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Re: Latest from Jim Kunstler

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 of 17 , Jun 4, 2008
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              --- 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 6 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
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                --- 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 7 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
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                  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 8 of 17 , 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.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • 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 9 of 17 , Jun 5, 2008
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                      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 10 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 11 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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