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  • J.H. Crawford
    Hi All, In the Washington Post, originally: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/30/9315/ Published on Friday, May 30, 2008 by The Washington Post Wake
    Message 1 of 17 , May 30 8:35 PM
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      Hi All,

      In the Washington Post, originally:


      http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/05/30/9315/

      Published on Friday, May 30, 2008 by The Washington Post
      Wake Up, America. We’re Driving Toward Disaster

      by James Howard Kunstler

      Everywhere I go these days, talking about the global energy predicament on the college lecture circuit or at environmental conferences, I hear an increasingly shrill cry for “solutions.” This is just another symptom of the delusional thinking that now grips the nation, especially among the educated and well-intentioned.

      I say this because I detect in this strident plea the desperate wish to keep our “Happy Motoring” utopia running by means other than oil and its byproducts. But the truth is that no combination of solar, wind and nuclear power, ethanol, biodiesel, tar sands and used French-fry oil will allow us to power Wal-Mart, Disney World and the interstate highway system ­ or even a fraction of these things ­ in the future. We have to make other arrangements.

      The public, and especially the mainstream media, misunderstands the “peak oil” story. It’s not about running out of oil. It’s about the instabilities that will shake the complex systems of daily life as soon as the global demand for oil exceeds the global supply. These systems can be listed concisely:

      The way we produce food

      The way we conduct commerce and trade

      The way we travel

      The way we occupy the land

      The way we acquire and spend capital

      And there are others: governance, health care, education and more.

      As the world passes the all-time oil production high and watches as the price of a barrel of oil busts another record, as it did last week, these systems will run into trouble. Instability in one sector will bleed into another. Shocks to the oil markets will hurt trucking, which will slow commerce and food distribution, manufacturing and the tourist industry in a chain of cascading effects. Problems in finance will squeeze any enterprise that requires capital, including oil exploration and production, as well as government spending. These systems are all interrelated. They all face a crisis. What’s more, the stress induced by the failure of these systems will only increase the wishful thinking across our nation.

      And that’s the worst part of our quandary: the American public’s narrow focus on keeping all our cars running at any cost. Even the environmental community is hung up on this. The Rocky Mountain Institute has been pushing for the development of a “Hypercar” for years ­ inadvertently promoting the idea that we really don’t need to change.

      Years ago, U.S. negotiators at a U.N. environmental conference told their interlocutors that the American lifestyle is “not up for negotiation.” This stance is, unfortunately, related to two pernicious beliefs that have become common in the United States in recent decades. The first is the idea that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. (Oprah Winfrey advanced this notion last year with her promotion of a pop book called “The Secret,” which said, in effect, that if you wish hard enough for something, it will come to you.) One of the basic differences between a child and an adult is the ability to know the difference between wishing for things and actually making them happen through earnest effort.

      The companion belief to “wishing upon a star” is the idea that one can get something for nothing. This derives from America’s new favorite religion: not evangelical Christianity but the worship of unearned riches. (The holy shrine to this tragic belief is Las Vegas.) When you combine these two beliefs, the result is the notion that when you wish upon a star, you’ll get something for nothing. This is what underlies our current fantasy, as well as our inability to respond intelligently to the energy crisis.

      These beliefs also explain why the presidential campaign is devoid of meaningful discussion about our energy predicament and its implications. The idea that we can become “energy independent” and maintain our current lifestyle is absurd. So is the gas-tax holiday. (Which politician wants to tell voters on Labor Day that the holiday is over?) The pie-in-the-sky plan to turn grain into fuel came to grief, too, when we saw its disruptive effect on global grain prices and the food shortages around the world, even in the United States. In recent weeks, the rice and cooking-oil shelves in my upstate New York supermarket have been stripped clean.

      So what are intelligent responses to our predicament? First, we’ll have to dramatically reorganize the everyday activities of American life. We’ll have to grow our food closer to home, in a manner that will require more human attention. In fact, agriculture needs to return to the center of economic life. We’ll have to restore local economic networks ­ the very networks that the big-box stores systematically destroyed ­ made of fine-grained layers of wholesalers, middlemen and retailers.

