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  • Backgrounder posted January 31, 2013 by Wendell Cox Transit Policy in an Era of the Shrinking Federal Dollar

    The federal government has been providing subsidies to mass transit since the 1960s.[1] The principal justification was originally to reduce traffic congestion and to provide mobility alternatives to cars for low-income citizens. In addition, transit has been subsidized to reduce automobile emissions.[2] Since 1983, transit has received a share of the federal user fees…

  • Backgrounder posted December 1, 2011 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D., Brett D. Schaefer Focus on Agenda 21 Should Not Divert Attention from Homegrown Anti-Growth Policies

    Abstract: Agenda 21, a voluntary plan adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, unabashedly calls on governments to intervene and regulate nearly every potential impact that human activity could have on the environment. However, Agenda 21 is non-binding; it depends on governments for implementation. If opponents focus…

  • WebMemo posted September 15, 2011 by Wendell Cox How Smart Growth and Livability Intensify Air Pollution

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to implement stronger air pollution restrictions on ozone (smog) for the stated purpose of improving public health.[1] These regulations are misguided because they would impose significant costs for little or no benefit.[2] At the same time, policies being implemented at the state and local levels and proposed at the federal…

  • WebMemo posted July 7, 2011 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Using Market Processes to Reform Government Transportation Programs, Report No. 2: Improving Transit with Competitive Contracting

    America’s transit systems confront serious financial challenges that will force them to raise fares and reduce service unless they can get better control of their costs. Carrying less than 5 percent of commuters and less than 2 percent of all urban travel and concentrated primarily in large urban areas, these faltering systems will be seeking ever-higher subsidies at a…

  • WebMemo posted March 2, 2011 by Wendell Cox Federal Transit Programs: Spending More and More for Less and Less

    Both the majority in the new Congress and the members of the Republican Study Committee recognize that federal transit programs have become a costly extravagance that provides minimal benefits in comparison to costs incurred. In turn, both have proposed that federal transit spending and government subsidies be cut back substantially in the last seven months of the fiscal…

  • Backgrounder posted February 7, 2011 by Wendell Cox Urban Transportation Policy Requires Factual Foundations

    Abstract: The 2010 Heritage Foundation report “Washington’s War on Cars and the Suburbs” disputed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s claims that public transit produces substantial economic benefits, consumes only one-fifth the energy of cars, and saves billions in other costs. The author of the 2004 American Public Transportation Association report, Todd Litman, has…

  • Backgrounder posted October 4, 2010 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. The Lieberman–Kerry Cap and Trade Bill: Making Housing Less Affordable

    Abstract: Proposed legislation would offer financial incentives to increase the population density of communities in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. However, the available evidence, which is admittedly limited, indicates that such “smart growth” policies are misguided, producing minimal results at great expense and disruption. Such policies…

  • Commentary posted July 27, 2010 by Wendell Cox Hello Smart Growth, Goodbye Affordable Housing

    This week's Big Idea is a bad one, and you'll find it featured in the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733) now before the Senate.No, we're not talking "cap-and-trade." We're talking about larding up metropolitan planning agencies with financial incentives to shift transportation funds and passengers away from cars and into public transit, bikeways and…

  • Commentary posted July 21, 2010 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Cap-and-Trade Bill Would Make Housing Less Affordable

    In addition to the devastating economic effects of cap and trade, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733)—introduced by Senators John Kerry (D–MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I–CT)—would likely lead to the same conditions that caused the housing bubble of a few years ago. It would do this by providing financial incentives to the federally funded metropolitan…

  • WebMemo posted July 20, 2010 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Cap-and-Trade Bill Would Make Housing Less Affordable

    In addition to the devastating economic effects of cap and trade, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733)—introduced by Senators John Kerry (D–MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I–CT)—would likely lead to the same conditions that caused the housing bubble of a few years ago. It would do this by providing financial incentives to the federally funded metropolitan…

  • Special Report posted June 17, 2010 by Wendell Cox Washington’s War on Cars and the Suburbs: Secretary LaHood’s False Claims on Roads and Transit

    Abstract: Many of the claims and assertions that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood makes on behalf of the transit industry are inconsistent with the data and studies produced by many agencies of the federal gov­ernment, including his own Department of Transportation. Secretary LaHood has based his policy largely on the work of lobbyists, rather than on the work…

  • WebMemo posted June 15, 2010 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Toward Creating Sustainable Transit

    Many of the nation’s transit agencies are raising fares and cutting service, ostensibly in response to escalating costs and falling ridership. While all American transit systems are heavily subsidized by taxpayers, the recent acceleration in their deterioration has gone beyond the ability of state and local governments to cover the widening deficits, thereby forcing…

  • Backgrounder posted June 8, 2009 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Federal Transportation Programs Shortchange Motorists: Update of a USDOT Study

    In December 2004, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) published its first and last report on the cost of the federal subsidies provided to each mode of transportation per passenger per 1,000 miles: cars, buses, airplanes, transit, and passenger railroad. The survey covered the years 1990 to 2002 and demonstrated that…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2009 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Don't Regulate the Suburbs: America Needs a Housing Policy That Works

    Despite the many accolades for President Barack Obama's swift action on a major economic stimulus package, an outline of a comprehensive financial rescue package, and his most recent proposal for another bailout for homeowners who might not meet their mortgage payments, a growing number of critics and global investors have questioned the effectiveness of these…

  • WebMemo posted December 3, 2008 by Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Transportation Policy: Getting the Facts Straight

    Many environmental groups, business trade associations, and state and local governments anticipate that new Democratic leadership in Washington next year will lead to major changes in federal surface transportation policy. With the current highway authorization law (SAFETEA-LU) set to expire in September 2009, many of these organizations are recommending a…