Category: Transportation

By Alex Roman Alternative project delivery, including public-private partnerships (PPPs); design-build; and design-build-operate-maintain, are viewed as attractive options for transit agencies, as they transfer risk and accelerate the project process.  However, while these forms of project delivery continue to take hold in Europe, Asia and Africa, there have been a limited amount of projects in the U.S. that have utilized these innovative solutions. METRO Magazine spoke to representatives from several companies to discuss why forms of alternative project delivery have been slow to take off in the U.S., as well as the possible benefits and what transit agencies should look for before selecting a partner.      How does alternative project delivery benefit a public transportation agency? Mel Placilla (Director, professional services, View Article
By Baruch Feigenbaum Discussions are resuming in the Southeast about a high-speed rail corridor. Unfortunately, the  evidence suggests that high-speed rail’s limited success in Europe and Asia is not transferrable to the United States. From a financial standpoint, things don’t look good. The majority of high-speed rail lines require large government subsidies from both general taxpayers and drivers. Even with generous subsidies, traveling by high-speed rail is still more expensive than flying for 12 of the 23 most popular high-speed rail routes in the world. The evidence suggests that high-speed rail can only be competitive on routes that are 200-to 500 miles in length. High-speed rail is also very expensive to build. Most new routes cost at least $10 million… View Article
By Kenneth Orski  President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request includes $77 billion for the Department of Transportation and an additional $50 billion “for immediate transportation investments.” His next transportation bill calls for a 25 percent increase in funding over current levels and assumes a transfer of $214 billion to the Highway Trust Fund over six years, “to maintain trust fund solvency and pay for increased outlays.” To offset this spending, the Administration proposes using the “savings” or “peace dividend” from winding down the war in Afghanistan. House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) wasn’t impressed. “The President’s budget,” he said, “repeats his call to increase spending without identifying a viable means to pay for it. … You can’t just… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Pointing fingers, moving the target and playing the blame game: That’s about all the action on transportation seen at the State Capitol this past session, despite the rancorous discussion immediately after the regional transportation sales tax vote that failed in nine of 12 regions across the state. The lack of movement was as unsurprising as congestion in metro Atlanta on a weekday afternoon. Legislators seemed in a hurry to leave, dragging their feet on acting on taxes, transportation or tort reform, all of which seriously need an overhaul. That was understandable, too. They faced the unpopular options of prioritizing a tight state budget or raising taxes. Fortunately, beyond the Gold Dome, transportation policy has been chugging… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Not many people announce they’re going on a diet; it may fail and they’re left embarrassed. Around the country and in Georgia, planners are quietly going on “road diets” and hoping you’ll be so busy admiring the pretty streetscapes that you won’t notice the gradual shrinking of space for vehicular traffic until it’s too late. This social engineering move is euphemistically called “rightsizing streets.” It has little to do with transportation, and includes strategies such as “converting vehicle lanes to other uses, narrowing vehicle lanes, adding bike lanes, improving pedestrian infrastructure, changing parking configuration and adding roundabouts and medians,” according to the Project for Public Spaces, which earlier this year released a report called the “… View Article

Improving Economies, Growing Congestion

By Baruch Feigenbaum The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) released its 2012 Urban Mobility Report this month. The major finding is that after remaining static since 2005, congestion is growing, thanks to an improving economy. While the report is best known for analyzing traffic congestion, it also details the role of transit in reducing congestion. Further, it explains how congestion worsens air quality. TTI has been producing this report annually since 1982, during which time congestion has tripled in many U.S. metro areas. TTI made several changes this year, but the most noteworthy is its new metric: the Planning Time Index (PTI). This is the “buffer” time needed to reach a location on time in 19 out of 20 instances. (The… View Article

Beleaguered DOT’s To-Do List is Doable

(Guest column published January 29 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) By Benita Dodd Georgia’s Department of Transportation has been under fire in recent years, much of it deserved amid unwise policy decisions and lackadaisical financial management.  Under new management, with greater transparency and financial accountability, the agency is doing better.  But still more can be done for policy to progress in Georgia’s current economic climate. The department’s job is complicated by the lack of available funding.  Last year, voters in all but three of 12 regions rejected a proposed regional penny sales tax that would have funded projects in each region.  The shortfall is more serious when considering declining fuel tax revenues; congressional earmarks that divert federal funds from state priorities;… View Article

Funding Dearth Opens Opportunity Under the Gold Dome

By Kelly McCutchen Not everything is off limits to Georgia’s government in an economic recession. On the contrary, the challenge forces Georgia to explore opportunities for fundamental reforms that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the long run. Below are ideas that, if implemented, could help position the state ideally for the future. First, the state can enhance bipartisan criminal justice reforms enacted in 2012 by reforming the juvenile justice system and by protecting innocent owners and their property rights through a reform of civil asset forfeiture law. Then, there’s an ideal opportunity to improve access to justice for victims of medical negligence with patient-centered tort reform. The medical malpractice system works well for trial lawyers and insurance companies but barely… View Article
GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION EVENT INVITATION January 7, 2013 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Transportation Expert Robert Poole Keynotes Event: ‘Moving Georgia Ahead: What’s Coming Down the Pike’ THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT Atlanta – Register now to attend the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s first Leadership Breakfast of 2013 at 8 a.m. on Thursday, January 24. Just one week after attending the national Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting, transportation analyst Robert W. Poole will keynote “Moving Georgia Ahead: What’s Coming Down the Pike,” at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Poole, co-founder of the Reason Foundation, will provide an update on the outlook for transportation policy, funding and policy amid fiscal constraints and partisan politics, and describe Georgia’s options… View Article

Teamwork Will Move Georgia Transit Forward

By John Keys With the defeat of the regional transportation sales tax (TSPLOST) this summer, it appeared that Georgia was stuck in neutral and mired in the mud. Addressing the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum in September, however, Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, outlined how information technology-based transportation solutions and competitive bidding options in the world of transit can get Georgia moving again. McCutchen is right on target. Georgians, no matter where they live, need more transportation choices for residents, visitors and freight. The ninth-largest state in the nation continues to grow, as do its numbers of seniors and persons with disabilities. Also affected by a lack of transportation choices are those who need to… View Article

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