A few weeks ago an article in the Los Angeles Business Journal made it seem like there was a consensus among Rodeo Drive merchants that the Westside Subway would bring an undesirable element to the glamorous stretch of road and was unwelcome. Well, Curbed LA reports that a coalition of Rodeo merchants and landowners voted unanimously in favor of a nearby subway station, citing luxury streets in other cities that have retained their luster despite their proximity to mass transit.
Gas tax may be next Tea Party target (CNN Money)
The Tea Party is not content with the fact that the federal gas tax has remained unchanged since 1993. A new bill was recently introduced that would let states choose to opt out of the 18.4 cent-a-gallon tax, and in doing so relinquish about a healthy chunk of their transportation funding. Supporters of the bill claim that much of the gas tax actually goes to fund things other than highways, but the Transportation Department says only 15% of funds are reserved for transit and other non-road uses.
The gas tax is likely safe for now. And that’s the problem. (Washington Post)
Here’s a nice counter to the previous story. The Washing Post’s Ezra Klein doesn’t think the gas tax will go away, but he does think it’s inadequate and outdated. One reason: cars are more fuel-efficient so less tax is being collected per mile driven. Another reason: as mentioned earlier, the gas tax has stayed the same for almost 20 years and inflation has significantly decreased its purchasing power. A couple possible solutions include a tax based on miles driven (using GPS tracking technology) and congestion pricing on busy highways.
Columnist Roger Christensen is a former Angeleno who now lives in the Central Valley and fully supports high-speed rail. His issue is with the oil industry funded Reason Foundation – a libertarian “think tank” – and its continued onslaught of anti-HSR criticism. Christensen believes the Reason Foundation’s commentary goes beyond reasoned commentary and, thanks to its funding sources, veers into propaganda. After all, if more people choose to travel by fuel-efficient trains instead of gas-guzzling planes and cars, the oil industry has a lot to lose. Is there a conspiracy at play or is Christensen just being paranoid?