      We’ll also have to occupy the landscape differently, in traditional towns, villages and small cities. Our giant metroplexes are not going to make it, and the successful places will be ones that encourage local farming.

      Fixing the U.S. passenger railroad system is probably the one project we could undertake right away that would have the greatest impact on the country’s oil consumption. The fact that we’re not talking about it ­ especially in the presidential campaign ­ shows how confused we are. The airline industry is disintegrating under the enormous pressure of fuel costs. Airlines cannot fire any more employees and have already offloaded their pension obligations and outsourced their repairs. At least five small airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past two months. If we don’t get the passenger trains running again, Americans will be going nowhere five years from now.

      We don’t have time to be crybabies about this. The talk on the presidential campaign trail about “hope” has its purpose. We cannot afford to remain befuddled and demoralized. But we must understand that hope is not something applied externally. Real hope resides within us. We generate it ­ by proving that we are competent, earnest individuals who can discern between wishing and doing, who don’t figure on getting something for nothing and who can be honest about the way the universe really works.

      James Howard Kunstler is the author, most recently, of “World Made by Hand,” a novel about America’s post-oil future.

      © 2008 The Washington Post Company



      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Jet Graphics
      ... narrow focus on keeping all our cars running at any cost. Even the environmental community is hung up on this. The Rocky Mountain Institute has been
      Message 2 of 17 , May 31 10:47 AM
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        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com,
        > And that's the worst part of our quandary: the American public's
        narrow focus on keeping all our cars running at any cost. Even the
        environmental community is hung up on this. The Rocky Mountain
        Institute has been pushing for the development of a "Hypercar" for
        years ­ inadvertently promoting the idea that we really don't need to
        change.
        >
        > Years ago, U.S. negotiators at a U.N. environmental conference told
        their interlocutors that the American lifestyle is "not up for
        negotiation."

        [JG] Tis true you cannot negotiate catastrophic change. Unfortunately,
        the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
        either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).

        Rail based transit systems require a high population density
        destination model, so that point to point travel is efficient.

        To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
        destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to
        run track between them and nearby urban enclaves.
      • Erik Sandblom
        ... 40% of urban travel in the USA is shorter than 2 miles, which is 3,2km and takes 10-15 minutes by bicycle. So people can ride their bikes to the train
        Message 3 of 17 , May 31 11:42 AM
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          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jet
          Graphics" <Jetgraphics@...> wrote:
          >
          > Unfortunately,
          > the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
          > either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).
          >
          > Rail based transit systems require a high population density
          > destination model, so that point to point travel is efficient.
          >
          > To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
          > destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to
          > run track between them and nearby urban enclaves.


          40% of urban travel in the USA is shorter than 2 miles, which is
          3,2km and takes 10-15 minutes by bicycle. So people can ride their
          bikes to the train station. In Copenhagen you're welcome to take your
          bike on the subway and commuter trains.

          http://www.1world2wheels.org/get-involved
          http://www.2milechallenge.com/
          http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/03/bike-meets-train-falls-in-
          love.html

          Erik Sandblom
        • Jet Graphics
          ... JG: Depends on the city. Some are compact. Some are not. ... Bikes are great - until the weather hits -20 F. I biked to work (upstate NY) until my fingers
          Message 4 of 17 , May 31 2:06 PM
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            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Sandblom"
            <eriksandblom@...> wrote:
            >
            > 40% of urban travel in the USA is shorter than 2 miles,

            JG: Depends on the city. Some are compact. Some are not.

            > which is
            > 3,2km and takes 10-15 minutes by bicycle. So people can ride their
            > bikes to the train station.

            Bikes are great - until the weather hits -20 F.
            I biked to work (upstate NY) until my fingers froze to the handlebar.
            That's when I changed to automobile mode.
            ;-)
          • Christopher Miller
            I ve often thought it would likely be feasible for many sufficiently dense suburbs to do something like this, namely to run light rail along major routes with
            Message 5 of 17 , May 31 2:17 PM
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              I've often thought it would likely be feasible for many sufficiently
              dense suburbs to do something like this, namely to run light rail
              along major routes with wide-spaced stops/stations in such a way that
              they would be accessible with a reasonable bike ride for most
              residents. In many West Island suburbs of Montreal, or inner suburbs
              of Washington DC, for example, this ought to be quite doable.

