Archive for March, 2021

The Biden Administration has released an outline of its $2 trillion infrastructure plan. It is important to note that this amount would be spent over a period of 8 years, i.e. $250 billion annually. Over that 8-year period, the plan would spend $300 billion on transportation projects, including:

  • $95 billion on roads and highways
  • $20 billion bike/ped projects
  • $20 billion fixing neighborhoods destroyed by highways
  • $80 billion for Amtrak and other rail projects
  • $85 billion for public transit

Normally, these types of projects would be funded by the Federal gas tax. But the gas tax was last raised in 1992, and inflation has reduced revenues by half. If the gas tax had kept pace with inflation, the Highway Trust Fund would have an additional $37.5 billion to spend annually. If you do the math, $37.5 over 8 years is exactly $300 billion.

Even worse, the Biden Administration would finance all of this through deficit spending.

Read Full Post »

The Biden Administration is developing a $3 trillion infrastructure plan, and every city wants in. That perhaps is the explanation for Dallas proceeding on a proposed downtown subway, because it certainly has no value-added for riders.

DART has 4 lines converging on a short segment running through a downtown transit mall. Two of those lines would be shifted a few blocks south to a new $2.7 billion subway. The plan does not provide any increase in service, except for the Red line which would see some additional peak-hour trains. DART concedes the project does not enhance service much. Indeed, the Build Alternative would see a net loss in transit ridership:

The main point of the project, according to DART, is to improve reliability and capacity. DART at one point looked at running trains on the branching lines with 10-minute headways, meaning 24 trains per hour through the downtown segment. That’s not exactly pushing the envelope; there are plenty of streetcar systems which achieve much higher throughputs. It is also curious that a subway is needed to improve capacity when DART runs just 2-car trains.

Computer simulation of subway stations. I lost count of the number of mezzanine and concourse levels at the Commerce station.

Read Full Post »

20% of statistics are made up

SMH this pedestrian “safety” flyer being handed out by LAPD:

Read Full Post »

The FRA has indefinitely postponed plans for a major expansion of Washington DC Union Station. The $7 billion project ran into a firestorm of criticism for its single-minded focus on car parking. There was no planning for improved bike/ped access, and only limited accommodation for intercity buses. Congresswoman Eleanor Norton sent a scathing letter which undoubtedly caught FRA’s attention:

Among other problems with the proposal, the Project includes too many parking spaces for cars. NCPC [National Capital Planning Commission], which has approval authority for the Project, has asked FRA to “substantially reduce” the number of parking spaces and to work with all the stakeholders to determine the appropriate amount of parking in light of the “mix of uses, traffic and urban design impacts and the transit-oriented nature of the [P]roject.” In order to truly become a 21st-century multimodal facility, the Project needs to address pedestrian and bike connections, which are increasing modes of transportation here, as well as pick-up and drop-off locations and the bus facility.

Andrew Trueblood, Director of the D.C. Office of Planning, has warned that FRA’s desired number of parking spaces would undermine the key goals for the Project, including prioritizing intermodal efficacy and efficiency and providing continued and enhanced quality of life for people who live, work and visit the District.

Read Full Post »