Tag Archives: Transportation

What the Atlanta Highway Collapse Signals about American Infrastructure

Atlanta is already known for having some of the worst traffic in the world, and the recent collapse along a major interstate will only make congestion worse. On March 30, in the middle of rush hour traffic, a fire began under the I-85 Northbound that quickly erupted into a massive blaze, eventually causing a section of the bridge to collapse.

Less than 24-hours later, with the rubble still smoldering, the US Department of Transportation announced a $10 million award to begin emergency repairs. Despite the quick response from the DOT, it will take millions more dollars before I-85 can resume carrying 400,000 vehicles daily.

With the nation’s Highway Trust Fund rapidly approaching insolvency, the I-85 collapse and the subsequent Atlanta traffic chaos exemplify the overwhelming cost and inefficiency of public infrastructure in America.

Why So Expensive?

In the United States, transit projects are chronically expensive and time-consuming. The country’s outdated method of allowing most highways to fall under federal care, and cumbersome regulatory obstacles, is part of the reason that we continue to lag behind when it comes to international standards. Regulatory burdens also contribute to other countries’ outranking the US when it comes to securing construction permits, making new projects and maintenance even more complicated.

Read more at FEE

Uber Is Not (And Will Never Be) A Monopoly

This article is coauthored with Daniel Pryor.

Writing for The Guardian, Evgeny Morozov repeats a number of well-worn, but misguided, objections to Uber’s continued growth. He predicts that Uber will spell doom for consumers and drivers. It will drive its competitors out of business in order to charge monopoly prices to its customers and squeeze “even more cash or productivity out of Uber drivers.” This is all thanks to the “rich venture capitalists” and tech-giants whose tax-avoidance supposedly enables them to fund Uber’s expansion. With their backing, the company can “afford to burn billions in order to knock out any competitors, be they old-school taxi companies or startups.”

Morozov and other who make the same anti-Uber argument are mistaken on a number of levels. Uber and other ridesharing companies benefit consumers and drivers, both now and in the long run. Uber will continue to face competition and it will not monopolize the for-hire vehicle transport industry, unlike its government-protected taxi predecessors did.

Read the rest on Forbes, here.

Private and Profitable High Speed Rail Coming to Florida

As Americans head off for summer vacation, few plan to go by train. Travelling by train simply does not make sense for most people. But a private transportation company in Florida, Florida East Coast Industries, is investing in a high-speed rail system called All Aboard Florida that would connect Miami and Orlando along the Atlantic coast. Unlike other rail systems, such as Amtrak, this one would cover its costs and make a profit.

Cars and planes are generally better transportation options for Americans than trains for travelling long distances. According to the Census Bureau, over 90 percent of American households have access to a car, van, or pickup truck. While the interstate highway system connects the entire country, the same cannot be said for rail. Most cities in the United States are spread too far apart for rail to be an efficient transportation option.

Read the rest on Economics 21 here.

Washington Finally Looks to Commercialize Air Traffic Control

“Sometimes, reform just happens,” or so an old saying in Washington goes. Recent weeks have proven the dictum for transportation policy watchers like myself. The topic was air traffic control reform, which seems to have a great deal of momentum within Congress.

Late March saw the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hold a hearing with members of Congress from both parties, think tank experts, and a representative of the airline industry. All agreed that it would be wise to reform the nation’s much-maligned air traffic control (ATC) system.

Led by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the hearing sought to explore the range of options to reform the system, ranging from minor tweaks to outright privatization. There was broad support for a middle ground option, that of a government corporation, similar to NavCanada, the nonprofit that runs Canada’s air traffic control systems.

Read the rest at the PanAm Post…