With the debt ceiling debate rising to must-see-TV status, the national public is left to wonder about day-to-day impacts. What really happens if we shutdown government programs to pay off prior debts? Well, stalled FAA negotiations in Congress give us a current example--and the results aren’t pretty. A quick recap. While the surface transportation legislation’s seven extensions get more media attention, the aviation legislation is already on its mind-boggling 21st extension.
with Louis Liss Delta is cutting service to 24 small town airports in the south, upper Midwest, and plains. You probably haven’t heard of any of them, but not because hip people are living there converting warehouses into lofts. Rather, these are extremely small towns and cities outside of the 100 largest metro areas where the airline says it can no longer afford to operate connecting service to larger hubs.
with Louis Liss The Obama administration recently announced that it intends to ratchet up automobile fuel economy and emissions standards in the next 14 years to levels currently reserved for hybrids. But is this proposal a bridge too far or just what the economy needs? A Washington Post article from a few days ago outlines the debate, with several detractors worried that it would raise costs too much and take away jobs. On the flipside, the Infrastructurist’s Eric Jaffe quotes some interesting rebuttals from both the United Auto Workers and GM.
with Louis Liss When it comes to design, there’s no question that Apple knows how to impress. Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently addressed the Cupertino, CA city council to pitch a new corporate campus to accommodate the company’s burgeoning workforce. The new facility will be a circular architectural wonder. It will triple green space, add needed office area, and produce its own energy. Critics have cited the new campus as a model for better architecture in Silicon Valley as well as a green marvel. But just as important as how the building is built is where it is built.
If you’re like my family, you have a DVR in your house. Those wonderful little boxes of commercial-skipping, season-passing, "I’ll watch 'The Killing' when I want" goodness. Well, it turns out those magical little boxes are wreaking havoc on our disposable income. Via the always-on-point Lifehacker, air conditioning is not the only component in your surging summer utility bill. Yes, our television addiction is another seemingly unlikely culprit.
The Detroit Free Press recently published an article summarizing the ongoing financial and jurisdictional debate surrounding regional mass transit. Metropolitan Detroit primarily relies on two major transit agencies—DDOT and SMART—to offer commuting and general mobility to the region’s 4.4 million residents. The major problem is that the dual agencies create higher costs for both, leading to less service and lower quality for riders, plus the potential to miss out on federal funding opportunities. Even more troubling is the inconsistent jurisdictional buy-in for the suburban SMART system.
The venerable columnist Steven Pearlstein has a great piece in today’s Washington Post concerning overall job creation and the role of creative destruction. I won’t summarize it in its entirety--the whole thing is worth a read and it dovetails nicely with our recent thoughts around jobs and innovation---but there’s one specific point that really pleased me. In addition to citations from noted economist John Haltiwanger, including the “chainification” of American businesss, Pearlstein introduces his own rationale for slower job creation during the nascent economic recovery: geography.
New Brookings research on transit and access to jobs enables for the first time metro to metro comparisons on transit performance. One question quickly emerges: Do metro areas with well-established transit systems provide the best access to jobs? We know that some of the largest metro areas are home to the best known and most used transit systems in the country. Several are at the vanguard of innovative planning and land use strategies. These metros are also some of the country’s most powerful economic engines. However, we were surprised to find uneven results in these places.
Last week my colleague and coauthor Alan Berube talked about our new transit access in metropolitan America research using gadget metaphors. As it happens, the gadget metaphors are actually quite apt because of an exciting and unusual feature of this research: an interactive mapping application. We realized a couple months back that we were sitting on a mountain of local-based data--and that there would be no way to convey all the nuances in our standard long-form reporting. Instead of just privately parking it on our servers, we worked to get this data out to the public. For the first time
Recent data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that driving patterns, measured by Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), are back to their highest level since 2007. That’s true. Unlike Western Europe and parts of Asia, the U.S. is a growing country. We’ve added over 29 million people since 2000, and 7 million people since 2007 alone. So one would expect driving to increase, too. What is interesting to note is that combining the growth in VMT and population shows a per capita driving rate that is not growing and, in fact, is pretty much at the same level as it was in 2000.