              For many suburbs with loop and cul de sac street patterns, a
              reasonable route to the station would require converting the street
              pattern to a Fused Grid along the lines proposed by Fanis Grammenos at
              the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (see my April 5 posting to
              the list and the material at http://www.fusedgrid.ca/index.php ).

              I wonder what the cut-off density is for something like this to be
              practical. I imagine topography would also be an important factor in
              individual cases: the wrinklier the surface, the more effort and time
              involved in the ride...

              On 31-May-08, at 2:42 PM, Erik Sandblom wrote:

              > (...)
              >
              > 40% of urban travel in the USA is shorter than 2 miles, which is
              > 3,2km and takes 10-15 minutes by bicycle. So people can ride their
              > bikes to the train station. In Copenhagen you're welcome to take your
              > bike on the subway and commuter trains.
              >

              Christopher Miller
              Montreal QC Canada
            • Jet Graphics
              [Heretic flag on] Though loops and cul de sac street hierarchy is the typical North American suburban development pattern, it s so 20th century . Frankly,
              Message 6 of 17 , May 31 6:13 PM
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                [Heretic flag on]
                Though loops and cul de sac street hierarchy is the typical North
                American suburban development pattern, it's so "20th century".
                Frankly, it's only useful for automobile based cultures - which
                translates to eventual extinction.

                Typical suburban lots are too small for farming, too wasteful of
                space, and usually consume a ton of time and resources to comply with
                "weed ordinances". And developers don't want to waste precious space
                on mundane features like playgrounds and common areas for socializing.
                To compound problems, "residential" areas are often distant from
                shopping, services, schools, and entertainment.

                Taking a hint from cultures that measure their sustainability over
                centuries and millenniums, suburban rural areas need to be restored to
                farming (if arable land), and consolidate scattered families into
                villages. At least, farm families won't be left on isolated farms,
                scattered about.

                (Take a "flight" via Google Earth over Europe. You'll find hectares of
                farmlands surrounding compact villages, that seem to have not changed
                in centuries. I zoomed into a tiny village, Bibersfeld, Germany, that
                appeared to be part of a larger network of farming villages.)

                And if you are uninhibited with respect to rectilinear layouts,
                consider the hexagonal array. Instead of four entry points per
                intersection, you have three. Simplifies things.

                And if you have hexagons, then you might as well make a Ring Village
                within the hexagon.

                [Contact me off list for more info about Ring Villages]



                --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Miller
                <christophermiller@...> wrote:
                >
                > I've often thought it would likely be feasible for many sufficiently
                > dense suburbs to do something like this, namely to run light rail
                > along major routes with wide-spaced stops/stations in such a way that
                > they would be accessible with a reasonable bike ride for most
                > residents. In many West Island suburbs of Montreal, or inner suburbs
                > of Washington DC, for example, this ought to be quite doable.
                >
                > For many suburbs with loop and cul de sac street patterns, a
                > reasonable route to the station would require converting the street
                > pattern to a Fused Grid along the lines proposed by Fanis Grammenos at
                > the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (see my April 5 posting to
                > the list and the material at http://www.fusedgrid.ca/index.php ).
                >
                > I wonder what the cut-off density is for something like this to be
                > practical. I imagine topography would also be an important factor in
                > individual cases: the wrinklier the surface, the more effort and time
                > involved in the ride...
                >
                > On 31-May-08, at 2:42 PM, Erik Sandblom wrote:
                >
                > > (...)
                > >
                > > 40% of urban travel in the USA is shorter than 2 miles, which is
                > > 3,2km and takes 10-15 minutes by bicycle. So people can ride their
                > > bikes to the train station. In Copenhagen you're welcome to take your
                > > bike on the subway and commuter trains.
                > >
                >
                > Christopher Miller
                > Montreal QC Canada
                >
              • Tuomo Valkonen
                ... I find suburbia an excellent example of a Poor Compromise: the worst of both worlds, the city and the countryside. On the one hand, suburbia is dense
                Message 7 of 17 , Jun 1, 2008
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                  On 2008-06-01, Jet Graphics <Jetgraphics@...> wrote:
                  > Though loops and cul de sac street hierarchy is the typical North
                  > American suburban development pattern, it's so "20th century".
                  > Frankly, it's only useful for automobile based cultures - which
                  > translates to eventual extinction.=20
                  >
                  > Typical suburban lots are too small for farming, too wasteful of
                  > space, and usually consume a ton of time and resources to comply with
                  > "weed ordinances".

