Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Congressional oil-trolls plan attack on public transit

A New Political Reality Settling in for National Transportation Financing « The Transport Politic: "Tanya Snyder of Streetsblog Capitol Hill broke the news last Friday that House Republicans are planning to push to “stabilize” the Highway Trust Fund by cutting back expenditures to meet revenues without raising any taxes in the process. The result would be a large decrease in overall federal transportation funding — a potential reduction in spending by $7 to 8 billion a year from around $50 billion today. According to Snyder’s sources, transit financing would be hit especially hard, seeing its annual appropriation cut from $8 billion to $5 billion."

Of course, banksters will still get their quantitative-easing and bailouts, and energy wars will get a blank check. And they will put the highway money back at the last minute by "popular" demand. There will be calls for more toll roads. The auto-system is just not working and the public purse is empty. The best thing to do would be to put more money into transit which would make the energy wars unnecessary and reduce pollution, medical costs, congestion, parking problems, drainage problems, etc, etc.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What happens when you threaten oil profits

(article accompanied by a huge shell ad)
Federal prosecutors should not retry Rod Blagojevich: "Mr. Fitzgerald brought unlimited resources and the power of the federal government to the case against Mr. Blagojevich. The charges included racketeering, bribery, conspiracy, extortion and making false statements. He was accused of exchanging state contracts for campaign donations. The most explosive accusation was that Mr. Blagojevich was trying to sell his ability to appoint someone to fill President Obama's former Senate seat. The charges against him were enough to get him impeached and removed from office in January 2009."

Monday, September 13, 2010

We don’t need better cars, we need less cars.

Streetsblog.net � Our Car-Based Environments Are Making Us Sick: "I’ve been saying this for a long time, and it’s funny how few people take it seriously. They think, “Nah, you just have to go to the gym more.” The problem is: there are more gyms than ever, and we are more obese than ever! And that’s because humans (generally-speaking, not that there aren’t exceptions here and there) will never get enough exercise if they have to seek it out explicitly. It’s simply not fun enough for the average person to rely on solely that to burn enough energy. Instead, we are meant to get exercise *while* doing other things, eg, riding our bike or walking to get somewhere, taking the stairs instead of the elevator (by the way, it drives me nut that public buildings like hotels make the elevators center stage and the stairs are in some dank, poorly designed and non-welcoming back area … why aren’t the stairs done nicely right in the middle of everything and the elevator in the back?), carrying something instead of throwing it in the car, etc. Sure, our crappy diets of processed, carb- and fat-loaded foods is part of the problem as well, but only when we build exercise into our day-to-day lives of getting around and doing things will we find balance.
People need to realize that the problem with cars isn’t just the fuel they burn and the pollution they create. It’s also the laziness they cause and how they dehumanize us be allowing us to hide anonymously behind a hulking piece of steel rather than deal with (and hence empathizing with) each other. That’s also why electric cars, though progress in some sense (they are more efficient), really do nothing to solve the real problem with cars. We don’t need better cars, we need less cars. We need to take back out cities from cars and design them around people. Both our health and that of the environment will improve massively as soon as we do that."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Senate hopefuls see need for transit but, after Blago, will not offend oil industry

Daily Herald | Senate hopefuls agree on transit needs, disagree on funding: "The two men who want to be Illinois' next U.S. senator both say improving public transportation for suburban residents is a top priority, though they have different ideas about how to implement and pay for some major projects.

'Talking with residents of the collar counties, one of their main complaints is sitting in traffic, wasting their time,' Chicago Democrat Alexi Giannoulias said."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Disabled Veterans Ride Free in Superior Wisconsin

DULUTH, MINN. -- Minnesota provides Disabled Vets with free public transportation on DTA buses and now Superior Wisconsin will follow suit. NorthlandNewsCenter

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cars are literally killing us

A new report , released by the American Public Transportation Association, which surveys current research has found that people who live in communities with high-quality public transportation drive less, exercise more, live longer, and are generally healthier than residents of communities that lack quality public transit.

Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits, a study conducted for APTA by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute aggregates the findings of several recent studies and concludes that people living in transit-oriented "smart growth" communities enjoy several health benefits, not seen in other communities, including residents drive less, exposing them to a lower risk of fatal vehicle accidents.

