Congress detours from common sense on the Highway Trust Fund (Washington Post)
The editorial takes a dim view of lack of efforts to keep the Fund funded. Excerpt:
BOTH PARTIES want to do nothing but squabble before this year’s election. Not much will stop them — except, perhaps, this dose of reality: If political point-scoring is all they accomplish over the next several weeks, work on the nation’s roads, bridges and rails will come to a halt.
The federal Highway Trust Fund is set to run out of money this summer. Without a fix, federally backed transportation projects all over the country — not just highways — would be in danger of severe disruption or cancellation. That translates into high costs now to stop and restart projects once funding comes through, higher costs in the future as contractors build the risk of funding holdups into their prices, downward pressure on construction jobs and unnecessary delay for anyone who uses the infrastructure. Failing to shore up the fund in time would be plain legislative malfeasance.
The Post thinks two obvious funding sources would be a higher federal gas tax or a vehicle mileage fee. The current federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1993.
America’s invisible trolley system (Newsweek)
A look at some of the many light rail projects that have been proposed across the U.S. but never built for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most interesting paragraph in the article:
Compared with Europeans, Ross says, ”Americans have much greater interest in sorting out different people of different incomes into different neighborhoods.” When it comes to mass transit, he says, “the classic argument is that it’s gonna bring crime. The fashionable one right now is that it will gentrify our neighborhood and make poor people suffer. I’ve seen people make both of these arguments in the same paragraph.”
San Francisco transit workers call in sick for a third day (San Francisco Chronicle)
About 70 percent of the San Francisco Muni’s bus and rail service was running Wednesday — an improvement over the previous two days. Union workers rejected a new contract last Friday that they said would result in a pay cut. At this time, the union isn’t allowed to strike but members are allowed to call in sick.