                  I find suburbia an excellent example of a Poor Compromise: the worst
                  of both worlds, the city and the countryside. On the one hand, suburbia
                  is dense enough that you have endure with living with other people,
                  there's no real privacy in the garden, which typically isn't big enough
                  to really grow much of your own food etc. On the other hand, suburbia is
                  too sparse to support public transport, local services, etc.

                  Although I'm not expert on the history, it is my understanding that the
                  rich people of the past centuries had found a far better compromise: the
                  best of both worlds. They had mansions in the countryside that they spent
                  some of their time in, in particular in the summer, and more densely
                  built townhouses (that's where the term comes from, AFAIK) that they
                  spend the rest of their time in, in particular in the winter.

                  --
                  Tuomo
                • Jason Meggs
                  ... I disagree that there is no viable land-based alternative transportation to replace petroleum, even in the near-term (6-24 months), and further disagree
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jun 1, 2008
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                    > [JG] Tis true you cannot negotiate catastrophic change. Unfortunately,
                    > the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
                    > either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).
                    >
                    > Rail based transit systems require a high population density destination
                    > model, so that point to point travel is efficient.
                    >
                    > To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
                    > destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to run
                    > track between them and nearby urban enclaves.


                    I disagree that there is no viable land-based alternative transportation
                    to replace petroleum, even in the near-term (6-24 months), and further
                    disagree that rail (or a more likely alternative to rail) cannot
                    substitute to allow survival during transition. Human power and grid
                    connected vehicles (such as trolley buses and trolley trucks, needing no
                    battery) coupled with reogranized travel and delivery patterns have great
                    potential even on initial transition during a crisis. Politics, economic
                    interests and cultural ossification in a context of ignorance are the
                    barriers.

                    In the U.S. (Kunstler's locus), freeways provide the primary available
                    right-of-way for any inter-urban (short or long distance) transit system
                    and are available immediately for transit use. Most development in the
                    U.S. and particularly most populations are close to freeways (by the same
                    basic principles of densification as direct rail-based development),
                    albeit a much more dispersed development than is ideal for rail. But is
                    it impossibly dispersed for most? No.

                    While the distances to likely hubs is, of course, not ideal (e.g., X miles
                    each way for many residences), many of these distances are walkable and
                    particularly bikeable. In a crisis, adaptation can occur without
                    completely interrupting accessibility of essentials.

                    A trolley network for both people and goods transport would be much more
                    physically and economically feasible in the short-term than rail, and much
                    more able to provide integrated feeder service and be adaptable to
                    ever-changing conditions; but the core idea is the same. Trolleys can use
                    existing roadway infrastructure and share it with any remaining vehicles
                    which carry their own power without the costly investment in tracks,
                    heavier-duty bridges, more expensive cars, etc.

                    Limited transit service coupled with a reorganization of travel patterns
                    for essentials along with delivery of goods would be enough to extend
                    basic economic ability quite a bit, to cover many scenarios. Culture,
                    business and government willing, of course.

                    Transition contingency plans for suburbs are key to best outcomes in the
                    coming crises. After the oil shocks several decades ago, there was a
                    limited production of energy contingency plans. Unfortunately my efforts
                    to raise this topic with cities has fallen on deaf ears in recent years,
                    but the time may be right to try again. It's certainly important with or
                    without official participation.

