to basically pay for school bus costs. Her plan was included in her 2013-2015 budget proposal, which is required under state law. Gregoire said her fuel-tax proposal is directed at oil producers, not consumers.

"Let’s be clear," she says, "the five top oil companies in America, in the first six months of this year, had over $60 billion in profits. So I expect them to do this without passing this on to consumers."

[Also at KUOW: Not Easy To Find Room For Ocean Energy]

Gregoire’s proposal would cost fuel wholesalers about 5 cents a gallon in the first year, 8 cents a gallon by 2015 and 12 cents a gallon in 2017.

State Senator Andy Hill is the likely chairman of the Senate budget committee. He opposes the plan and predicts that the new fuel tax would get passed down to consumers. “That really hurts the middle class as they fill up their tanks," explains Hill. "I think when you ask the average voter, when you ask about transportation, they think about roads, bridges, tunnels, ferries. They don’t think about school buses.”

Fellow Republicans say the state doesn’t need to raise taxes to pay for education.

[Also at KUOW: Another Dock Washes Ashore In Wash., Possibly From Japanese Tsunami]

Gregoire’s plan would need to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature and Governor-elect Jay Inslee. A spokesman for Inslee wouldn’t say whether the incoming governor supports Gregoire’s plan. The spokesman said Inslee will lay out his own budget plan during the upcoming legislative session.

Follow Derek Wang on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

GOP House Works to Undo Reagan Legacy on Transportation

Thursday, February 09, 2012

President Ronald Reagan on a whistle stop train tour, 1984

There was another moment like ours, not so long ago. The economy was in recession, unemployment was high, our transportation infrastructure was in sorry shape, deficit reduction was widely considered a national priority, and the President and Congress were struggling with how to steer the nation out of the swamp it was in.

At this other moment, in 1982, President Ronald Reagan was at the helm. And as the FHWA historian Richard Weingroff writes in his riveting and comprehensive history of the episode, Reagan worked to overcome a Republican filibuster to raise the gas tax by 125%, from four to nine cents a gallon, securing capital funding for both roads and transit. Then, as now, the gas tax hadn’t been increased in twenty years, not even to keep pace with inflation.

Reagan also agreed to devote a penny—20% of the increase—to capital improvements to transit. It was this bill, The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, that created the dedicated Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund—a marriage that’s been a going policy for almost 30 years. At this point, the Highway Trust Fund has included dedicated capital funding for transit longer than it existed without one.

Of course, many contemporary Republican members of Congress identify Reagan as their ideological progenitor. But their current proposals, at least in the House, would reverse the carefully considered and hard-fought precedent their hero set.

In his first State of the Union address, that January, Reagan had initially endorsed a “New Federalist” approach to transportation that would have devolved the federal program and left the work of road-building to the states, with encouragement to privatize all but the most essential work, while relaxing environmental protections in the name of cutting red tape. He also swore against raising taxes.

But a year later, the day before he signed the STAA, Reagan explained why he’d made an exception for the gas tax. “It was a year ago that Secretary Drew Lewis presented the plan and the necessity for rebuilding our roads and our highways and our bridges, because we’re faced with the possibility of tragedy in some instances,” Reagan said. “And the proposal was, as we called it, a ‘user fee’ to differentiate this as not a tax for general revenues. This is a tax to do this particular task.”

Even in a recession, raising the gas tax—and using a portion for transit—wasn’t considered a radical agenda in 1982. AASHTO (which had only recently updated its name to add a ‘T’ for Transportation after the ‘H’ for Highways) strongly supported the tax increase and the creation of the transit account. Another advocate for a dedicated transit account argued that “the time has come for us to recognize that highways and transit are inseparable—the two modes are interdependent and complementary.” What radical put this idea forward? Federal Highway Administrator Ray A. Barnhart, a Reagan appointee from Texas.

Once his mind was made up, Reagan fought hard for the gas tax increase. Senator Jesse Helms and a handful of other Republican Senators tried to filibuster the bill until the end of the lame duck session, but Reagan flew more supportive Senators in air force planes in the days before Christmas to get it passed. (Weingroff cites this battle over the 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act as the genesis of a longstanding rift between Republican conservatives and moderates.)

