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Category Archives: Transportation

Advancing a Multimodal Transportation System by Eliminating Funding Restrictions

“One of the most pervasive, durable, and detrimental myths in transportation policy is that highways pay for themselves, while public transportation does not. In reality, both modes require significant public subsidies, as user fees—such as fuel taxes and farebox revenues—cover only a portion of total costs. States and the federal government supplement these user fees with property taxes, bonding, and general revenues. On average, these nonuser fee revenues represent 26 percent of total annual highway expenditures. Moreover, treating all highways equally obscures the fact that per-mile construction and maintenance costs, driving levels, and motor fuel tax revenues vary substantially depending on the location, size, and population around a particular road. While the overwhelming majority of driving occurs within metropolitan areas, many large urban highways and arterial roads cost substantially more money to maintain than they generate in fuel taxes. This is also true of many rural and exurban arterial roads. This means that states must cross subsidize thousands of miles of roads that generate insufficient gas tax revenues each year. Research by the Center for American Progress shows that nearly 4 in 10 miles of interstate highway and other principal arterial roadways fail to generate enough in user fees to cover their long-term maintenance costs. For the purposes of this analysis, maintenance costs include one reconstruction and multiple resurfacings over the course of three decades while excluding the costs of land acquisition, engineering, construction, and inflation.”

New GAO Reports – Defense Logistics, Depot Maintenance, Supply Chain Security

Defense Logistics: DOD Has a Strategy and Has Taken Steps to Improve Its Asset Visibility, but Further Actions Are Needed, GAO-15-148: Published: Jan 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 2015. Depot Maintenance: Status of the Public-Private Partnership for Repair of the Dual-Mode Transmitter in the F-16 Fire-Control Radar, GAO-15-249R: Published: Jan 27, 2015. Publicly Released:Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Aviation Safety, Defense Headquarters, Polar Weather Satellites, VA Construction

Aviation Safety: Issues Related to Domestic Certification and Foreign Approval of U.S. Aviation Products, GAO-15-327T: Published: Jan 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 2015. Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats, GAO-15-10: Published: Jan 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 2015.Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Commercial Aviation, Nutrition Assistance

Commercial Aviation: Raising Passenger Facility Charges Would Increase Airport Funding, but Other Effects Less Certain, GAO-15-107: Published: Dec 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 2015. Nutrition Assistance: Additional Guidance Could Assist States in Reducing Risk of Online Sale of Infant Formula, GAO-15-94: Published: Dec 11, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 2015.

New GAO Report – Transportation Disadvantaged Populations

Transportation Disadvantaged Populations – Nonemergency Medical Transportation Not Well Coordinated, and Additional Federal Leadership Needed, GAO-15-110: Published: Dec 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Jan 9, 2015. “Forty-two programs across six federal departments—Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development, Transportation (DOT), and Veterans Affairs (VA)—can provide funding for nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) service, althoughContinue Reading

Close Call Database – A Community Project for Safer Cycling

“The cycling community seems to be witnessing an increase in the number of accidents involving motor vehicles. These accidents are often tragic for the cyclist, resulting in serious injury and death. Drivers that hit cyclists reportedly flee the scene of the accident 50% of the time. Even when they are apprehended they seldom face seriousContinue Reading

DOT Fines Honda $70 Million for Reporting Failures

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today that as a result of a NHTSA investigation, Honda will pay two $35 million civil penalties, for a total of $70 million, for failing to report deaths, injuries, and certain warranty claims to the federal government in violation of the TREAD Act. Continue Reading

Subsidizing Traffic Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy That’s Making Your Commute Worse

“The commuter parking benefit results in $7.3 billion in forgone revenue annually while also increasing traffic congestion in our most congested cities, according to a new report, Subsidizing Traffic Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy That’s Making Your Commute Worse, released by the civic organizations TransitCenter and Frontier Group. The report also found that the $1.3Continue Reading

The Unfriendly Skies Five Years of Airline Passenger Complaints to the Department of Transportation

Laura Murray U.S. PIRG Education Fund April 2014 “Consolidation in the airline industry, pressures created by new security rules, and the recent high cost of aviation gasoline have changed the way we fly. It seems as if every consumer has an airline problem story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag. What many consumers don’tContinue Reading

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Decline in Traffic Fatalities in 2013

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the 2013 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data that shows a 3.1 percent decrease from the previous year and a nearly 25 percent decline in overall highway deaths since 2004. In 2013, 32,719 people died in traffic crashes. The estimated number of peopleContinue Reading

EPIC – Senator Rockefeller Proposes Drone Privacy Bill

“Senator Rockefeller, the outgoing Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and a leading privacy champion, introduced a bill to require privacy safeguards in the commercial operation of drones. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Privacy Act of 2014 would prohibit surveillance of individuals by companies unless explicit prior consent is obtained and would require the development ofContinue Reading

Gasoline prices tend to have little effect on demand for car travel

EIA: “The U.S. average retail price per gallon of regular motor gasoline has fallen 28% from its 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon on June 23, to $2.68 per gallon on December 8. However, this price decline may not have much effect on automobile travel, and in turn, gasoline consumption. Gasoline is a relatively inelasticContinue Reading