Such communities also have less pollution, because public transportation produces far less emissions per passenger mile than private automobiles. In addition, people who live near quality public transit are more likely to undertake regular physical activity than residents of automobile-dependent communities. APTA

Friday, July 30, 2010

Congress intimidated by Foxxil Fuel News

...Almost no one noticed last week when the Senate pulled the plug on the comprehensive energy/climate bill. (Overshadowed, perhaps, by the Lindsay Lohan thing.) Congress is so afraid of clamping down on climate-changing pollution and so fearful of cleaner alternatives that killing the bill wasn't quite enough; now some members are trying to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its limited administrative powers to cut carbon emissions on its own.
The only conclusion to draw is that we're in love with our addiction to fossil fuels. We cherish our roles as stooges for the coal barons, the oil tycoons and the mullahs. We're happy to send kids to fight and die in faraway wars to protect our right to drive to the mall anytime we want for a reasonable price. And we don't mind pushing the consequences of our addiction to future generations.... Minnesota Post

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The hotter it gets, the faster it gets hot

Dropping the ball on global warming - Global warming - Salon.com: "But there's no doubt that high temperatures translate immediately into increased burning of fossil fuels -- and, inevitably, increased concentrations of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. This year is on track to be one of the hottest years in the historical record. If fossil fuel consumption is contributing to a warmer world, then our efforts to cool ourselves are only going to make matters worse."

Heartland Community College OKs free bus plan

HCC OKs free bus plan: "NORMAL -- A plan to allow Heartland Community College students and employees to ride city buses for free was approved by the college's board of trustees Tuesday night,"

Monday, July 12, 2010

The commuting paradox

I live in Chicago. At least 10 people have recommended I get a car and move out of the city. Why the hell would I do that? Besides the costs of having a car, it makes no sense to suffer the commute. I enjoy reading on the bus/train and people watching. Not to mention that public transportation is safer. Read more on Simoleon Sense

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Downtown Trolley Free for One Year | METRO Transit Providing Central Oklahoma Transportation & Bus Service Options

Downtown Trolley Free for One Year | METRO Transit Providing Central Oklahoma Transportation & Bus Service Options: "OKLAHOMA CITY – With an estimated 50,0001 people expected in downtown Oklahoma City this upcoming Fourth of July weekend, people in downtown can take advantage of free public transportation thanks to a new year-long sponsorship.

The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority recently announced that beginning July 1, downtown Oklahoma City trolleys will be free to ride for one year thanks to a sponsorship by Platt College.

“With a higher than average number of people in downtown over the July fourth weekend, this was perfect timing to launch the free downtown trolley rides and a great time for people who have never ridden the trolley to try it at no cost,” said Rick Cain, administrator of COTPA and director of public transportation and parking for the City of Oklahoma City."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Aviva employees to get free bus rides on DART | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs

Aviva employees to get free bus rides on DART | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs: "Aviva USA has enrolled in the Unlimited Access program of the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), allowing Aviva’s employees to now ride DART free of charge any time the service is in operation – including after work hours and on weekends. Employees need only show their Aviva identification badge to a DART operator and they can board the bus at no cost.

“We’re very excited about offering our employees a free public transportation option,” said Chris Littlefield, president and CEO of Aviva USA. “Our employees save money, DART gains increased ridership and the community benefits from reduced traffic congestion and carbon emissions.� This is another example of Aviva’s strong commitment to our people, our community and the environment.”"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Car dependent? Expect war without end

Pakistani PM ignores US warning on Iran gas deal
By SEBASTIAN ABBOT (AP) – 2 hours ago

ISLAMABAD — Defying a warning from Washington, Pakistan's prime minister promised Tuesday to go ahead with a plan to import natural gas from Iran even if the U.S. levies additional sanctions against the Mideast country....AP

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rome is burning and Illinois Senate in on Blago Watch

Oil burns in the Gulf; commuters languish in gridlock; Wall Street wobbles; and high unemployment reigns. In response the Illinois media is busy conducting a "Blago Watch" and the Illinois Senate is busy protecting taxpayers from the masses of wealthy elderly transit riders. Apparently there are thousands of millionaire senior citizens crowding the buses in Illinois to get free rides.

Why are they making such an effort to get a few seniors back on the roads? They have to prove to their fossil-fuel/autosprawl masters that they will be good trolls and do whatever possible to crush public transit. Pathetic.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Images of disappearing glaciers

Left: Summer 1938. Right: Summer 2005. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey)
Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana
These photos accurately reflect what is happening at Grinnell Glacier, which has been reduced by nearly 90 percent over the past century, and elsewhere in Glacier National Park, according to glaciologists. “When Glacier National Park was formed back in 1912 there were 100 glaciers in the park,” says Lonnie Thompson, a professor at the Ohio State University. “This year there are 26 glaciers, and those are expected to disappear within the next 30 years.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Let us stop subsidizing death

WKRG.com News

The private auto system kills and maims our loved ones. Yet we throw billions of dollars at it every year to keep it going. We are now even printing money to keep up with the infrastructure costs. Let's stop.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quincy to keep free transit for seniors

