Transportation headlines, Tuesday, August 16

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

The clear case for the gas tax (New York Times)

The NYT’s editorial board argues: A) the federal 18-cent-per-gallon gas tax should not be allowed to expire on Sept. 30, and; B) it should be increased, since it hasn’t since 1993. The nation’s Highway Trust Fund depends on the tax and that fund pays for all sorts of transportation needs, including mass transit.

Some Republicans are already making noise that the tax should be allowed to expire. As we noted yesterday, there is nary a politician who wants to raise it given the current economy and next year’s federal elections. The editorial makes a good case that the tax should go up, saying that the tax money will be pumped back into the economy via road and transit projects.

As of 9 a.m., there were 136 comments with the article. They’re well worth reading — one per reader, short, to the point and an excellent glimpse into the national mood. Here’s the first one, from a reader in Indiana:

I get it, really I do. And as a good patriot I say yes, we should pay the gas tax and raise it a couple of cents to support infrastructure or alternative energy or any other forward-looking program, especially if it can put people to work. But sorry, I’d do a little happy dance to get any relief in my stressed household budget. This is a regressive tax that disproportionately affects those of us who can least afford it, and those who live in small towns and rural areas without public transportation. I accept its necessity and appreciate the value it produces. But it’s just another example of how those of us with the least to spare shoulder the burden—and then have to listen to Rick Perry sneer that half of those Americans who aren’t his kind (we the bottom half) don’t pay our share of taxes.

A possible fix for Expo Line bike path (L.A. Streetsblog)

Not everyone is happy about the bike path that will eventually follow the Expo Line — in particular intersections where the path basically has to merge with street traffic. Some advocates are proposing “bike flyovers” — i.e. having the bike lane go across major streets on bridges. The idea seems to be gaining support at the community member level, but there’s no word from official-dom whether it’s a proposal that will be taken seriously.

Sunshine State to pedestrians: you lose! (New York Times)

Good recap of the recent study that found that the four most dangerous metro areas in the U.S. for pedestrians are in Florida with Orlando leading the way. The problem: big, wide roads connecting the ‘burbs and little regard for crosswalks (when they actually exist) from motorists or walkers alike. Check out the graphic showing how different regions fare; the L.A. area came in 27th, but the Inland Empire was a dubious fifth.