Transportation headlines, Tuesday, March 8

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.

Driving’s back up…or is it? (New Republic)

While the total mileage driven by Americans is at its highest level since 2007, the amount that each person drives has remained about the same over the past decade. But this blog post doesn’t delve into theories why. Leave your theories on the comment board please.

Financing the Nation’s Infrastructure in Our Age of Cutbacks (The Transport Politic)

Yonah Freemark at The Transport Politic takes a look at the state of transportation infrastructure in the United States and finds a country that seems for the most part content to let its roads and rails decay. On the federal level there is talk of grand plans for transportation investment but no clear plan to fund these investments — the main funding mechanism, the federal gas tax, has remained unchanged since 1993 and no one on either side of the aisle seems interested in changing that. States also seem disinterested in transportation improvements — as evidenced by recent decisions in Florida and other states to decline high-speed rail projects. The glimmer of hope lies in cities like Los Angeles and Denver where citizens have voted to tax themselves for better transport infrastructure. Could L.A.’s 30/10 Initiative be the last chance for meaningful transportation investment in the nation?

Zipcar deal expected to save city [Chicago] $400,000 (Chicago Sun-Times)

Here’s a smart public-private partnership that would be great for any city (ahem…) to look into. The city of Chicago has entered into an agreement with car-sharing giant Zipcar to reduce costs associated with government vehicles by giving city employees access to Zipcars. City employees will be able to reserve Zipcars for $5.95 an hour and taxpayers will save $400,000. Chicago taxpayers currently spend $135 million each year on city vehicles.

Should the EPA regulate greenhouse gases? (Science Insider)

That’s the subject of a House of Representatives energy committee hearing today, with Science Insider live blogging the event. Some in Congress do not believe greenhouse gases need regulating and are skeptical of climate science — so the hearing should be a good overview of both the science and the politics. Science Insider is live blogging. If you believe in greenhouse gases, then you already know one common source: your vehicle’s tailpipe.