The great communicator made it simple: the funding mechanism was sensible and fair, and it would be relatively painless compared to watching our infrastructure turn to gravel. In a November radio address, he cleverly pointed out that the tax increase “will cost the average car owner only about $30 a year. That's less than the cost of a couple of shock absorbers.” And anyway, we needed to do it, to keep “this magnificent system” worthy of our great nation. Also, by the way, it would create jobs and allow the economy to grow.

Our current leaders and legislators are certain that it’s impossible to carry this exact same message today. Presently, to avoid asking users to pay what Reagan asked Americans to pay in 1982, the House and Senate are instead twisting themselves into contortions, interpretive dances that clearly reflect other agendas beyond mobility.

The House’s widely derided transportation and energy bill uses revenue from new drilling to pay for roads, and divorces transit, biking, and pedestrian funding from the Highway Trust Fund, setting those alternative transportation modes adrift in the general fund, where its safety cannot be guaranteed. The Senate has crafted a two-year bill maintaining the transit and highway formulas, but drawing needed additional revenue from a convoluted set of funding mechanisms that give the impression of lawmakers rifling through the federal couch cushions. The bills are so fundamentally different that a conference committee compromise seems almost impossible.

For many years now transportation journalists, wonks, and stakeholders have enjoyed saying—and knowing—that their area of concern was uniquely bipartisan. Legislators and executives from both parties, at all levels of government, have been able to debate in relatively good faith, secure in the feeling that the need for good infrastructure, and the justification for government to take part in building it, were agreed-upon principles. (One prominent conservative supporter of federal transit spending? Rick Santorum, who did rather well this week.)

True, some championed rail more than others, and some favored privatization and tolls over tax financing. But it always seemed like the variations were relatively minor, at least compared to the shared dedication to the overall goals of mobility. With the introduction of the House and Senate transportation bills, that feeling has gone away, and it’s hard to know how permanent the unravelling will be. Reagan's gas tax hike happened in a lame duck session after a mid-term election. Nothing so bipartisan or moderate is likely to be openly discussed in the buildup to a Presidential showdown. Maybe Congress should consider doing what it's done best these last few years: punt.

 

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Transpo Bill a "Legislative Train Wreck," California Restores School Bus Funds, NJ Pols Want To Rein In Port Authority

Friday, February 03, 2012

Top stories on TN: New York's MTA announced the winners of its app contest. The MTA and the transit workers union formally resumed contract talks -- but not without some controversy. Efforts to preserve the surface transportation bill's  dedicated bike/pedestrian funding failed yesterday. U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood hates the bill. Senator Harry Reid says next week will be a big one for transportation. And: an expert in infrastructure financing has been tapped to head the California High Speed Rail Authority.

(photo by Patricia Towne via flickr)

Yesterday's markup of the five year, $260 billion surface transportation bill lasted 18 hours. Congresswoman Corrine Brown: "This has been the worst day of my life...This is the worst bill I have ever seen." (Politico)'

And: the bill's truck weight increase was killed. (The Hill)

Los Angeles Times on transpo bill: It's a "legislative train wreck."

And: the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled today to debate and vote on ending the 30-year policy of devoting 2.86 cents of the 18.4- cent gasoline tax paid by U.S. motorists to public transportation. "The money would instead go toward keeping a U.S. account for road and bridge construction solvent." (Bloomberg)

Meanwhile, after four years of wrangling and one shutdown, the FAA will soon get a bill of its own (NPR). Tweet from  the AP's Joan Lowy: "What will aviation lobbyists do now?"

In other news...when will New York State release the names of the bidders for the Tappan Zee Bridge project? (Wall Street Journal)

NJ lawmakers -- still fuming over last year's toll hike -- released four bills from committee intended to rein in and open up the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Star-Ledger)

California's legislature restored $248 million for school bus transportation that was particularly crucial for small and rural school districts. (Los Angeles Times)

Madison's buses set a ridership record in 2011. (Wisconsin State Journal)

Is there a NYC ticket blitz? (NY Times)

Carjackings in Newark rose for the third straight year in 2011. (Star-Ledger)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: California Bullet Train Cost Estimate Doubles, Atlanta Tries Downtown Transit Hub Again, and Honda Cuts Production

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Why NYC taxi medallions are worth more than ever. (Link)

The federal government says so-called "Chinatown buses" have more accidents. (Link)

Safety concerns prevent Pittsburgh bicyclists from becoming regular commuters. (Link)

A rendering of a California bullet train (image courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority)

The cost of California's high-speed rail project has jumped to $98.5 billion, according to a business plan being released today. (Los Angeles Times)

