Searching for Solutions to Traffic Congestion
Rising congestion - in the air and on the ground - has caused a growing concern
within the Administration and has sparked congressional calls for action. The
US Department of Transportation, echoing the advice of the Bush transition committee,
has declared traffic congestion "a problem to which the DOT will need to
devote increasing attention." Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta was
even more emphatic. Appearing at a special April 4 hearing on congestion, sponsored
by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, he stated "A
central challenge for the department and the nation is to close the gap between
demand for transportation and the capacity of our transportation infrastructure."
Committee chairman Don Young (R-AK) concurred: "The only way to relieve congestion
is to increase capacity," he said in his opening statement.
Seattle's Rail Controversy Comes to a Head Ever since we published Emory Bundy's "wake-up call" concerning
Seattle's light rail project nearly two years ago ("The Politics of Rail
Transit: A Tale of Two Cities," Sept/Oct 1999), we have been following the
controversy surrounding this project with growing fascination. As the events unfolded,
the "Link" project became emblematic in our view, of the flaws that
often characterize urban rail campaigns. The saga of the Seattle project culminated
recently in a congressional hearing, a harshly critical report by DOT's Inspector
General, and an announcement by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta that
he was withholding $125 million in federal contribution "until Sound Transit
has satisfactorily addressed the issues raised in the Inspector General's report"
and Congress has had time to review the grant agreement. We reprint below a commentary
by a prominent Seattle citizen and one of the leaders of the opposition, former
two-term governor of the state of Washington, Booth Gardner. The commentary first
appeared as a guest editorial in the April 11 edition of the Seattle Times.
Congestion Pricing is Inevitable - Guest Commentary by
John A. Charles, Cascade Policy Institute
Congestion pricing has already arrived, and it's here to stay.
Transportation Notes from Abroad
"Flying by Train"
Car Sharing in Singapore
The Eclipse of the Bicycle in China
Railway Reform in Western Europe
The Culture of Low Density - Commentary Twenty five years ago, the Council on Environmental Quality issued a report
called "The Cost of Sprawl." The report was the first official acknowledgment
that sprawl might have some negative implications and that we might want our cities
to grow in a more orderly manner. However, during the two decades that followed,
the trends documented in that report continued unchecked: housing tracts pushed
out ever deeper into the surrounding areas; jobs migrated in growing numbers to
the suburbs; our dependence on the automobile became ever more pronounced while
the use of transit continued to erode. Now, twenty-five years later, we are hearing
the same warnings. Are we going to heed them any more this time than we did a