Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 1

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Aw look at that dog. Photo via Instagram @nikko_bear

Aw, look at that dog. Photo via Instagram @nikko_bear

LAX gets 3 new massive pieces of contemporary art (KPPC)

As part of LAX’s expanding art program (Metro has its own too), the airport has added three new art pieces inside the recently renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal. One of those art pieces was created by Pae White, the artist commissioned for the fabric design seen on Metro bus seats.  For readers not familiar, here’s what those seats look like:


White’s latest art piece at Tom Bradley hangs in the passageway leading to customs and is composed of 23 miles of multi-colored cables stretched at varying degrees above the walkway.

Click the article for a photo of the installment.

California residents cut water use by hefty 29% in May, officials say (L.A. Times)

“Well done, Californians. Keep it up!” says just about everybody. This number represents the highest water savings for California since Governor Jerry Brown issued a mandatory 25 percent cut of urban water consumption on April 1. May’s number is up from a 13 percent savings in April. The percentages are calculated comparing water consumption from the same months in 2013.

Los Angeles transportation agency to cut water use by 20 percent (Reuters)

In more transit-specific water conservation news, the Metro Board passed a motion last week that aims to reduce Metro’s water consumption 20 percent by 2017. I expect you’ll be hearing more about this in the near future, but for now here’s a link to the motion.

18 reasons America should adopt a per-mile driving fee (CityLab)

In light of the today’s launch of OReGO, Oregon’s pilot per-mile driving fee program, CityLab’s Eric Jaffe — a strong proponent of per-mile fee programs — lists 18 reasons why he believes it should be implemented across America.

Some of the reasons are topics we’ve covered in past headlines, like the need for an alternate funding method because of the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund due to diminishing gas tax returns from more fuel efficient cars and a trend of Americans driving less.

Jaffe also argues that per-mile driving fees have already proven successful. Excerpt:

An Iowa trial found that vehicle trackers can capture the vast majority of actual miles traveled (92 percent). Simulations in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., as well as real-world trials in Atlanta and Seattle, have shown that per-mile taxes can lead to reduced car travel. A Portland study showed it works best when it includes a rush-hour surcharge.

Best of all, people like it more as they try it. In the Iowa trial, for instance, about 41 percent of participants had “very” or “somewhat” positive feelings toward the trial beforehand, rising to 70 percent afterward.

According to Jaffe, other positives are that a per-mile driving fee is a “true” use-based fee (which unlike the gas tax, remains constant no matter how little or often you drive) and per-mile fees offer flexibility for varying the fee based on congestion, vehicle size or emissions.

He also offers a counterargument to opponent’s privacy concerns by pointing out the various ways vehicle mileage can be measured based on user preference, from the low-tech occasional odometer reading to using GPS.  It’s a good list, though some points are stronger than others.

I have to be close to the water (Zocalo Public Square)

Orlando Amaker. Photo by Zocalo Public Square.

Orlando Amaker. Photo by Zocalo Public Square.

The latest installment in Zocalo Public Square’s Metro rider profiles.

You can find Joe on Twitter @joseph_lem.