The president's infrastructure bank proposal comes up for a vote in the Senate this week. (The Hill)

Atlanta's trying one more time to build a transit hub downtown. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Ray LaHood says Republicans prioritize thwarting the president. “Republicans made a decision right after the election—don’t  give Obama any victories. The heck with putting people to work, because we can score points.” (The Daily Beast)

Parts shortages from three months of catastrophic flooding in Thailand have forced Honda to cut U.S. and Canadian factory production by 50 percent for the second time this year. (NPR)

Airlines are trying to cut boarding time on planes. (New York Times)

Transit wish list: the Triboro RX line, which would connect Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx -- without coming into Manhattan. (Second Avenue Sagas)

An upstate county official slams the NY State Department of Transportation for not being prepared for this weekend's snowstorm. (AP via Wall Street Journal)

Transportation groups are pushing for a gas tax increase, but Congress and the White House aren't biting. (Politico)

Does London's bike-promoting mayor put cars first? The Guardian says yes.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Mayor Backing #7 Subway to Secaucus Plan, BP Profits Triple, BRT to Michigan?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Mitt Romney is making President Obama's support for two high-end green car companies a campaign issue. (Link)

The first Mexican truck has crossed the US border. (Link)

Formula 1 racing is coming to NJ. (Link)

Waiting for a bus on Staten Island (photo by johnpignata via Flickr)

But: is NY making its own "ARC mistake" by killing transit on the bridge? (Second Avenue Sagas)

And: the lack of transit drew criticism at a Tappan Zee public comment session. (Journal News)

Real-time bus arrival information will come to Staten Island by the end of the year. (Staten Island Advance)

A Maryland panel recommended a gas tax hike, fare increases and an end to transit raids to fund state transportation projects. (Baltimore Sun)

The NY Post reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be announcing plans to move forward on extending the No. 7 subway to New Jersey.

The Port Authority will raise the Bayonne Bridge by 2016. (NorthJersey.com)

Michigan's governor wants to jump start a regional transit system in Detroit with bus rapid transit. (Detroit Free Press)

NYC taxi update: the city will crackdown on the $350 no-honking-except-in-an-emergency rule (WNYC).  And the Taxi and Limousine Commission is surveying passengers about their cab rides (NY Daily News).

Boeing's Dreamliner made its maiden voyage after a three-year delay. (Guardian)

18 months after the massive oil spill in the Gulf, BP stages a comeback: company profits have tripled. (Marketplace)

Reporters complain about the Acela, continue to ride it. (Politico)

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Transportation Nation

Mica: No More FAA Shutdowns

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 18th Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress Kics off this week in Orlando

(Orlando- WMFE) Central Florida Congressman John Mica wants to pass a four-year aviation re-authorization bill by January.  But to come to an agreement,  he doesn't want another FAA shutdown.

"What's different is we've been there and done it,"  the Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee told a crowd gathered at the 18th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems being held in Orlando this week.

"No one liked the partial shutdown, it caused a great disruption but it did get me a solution.  We will have in place long term transportation policy definitely for aviation, and I'm going to do my best for surface and highway transportation."

More Money Please

Mica also said he wants to fund transportation and infrastructure projects beyond their current level but didn't provide specifics, "We've got to find a whole new way for funding transportation."  One idea the Congressman adamantly opposed was any consideration of increasing the Federal gas tax, "completely off the table is any raise in the gas tax.  We are looking at funding possibly, the speaker (John Boehner) has said  some other sources, maybe at the wellhead, maybe where we could get a more reliable and steady transportation funding mechanism. Right now the system is broken.  You drive further and you pay less."

Technology Solutions

Some ideas that could save money for drivers and governments are on display at the 18th ITS World Congress.  One of them is the newly commissioned Central Florida National Test Bed for connected vehicles.  The test bed is composed of a 25 mile loop around part of Interstate 4 loaded with short range radio and GPS transmitters.  Those transponders communicate with so called "connected vehicles" which share safety information in real-time.  The idea is supposed to allow drivers to receive safety warnings if there is road hazard or car crash ahead.  Proponents of the technology, including the US Department of Transportation estimate implementing a "connected vehicle system" could reduce traffic congestion and emissions, and lower driving costs.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NYC's MetroCard Error Rate Is 20%, and Federal Way's Mayor Asks: Where is the Transportation Equity?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Boston cabbies, resistant to accepting credit cards because of a processing fee, might be placated by taxi payment smartphone apps. (WBUR)

The New York Daily News reports that the odds of having to swipe a MetroCard more than once to get through the turnstile are one in five.

