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10922Billions for WCN [was Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Exodus - was: Latest from Jim Kunstler]

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  • Jason Meggs
    Jun 5, 2008
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      > As states look for ways to pay for highway maintenance, I think there
      > will be pressure to allow more interstates that are not currently toll
      > roads to become toll roads. No one really wants to do it, but we've
      > dug a hole and have few options. I don't think the US is ready to
      > abandon too many roadways.

      Hm. At TCFC IV in Berlin, a presentation was made about toll roads and
      the importance of capturing their revenues for alternatives. There was
      vocal opposition to the idea that attendees spend any time doing anything
      that might further the goal of roads; no deals with the devil. Joel
      Crawford evidently concurs in a recent email regarding this thread.

      At this time, congestion pricing is a topic on the rise, and toll roads
      are essentially a subset. I'd be surprised if anyone legitimately on this
      list is opposed to congestion pricing zones (and would love to know why).
      CarBusters has its section on watching car culture, which I take as a
      strategic necessity. I don't want to discuss toll roads either, although
      congestion pricing is of great interest. The issue of where the revenues
      go remains at large, and is important; it can further car culture, or it
      can quicken a transition away from it. Political pressure is the order of
      the day, as usual. In the U.S., political opposition and perhaps some
      fumbling in New York and San Francisco are the status reports on
      congestion pricing efforts here. The Federal Government has reportedly
      recently assigned $1 Billion USD to the study and implemention of
      congestion pricing strategies, so there is some hope of success.

      Does it matter? (And do we care about roads at all?) Personally, if oil
      supplies drop off at the expected rate (8% per annum is not at all
      unlikely, resulting in half the available oil in under 8 years), there
      will be a rather large dampening on road building, toll collection, and
      driving in general. The current rate of roadway disappearance in the U.S.
      will accelerate. The focus will shift to providing basic services, and
      ideally, to an emerging sustainable economy with even higher quality of
      life for all (the likely reality may be more bleak). The wealthy who may
      yet enjoy that limitless access to fuel feeling will opt for large
      vehicles which happily trounce the worst of roads.

      More importantly...

      Speaking of $1 Billion: At the World Ecocity Summit in San Francisco, one
      of our members involved in funding in Asia discussed the novel idea, "What
      if a large funder gave $1B for GHG reductions to the WCN overnight?"

      After some initial wretching at the implausibility of the idea, she saw a
      light and said, "It might actually be the best possible use of a billion
      dollars -- if the funds were distributed to all the member groups" and let
      them run with it.

      Boggling the mind, one ponders the proper sequence of events to secure and
      distribute such a large fund without compomising that vision. The recent
      communication from Christi Brooks, until recently the fund raiser in
      Prague, forwarded by Joel Crawford on May 30, further informs that boggled
      mind.

      Yours in bureacracy-speak,

      Jason in Berkeley



      On Thu, 5 Jun 2008, chbuckeye wrote:

      > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jet Graphics"
      > <Jetgraphics@...> wrote:
      >>
      >> --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "chbuckeye" <coleridge3150@>
      >> wrote:
      >>>
      >>> I suspect that privatization will be
      >>> the order of the day.
      >>
      >> JG: Though I agree that partisan politics have no place in design and
      >> maintenance of transportation, I would not be happy with any private
      >> monopoly on roads or other means of transportation.
      >>
      >> Perhaps a compromise would be in order.
      >>
      >> A public corporation / authority, or a cooperative ownership of
      >> transportation assets may be more palatable.
      >
      > I don't favor privatization either. But the existing car-based
      > transportation system in the US is unsustainable. I think toll roads
      > operated and maintained by private toll-road operators with long-term
      > leases from the government is the current trend.
      >
      > As I understand it, this is how that currently works. The lessee/toll
      > road operator has to maintain the roadway to a certain standard set by
      > the government, and a government oversight committee usually has some
      > say in toll rates, but the lessee gets a monopoly on the route and can
      > keep the profits. Sort of like a utility, only the government
      > ultimately owns the land and can revoke the lease if the private
      > company isn't following all the terms of the lease. The leases are
      > generally 25 years or more.
      >
      > As states look for ways to pay for highway maintenance, I think there
      > will be pressure to allow more interstates that are not currently toll
      > roads to become toll roads. No one really wants to do it, but we've
      > dug a hole and have few options. I don't think the US is ready to
      > abandon too many roadways.
      >
      >
      >
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