                    This is critically important: When crises hit, we can expect the worst
                    case plans and objectives to be waiting in the wings, already developed by
                    industry and other large interests (see the Patriot Act, or the California
                    Energy crisis of 2000-2001 for recent examples). Couple that with panic
                    behavior in the absence of a clear vision and assurance of some kind of
                    individual stability, and we'll see a real mess indeed.

                    To prepare excellent comprehensive alternative proposals for response to
                    crises, so at least a well-known vision exists and a debate can occur, is
                    highly prudent. Where else will change be possible than during crisis, in
                    this "wait until it breaks" society? The window of opportunity for
                    sweeping policies may be very short indeed before something truly
                    catastrophic is chosen instead, which derails options and trainwrecks many
                    future possibilities.

                    Might I propose that this topic be taken up at the coming conference if
                    not before?

                    Jason

                    BCC: JHK


                    On Sat, 31 May 2008, Jet Graphics wrote:

                    > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com,
                    >> And that's the worst part of our quandary: the American public's
                    > narrow focus on keeping all our cars running at any cost. Even the
                    > environmental community is hung up on this. The Rocky Mountain
                    > Institute has been pushing for the development of a "Hypercar" for
                    > years ­ inadvertently promoting the idea that we really don't need to
                    > change.
                    >>
                    >> Years ago, U.S. negotiators at a U.N. environmental conference told
                    > their interlocutors that the American lifestyle is "not up for
                    > negotiation."
                    >
                    > [JG] Tis true you cannot negotiate catastrophic change. Unfortunately,
                    > the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
                    > either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).
                    >
                    > Rail based transit systems require a high population density
                    > destination model, so that point to point travel is efficient.
                    >
                    > To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
                    > destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to
                    > run track between them and nearby urban enclaves.
                    >
                    >

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Jet Graphics
                    ... transportation ... needing no ... great ... economic ... [JG] Human powered vehicles (bicycles, tricycles) have limited application where distance, terrain
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jun 1, 2008
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                      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...> wrote:
                      > I disagree that there is no viable land-based alternative
                      transportation
                      > to replace petroleum, even in the near-term (6-24 months), and further
                      > disagree that rail (or a more likely alternative to rail) cannot
                      > substitute to allow survival during transition. Human power and grid
                      > connected vehicles (such as trolley buses and trolley trucks,
                      needing no
                      > battery) coupled with reogranized travel and delivery patterns have
                      great
                      > potential even on initial transition during a crisis. Politics,
                      economic
                      > interests and cultural ossification in a context of ignorance are the
                      > barriers.

                      [JG] Human powered vehicles (bicycles, tricycles) have limited
                      application where distance, terrain or climate is not suitable.
                      Electrified street transport may be an option - IF - (a) enough
                      surplus electrical generation capacity is available, and (b) the
                      conflicting interest groups can find consensus.


                      > In the U.S. (Kunstler's locus), freeways provide the primary available
                      > right-of-way for any inter-urban (short or long distance) transit
                      system
                      > and are available immediately for transit use. Most development in the
                      > U.S. and particularly most populations are close to freeways (by the
                      same
                      > basic principles of densification as direct rail-based development),
                      > albeit a much more dispersed development than is ideal for rail.
                      But is
                      > it impossibly dispersed for most? No.

                      [JG] Freeways (limited access) are limited rights of way, and more
                      likely, involve a turf battle between government bodies (Fed and
                      State). In addition, providing the electrical power to them may be
                      more difficult, due to their design and distance from utilities.

                      > While the distances to likely hubs is, of course, not ideal (e.g., X
                      miles
                      > each way for many residences), many of these distances are walkable and
                      > particularly bikeable. In a crisis, adaptation can occur without
                      > completely interrupting accessibility of essentials.

                      [JG] In a real crisis, it may be unlikely that one will be safe and
                      secure in suburbia.
                      An excellent fictional account of suburbia "AFTER" the shoe falls:
                      Download lightsout1-10.pdf, lightsout11-20.pdf
                      (Do search on Google for the site. I refuse to give it, since they
                      banned me.)

