Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

Posts in "Commuting"

September 11, 2014

Transportation Policy Guru Poole Voices Skepticism About Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technology

Robert Poole, co-founder of the Reason Foundation, has worked on transportation policy for more than three decades and is an influential voice on tolling, congestion pricing and infrastructure finance.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology may some day allow cars to communicate with each other and with traffic infrastructure to avoid collisions.

Poole’s skepticism about this technology, which he explains in his monthly newsletter published this week, is worth reading.

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September 8, 2014

The Case Against Tolling Interstate Lanes

4701597351 445x297 The Case Against Tolling Interstate Lanes

Traffic moves along Interstate 80 in California (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates is a coalition of state trucking associations and companies including FedEx and UPS that is trying to stop tolls from being imposed on currently toll-free parts of the interstate highway system.

Alliance spokesman Julian Walker gave us the group’s views.

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With Transportation Investment Summit Set to Meet, Here’s the Case for Tolling

152366339 445x303 With Transportation Investment Summit Set to Meet, Here’s the Case for Tolling

Toll lane cameras at the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx convene an infrastructure investment summit with private-sector investors.

One topic of discussion is likely to be the use of tolls to help pay for bond issues and as part of private equity deals to build bridges, highways, and tunnels.

Here’s a case for tolling, from our interview with Patrick D. Jones, executive director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. Later today, we’ll run an opposing view. Full story

August 21, 2014

As North Carolina Prepares for New Tolls, Opponent Decries ‘Caste System’

Tolling may soon become a routine method of paying for new highway construction even in traditional non-toll states, and drivers may just have to get used to it.

But some drivers are waging a battle to prevent tolling on a congested 26-mile stretch of Interstate 77 in North Carolina.

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July 30, 2014

In Fight for Urban Street and Curbside Space, Can Pricing Create Peace?

175796612 445x292 In Fight for Urban Street and Curbside Space, Can Pricing Create Peace?

People order food from the BBQ Bus food truck during lunch at Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., in August 2013. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

A thriving city with new restaurants and other businesses has a healthy surge of revenue, but there’s one constraint the transportation manager or mayor can do little about: space on the roads and at curbsides.

“Our biggest challenge would certainly be use of right of way or space,” said Larry Marcus, the Transportation and Engineering Bureau Chief for Arlington County, Va., at a transportation data panel this week sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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July 28, 2014

RideScout CEO Sees a ‘Right-Pricing’ Transportation Revolution

At Monday’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation panel discussion on using data to expedite transportation, RideScout co-founder and CEO Joseph Kopser played the role of visionary and crusader.

His company has an app allowing travelers in more than 60 cities in the United States and Canada to figure out the quickest way of getting from one point to another, whether’s it’s a taxi, a bus, or their own car.

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July 25, 2014

Debut Saturday for Historic Expansion of Washington’s Metro Rail System

Saturday is a historic day for mass transit in the United States: it marks the opening of a $3 billion, 11.7 mile-stretch of rail called the Silver Line which will serve the nation’s capital and its suburbs, the first new stations in the 106-mile Metro system since 2004.

Full story

By Tom Curry Posted at 12:32 p.m.
Airports, Commuting, Transit

July 21, 2014

Foxx Touts Bicycle Commuting and Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

In a wide-ranging appearance Monday at the National Press Club, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he’d figured out how to bicycle to his office, and he touted vehicle-to-vehicle communications for cars as a technology that will reduce accidents in the future.

But Foxx avoided substantive comment on two of the most pressing current issues: the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine last week, and a pending rule from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on rail shipment of volatile Bakken crude from North Dakota.

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July 18, 2014

Cuomo Brokers Deal Averting New York Suburban Commuter Rail Strike

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has averted a potentially crippling Long Island Rail Road commuter rail strike in New York City’s suburbs.

In a news conference with labor union leaders and Tom Prendergast, head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Cuomo announced the accord which still must be ratified by the unions. The agreement headed off a strike that would have begun as early as Sunday.

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July 15, 2014

Big Money Riding on Question of Whether Decline in Vehicle Use Will Continue

452184694 web 445x289 Big Money Riding on Question of Whether Decline in Vehicle Use Will Continue

President Barack Obama drives a simulator of a high-tech car as he tours the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., today.

Vehicle miles traveled per licensed driver peaked in the United States in 2007.

Since then, there has been a 0.5 percent annual decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per licensed driver, according to Trisha Hutchins of the Energy Information Administration.

A lot is riding on the question of whether the trend will continue in the decades ahead.

Full story

July 10, 2014

Some Light at End of Highway Funding Tunnel as Committees OK Similar Revenue Bills

The tax-writing committees in both the House and the Senate on Thursday approved bills to raise revenue to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.

The committees’ votes put Congress closer to preventing a slowdown in federal money to states, which are now in the middle of road-building season.

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From Utah, A Case of ‘Do It Yourself’ Infrastructure

For Utah State Sen. Curt Bramble, a Republican, paying for new highways with increased taxes should be a straightforward matter of Congress making a decision and then explaining it to voters.

Bramble argued Thursday that if a lawmakers show some courage and make a decision to raise revenue, the voters will come around.

The Utah Republican was one of several members of the National Conference of State Legislatures at the Capitol Thursday to lobby their state’s congressional delegations on a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund.

Full story

July 9, 2014

Columnist’s Screed Against ‘Biker Terrorists Out to Rule the Road’ Sparks Angry Rebuttals

If generating controversy is the measure of a pundit, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy scored a smashing success this week with his outburst against bicyclists.

Milloy delivered an indictment of alleged offenses committed by what he called “biker terrorists out to rule the road” in the nation’s capital – including riding their bikes on sidewalks, going the wrong way in a bike lane, and dawdling “at a snail’s pace, holding up traffic while motorists wait for a chance to pass.”

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A 50th Anniversary Look Back at ‘The Curses of Congestion in Commuting’

Johnson 20th 08 16 99 438x335 A 50th Anniversary Look Back at The Curses of Congestion in Commuting

Although Johnson traveled in style as president, ordinary transit systems were on his mind. (Roll Call File Photo)

If you had a brutal commute this morning– a delayed subway, an overcrowded bus, or gridlocked highway traffic – ponder this statement made on this date 50 years ago: “All of us recognize that the curses of congestion in commuting cannot be wiped away with the single stroke of a pen.”

Those were the words of President Lyndon Johnson as he signed into law on July 9, 1964 the Urban Mass Transportation Act, which for the first time put the federal government in the business of paying for some of the costs of building and maintaining American cities’ train, bus, and subway systems.

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Pressure Grows on Congress to Intervene in N.Y. Commuter Rail Standoff

Another day closer to a potential commuter rail strike that could make life misery for workers who ride into New York City from the Long Island suburbs, Metropolitan Transportation Authority head Thomas Prendergast asked congressional leaders whether they will intervene in the dispute between the MTA and labor unions representing 5,400 rail workers.

Prendergast said a LIRR strike, which could begin as early as July 20, would “paralyze the nation’s largest regional economy.”

Full story

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