DC's city budget might not be that bad for transit. (Greater Greater Washington)

NYC police are writing 48% more bike tickets this year than they did last year. (NY Post)

Nick Rahall (a Democrat on the House Transportation Committee) wants to see an increase in the gas tax. (The Hill)

The Washington State city of Federal Way is considering legal action after the transit agency reneged on a promise to build light rail there. From Federal Way's Mayor: "When you're the largest city in King County not to have rail at the end of the day, and yet your city was asked in the Growth Management Act to take the most residential growth of King County and fewer jobs, people are starting to say 'where is the equity?" (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Richmond began removing asphalt from a parking lot that had paved over a burial ground for slaves and free blacks. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Want to ride in a bike lane, but there isn't one available? Create one via projection. (Video below via FastCompany.) Note: the embedding of this video in no way means that TN endorses riding your bike on sidewalks or on subway staircases.

The backlash to the Brookings' study on the best and worst places for transit has begun. (Atlantic)

Lebanon needs an efficient transit system, not subsidies for cabbies and truck drivers, argues one man. (The Daily Star)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- in Florida, it's 'walk at your own risk.' (link)

-- just how dangerous is walking in your neighborhood? (link)

-- In honor of Bob Dylan's 70th birthday, a list of his 10 best infrastructure songs (link)

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Transportation Nation

Should EV Owners Pay a Gas Tax Anyway?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Washington State is looking to levy a special tax on eco-conscious car owners. Road maintenance is typically funded by a gas tax, both federal and local. So the prospect of a growing number of electric cars that wouldn't use gas at all is putting a little worry in the Washington state legislature.

The proposed tax would be $100 a year per electric car. According to The Seattle Times, Mary Margaret Haugen, the lead sponsor of the plan, said, "Electric cars will be driving on the highways right along with all the other cars. One of our biggest issues is preservation and maintenance of our existing highways. We believe they should be paying their fair share."

At an average of $12,000 miles per year and average fuel efficiency, The Times calculates that the average gas-consuming driver pays about $200 a year in gas tax.

Is this just fairness in public finance? Or disincentive for purchasing cleaner cars?

(Via Inhabitat.)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Cuomo Talks MTA Payroll Tax, and Pregnancy May Have Its (Parking) Privileges

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Miami, a parking garage so beautiful, people get married there.  What can THIS mean for the future of driving?   And of public space? (NY Times)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has unkind words for the MTA payroll tax. "It is a very onerous tax. Not just in this area." Meanwhile: "MTA CEO Jay Walder revealed that he'd yet to talk to the new governor about transit issues -- saying he'd been speaking with the governor's aides, instead." (New York Post)

But: Cuomo is keeping both Walder and Port Authority head Chris Ward on. (Crain's NY)

A NYC Councilman has proposed free parking for pregnant women. (NY Daily News)

Meantime, bobcats and lynx now have a new design for a crossing over I-70 in the Rockies (Denver Post)

The Twin Cities public transit system is "fraught with distrust" as feuding bureaucracies fail to set priorities in the best interests of the public. "People are interested in how decisions get made," said one suburban legislator. "I've asked, and I get a different answer from nearly everyone I ask."(Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

The Washington Post takes a look at the methodology behind the Texas Transportation Institute's recent report.

A summit to save debt-ridden Caltrain yielded ideas ranging from better coffee at stations, free Wi-Fi and business-class seating to toll lanes on Highway 101, tax increases and consolidating the Bay Area's multitude of transit agencies. (San Francisco Chronicle)

First Chicago, then DC...now Boston is considering selling naming rights to everything from the lines and stations of its subway, bus and commuter systems to its Web site, smart phone apps and Charlie Cards. “We want to do it tastefully and not over-commercialize the MBTA,” said general manager Richard Davey. “I would probably be reluctant to rename Park Street the Anheuser-Busch Park Street Station. But, at the same time ... we’re very open to hearing proposals.” (Boston Heral

Some of the Transportation Nation team is in DC this week at the Transportation Research Board conference. If you see people with microphones, emanating that public radio aura, say hello!

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following: Not all transportation projects create jobs equally. The Mayor of Tehran can't attend the ITDP awards. And: New York City taxi rides, visualized  in full color.

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