                      For a more frightening "right now" account, see:
                      http://www.nowandfutures.com/d2/ferfal-argentina-2001.txt

                      > A trolley network for both people and goods transport would be much
                      more
                      > physically and economically feasible in the short-term than rail,
                      and much
                      > more able to provide integrated feeder service and be adaptable to
                      > ever-changing conditions;

                      [JG] I agree that rails limit options. But in the search for greatest
                      efficiency and frugality, it's hard to beat steel rails. And remember,
                      the funding for most paved roads is derived from taxation on petroleum
                      consumption. Any shift to electrified roads in a world where petroleum
                      use is going down, means less taxes available for the roads. And
                      without the constant flood of tax money, paved roads will no longer be
                      as economical as steel tracks.

                      > but the core idea is the same. Trolleys can use
                      > existing roadway infrastructure and share it with any remaining
                      vehicles
                      > which carry their own power without the costly investment in tracks,
                      > heavier-duty bridges, more expensive cars, etc.

                      [JG] Electrifying a roadway may offer some relief. But the law of
                      physics still apply.
                      The most efficient surface transportation is steel wheel on steel rail
                      - due to the low coefficient of rolling resistance.
                      It has been estimated, that a single rail track has the equivalent
                      carrying capacity of 9 lanes of superhighway. (NYC's 4 track subway
                      provides the equivalent of 36 lanes of superhighway transportation.)
                      Roads, even if electrified, cannot approach the inherent efficiency of
                      rail transportation.

                      Unfortunately, there are regulatory bodies, such as the FRA, that
                      impose unreasonable (irrational?) rules that impede the implementation
                      of economical rail transportation systems. Most distressing is the
                      limitation on ultralightweight rail. Why not use aerospace technology
                      to make lightweight (and frugal) rail vehicles? Imagine a carbon fiber
                      stress skin over honeycomb streetcar shell that weighs under 1500 lbs.


                      > Limited transit service coupled with a reorganization of travel
                      patterns
                      > for essentials along with delivery of goods would be enough to extend
                      > basic economic ability quite a bit, to cover many scenarios. Culture,
                      > business and government willing, of course.

                      [JG] As long as humanity keeps doubling every 40 years (and our
                      neighbors don't practice ZPG), there will be MORE and MORE people
                      within the boundaries of our finite surface area. U.S.A. has 300
                      million now, estimated 600 million in 2050, and an estimated 1.2
                      billion in 2090. Since we can't eat concrete, it is plainly evident
                      that public policy (and common sense) must encourage restoration of
                      former farmland from suburbia, and a consolidation of people in high
                      population density villages and towns. NOW. Not later. NOW.

                      (And pessimistically expect warfare, worldwide, to be used as a means
                      to "thin out" the herd if we fail.)

                      > Transition contingency plans for suburbs are key to best outcomes in
                      the
                      > coming crises. After the oil shocks several decades ago, there was a
                      > limited production of energy contingency plans. Unfortunately my
                      efforts
                      > to raise this topic with cities has fallen on deaf ears in recent
                      years,
                      > but the time may be right to try again. It's certainly important
                      with or
                      > without official participation.

                      [JG] Smart money will get out of suburbia before the bottom falls out
                      of that market. Already, there are signs of folks relocating back to
                      central cities, in anticipation of the "big whoops".

                      > This is critically important: When crises hit, we can expect the worst
                      > case plans and objectives to be waiting in the wings, already
                      developed by
                      > industry and other large interests (see the Patriot Act, or the
                      California
                      > Energy crisis of 2000-2001 for recent examples). Couple that with
                      panic
                      > behavior in the absence of a clear vision and assurance of some kind of
                      > individual stability, and we'll see a real mess indeed.

                      [JG] Agreed. There's nothing like a panic for the camel to sneak its
                      nose under the tent.