The city of Quincy will probably keep providing free bus rides to seniors even if the Illinois General Assembly passes legislation to end the statewide practice of granting free public transportation to the elderly.
..."When we decided to follow the lead of the state, it turned out to be easier for us because we didn't have to worry about issuing yearly passes to seniors anymore," Spring said.
"So from our perspective it's been a good thing for our community. We haven't had a great loss of income at all from it. At this point, my recommendation would be to continue that for our seniors...."
Edward Husar Quincy Herald-Whig

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another conservative breaks free from the highway lobby

“For the 101st time: sprawl — an umbrella term for the pattern of development seen virtually everywhere in the United States — is not caused by the free market. It is, rather, mandated by a vast and seemingly intractable network of government regulations, from zoning laws and building codes to street design regulations. If [nominally libertarian newsman John] Stossel wants to expand Americans’ lifestyle choices, he should attack the very thing he was defending, namely, suburban sprawl.

-- Austin Bramwell, in The American Conservative pasted here from NRDC Switchboard

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why can't autosprawl operate as a business?

... Many rural lawmakers would happily see urban transit systems dry up and blow away. The common cry from the transit doubters is the same today as it's always been: Why can't the MTA operate as a business?

The problem with this thinking is that it recognizes the costs of transit services but not their value. The MTA's fare box recovery rate may be hovering around 30 percent, but that doesn't mean it's inefficient. Roads are heavily subsidized by tax dollars, too, as is every form of transportation, yet nobody talks of the state highway or airport "business model."

Transit connects people to jobs and gets them off government subsidies. It reduces traffic congestion and the need to build massively expensive new highways. It uses energy more efficiently, causes fewer pollutants to be spewed into the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Why spend taxpayers' money on transit? Ultimately, for only one reason: because it's in their interests.

If the MTA can be more efficient, we're all for it. Still, the question the MTA ought to be asking itself is this: What can we do to attract more customers?... BaltimoreSun

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Urbanophile speaks up for free public transit

...Why have a fare in the first place? It is odd that we pay per use on transit. We don’t pay to check books out of a library. We don’t pay to visit most city parks. We don’t pay when the police or fire department come to our house for a legitimate emergency. Most non-utility municipal services are provided for free to users and funded by taxes. So why is transit different?... Urbanophile

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wired Magazine - "The logic of free public transit is compelling"

The logic of free public transit is compelling: Despite the high costs and massive subsidies implicit in driving, forking over a relatively small fee to ride a bus or subway is a psychological barrier to getting people out of cars. Even the most efficiently run buses can be crowded and slow, but by running at frequent intervals on dedicated lanes between fixed stops — as the Circulator does — delays can be kept to a minimum. The bus might not stop next to, or even near, every rider’s point of origin or destination, but it ensures a measure of proximity for most riders. Rare indeed is the mass transit system that shoulders its own financial burden, and the free bus systems that last generally have dedicated sources of income aside from direct subsidies. Baltimore’s system is financed by a 16 percent tax on parking, which will raise about $5 million annually.

Read More http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/01/circulator-brings-free-transit-to-baltimore/#ixzz0dJQBcwlT

Friday, January 15, 2010

Metra fare increases are a step in the wrong direction

...the RTA's MagicCard which gives seniors free travel on the CTA, Metra and Pace all 24/7.
Despite efforts in Springfield to limit or eliminate this program last fall, it survives for all of us over 65. I'm a firm proponent of subsidized transit for everyone, paid for by much higher GAS TAXES. So rather than eliminate the MagicCard, I hope free subsidized transit someday becomes available for all, as a step toward combating Global Warming, the US's massive balance-of-trade deficit, the destruction of our urban neighborhoods, and the country's increasing class segregation and sprawl, all made possible by the car. Next month's fare increases are ridiculous wrong-way legislation. Comment by Clark on ChainLink discussion of Metra Fare increase

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stop the subsidy, the system doesn't work

The autosprawl system just DOES NOT WORK. Let's face it. We have tried everything. Look at the Tri-State, we have filled in thousands of acres of farmland with cement and we still have gridlock and mayhem. Now we are trying traffic enforcement by camera. The money changing hands is just more out the pocket of the public to support the profits of the fossil-fuel and auto companies. Public money for private profit is subsidy. Let's put an end to it.
...For example, in Roselle where two cameras are up at Lake Street and Gary Avenue, nearly $298,900 in fines was collected over nine months. Of that, $117,333 went to the camera company, RedSpeed, according to information culled from Freedom of Information requests by the Daily Herald as part of its Seeing Red investigative series.... DailyHerald