                      > To prepare excellent comprehensive alternative proposals for
                      response to
                      > crises, so at least a well-known vision exists and a debate can
                      occur, is
                      > highly prudent. Where else will change be possible than during
                      crisis, in
                      > this "wait until it breaks" society? The window of opportunity for
                      > sweeping policies may be very short indeed before something truly
                      > catastrophic is chosen instead, which derails options and
                      trainwrecks many
                      > future possibilities.

                      [JG] I doubt that there is a political solution, since government is
                      part of the problem. There may be individual solutions, where people
                      form intentional communities, and cooperatively support each other.
                      (Do not rely upon the "Socialist Safety Net". When the "shoe falls",
                      there will be too many in need to provide relief for all.)
                      If you think that government is the best source of your relief, just
                      remember Katrina, and multiply that scenario across the nation.

                      (A tip of the hat to now defunct "K ville" TV show, about post Katrina
                      New Orleans.)

                      > On Sat, 31 May 2008, Jet Graphics wrote:
                      > > [JG] Tis true you cannot negotiate catastrophic change. Unfortunately,
                      > > the petroleum fuel based transportation system cannot be replaced by
                      > > either alternative fuels or alternative transportation (land based).
                      > >
                      > > Rail based transit systems require a high population density
                      > > destination model, so that point to point travel is efficient.
                      > >
                      > > To achieve a rail renaissance requites consolidation of suburban
                      > > destinations into compact villages, so that it is cost effective to
                      > > run track between them and nearby urban enclaves.
                    • chbuckeye
                      ... consumption Not exactly, but close. In the U.S., the Federal Highway Trust Fund was set up to fund interstate road transportation construction and
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jun 3, 2008
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                        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jet Graphics"
                        <Jetgraphics@...> wrote:
                        >the funding for most paved roads is derived from taxation on petroleum
                        consumption

                        Not exactly, but close. In the U.S., the Federal Highway Trust Fund
                        was set up to fund interstate road transportation construction and
                        maintenance. And while it is true that the federal gas tax is about
                        90% of the trust fund revenue, a significant portion of road
                        building/maintenance funds come from general tax revenue as well as
                        the gas tax.

                        The lack of funds is primarily the result of overbuilding not
                        under-driving. We have been spending more money on road projects than
                        the trust fund has been receiving in revenue for many years. US gas
                        taxes are fixed as a percentage of the volume of gas purchased rather
                        than a percentage of the purchase price, so the revenue from the gas
                        tax is not increasing with the rise in price. Even if Americans
                        continued to use the same amount of gasoline each year, as was the
                        case until the past year or two, gas taxes were insufficient to
                        maintain the existing roads. Yet we steadily increased the number of
                        lane-miles of roadway, the cost to maintain all of our roadways
                        increased accordingly, and the recent rapid rise in petroleum prices
                        has increased the cost of road projects exponentially.

                        The state and local governments followed a similar pattern to the
                        federal government. In my area a number of major road projects are
                        over-budget, and several major projects that are needed (including
                        replacing a bridge of the same type that collapsed in Minnesota) have
                        been put on hold indefinitely. I hope that we will revisit our
                        transportation priorities and consider that alternative modes should
                        at the very least be considered as worthwhile investments to encourage
                        competition with the roadways. I suspect that privatization will be
                        the order of the day.
                      • Jet Graphics
                        ... 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
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jun 4, 2008
                        • 0 Attachment
                          --- 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.
                        • chbuckeye
                          ... I don t favor privatization either. But the existing car-based transportation system in the US is unsustainable. I think toll roads operated and
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- 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.
                          • J.H. Crawford
                            Hi All, The discussion of toll roads, paying for repairs, and other auto-trivia really does not belong on this list. Yours in moderation, Joel ... J.H.
                            Message 13 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Hi All,

                              The discussion of toll roads, paying for repairs, and
                              other "auto-trivia" really does not belong on this list.

                              Yours in moderation,

                              Joel



                              At 2008-06-05 08:34, you wrote:

                              >--- In <mailto:carfree_cities%40yahoogroups.com>carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jet Graphics"
                              ><Jetgraphics@...> wrote:
                              >>
                              >> --- In <mailto:carfree_cities%40yahoogroups.com>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.
                              >
                              >



                              ----- ### -----
                              J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                              mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                            • Jason Meggs
                              ... 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
                              Message 14 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
                              • 0 Attachment
                                > 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.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                              • bruun@seas.upenn.edu
                                Jason Actually, the Feds stole the $1 Billion from the Transit Trust Fund to finance demo congestion pricing projects. However, since they are opposed to
                                Message 15 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Jason

                                  Actually, the Feds stole the $1 Billion from the Transit Trust Fund to
                                  finance demo congestion pricing projects. However, since they are
                                  opposed to raising the gas tax, which hasn't increased since 1993,
                                  they have made no plans to ever give the money back. That is why I use
                                  the word "stole" rather than "borrowed".
                                  They wanted to "borrow" the remaining $4 B from the Transit Trust Fund
                                  too, but thank God the Congress stopped that idea.

                                  Eric Bruun


                                  Quoting Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...>:

                                  >> 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.
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >
                                • Jason Meggs
                                  Ah! Thank you for elucidating my knowledge and sorry for my ignorance. I got that factoid from the SFCTA web pages on the topic. All the more reason for any
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Jun 6, 2008
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Ah!

                                    Thank you for elucidating my knowledge and sorry for my ignorance. I got
                                    that factoid from the SFCTA web pages on the topic.

                                    All the more reason for any implementation to result in revenues dedicated
                                    to transit and other alternatives, mitigating the impacts of the
                                    automobile and transforming automobile-first environments.

                                    Jason


                                    On Thu, 5 Jun 2008, bruun@... wrote:

                                    >
                                    > Jason
                                    >
                                    > Actually, the Feds stole the $1 Billion from the Transit Trust Fund to
                                    > finance demo congestion pricing projects. However, since they are
                                    > opposed to raising the gas tax, which hasn't increased since 1993,
                                    > they have made no plans to ever give the money back. That is why I use
                                    > the word "stole" rather than "borrowed".
                                    > They wanted to "borrow" the remaining $4 B from the Transit Trust Fund
                                    > too, but thank God the Congress stopped that idea.
                                    >
                                    > Eric Bruun
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Quoting Jason Meggs <jmeggs@...>:
                                    >
                                    >>> 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.
                                    >>>
                                    >>>
                                    >>>
                                    >>
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • Ed Beighe
                                    ... Arizona has a (pretty standard) 19.4 cents per gallon, and no sales tax on gasoline. Here in fast growing Maricopa county (Phoenix metro area) we already
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Jun 9, 2008
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "chbuckeye" <coleridge3150@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jet Graphics"
                                      > <Jetgraphics@> wrote:
                                      > >the funding for most paved roads is derived from taxation on petroleum
                                      > consumption
                                      >
                                      > Not exactly, but close....
                                      > The state and local governments followed a similar pattern to the
                                      > federal government.

                                      Arizona has a (pretty standard) 19.4 cents per gallon,
                                      and no sales tax on gasoline.
                                      Here in fast growing Maricopa county (Phoenix metro area) we already
                                      have had a 0.5% general sales tax for years and years to fund highway
                                      construction.
                                      Now we are told this isn't enough, so a special interest group (with
                                      the support of the governor)is pushing a plan for ballot initiative
                                      that would add ANOTHER full percent to the general sales tax.
                                      (this would cause sales tax in the city of Phoenix, for example, to be
                                      9.3% -- among the highest sales tax in the nation).

                                      The group (heavy construction companies and whatnot) backing this
                                      proposal calls this a comprehensive transportation plan, including
                                      bus, trains, etc. However, the large majority of the money is
                                      earmarked for road construction.

                                      The governor even cooked up a secret deal with home builder's lobby
                                      (it leaked) for them to escape any sort of impact fees. (Sheesh, this
                                      sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory -- but I'm not making this
                                      stuff up!). The governor even stated flatly that this proposal (sales
                                      taxes) is the "only way" to raise the money -- in other words, use tax
                                      increases were for some reason impossible.

                                      http://azbikelaw.org/blog/deal-to-increase-sales-tax-to-build-roads/
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