Author Archive

Raise Airport Facility Charges and Give Up Improvement Program Funding

Currently, U.S. airports and airlines are fighting a public battle over Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs). PFCs are one of the main mechanisms to fund capital projects such as baggage systems, gates and international arrival facilities. Airports want to increase the fee, and argue that the current $4.50 passenger facility charge, which has not been increased/adjusted […]

Addressing Texas High Speed Rail Concerns

The proposed new high-speed rail (HSR) project in Texas has become a lightning rod for criticism. While the project is different from the now cancelled publicly funded HSR projects in Florida, Michigan, and Ohio and the ongoing project in California, critics remain concerned. The Texas project supported by Texas Central Railway (TCR) is fundamentally different […]

Tolling is a Critical Funding Tool for Texas

Over the last two years, a groundswell of opposition has arisen to tolling in Texas. A number of groups including Toll Free Texas and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom have been lobbying to eliminate all tollroads in the state. Several Texas State Representatives and Senators have filed multiple bills to prioritize non-tolled roads and […]

Committee for Responsible Budget Highway Plan has Issues

Recently, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, released a report titled, “The Road to Sustainable Highway Funding.” The committee, which includes Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, builds on many of the transportation recommendations included in the Bowles-Simpson report. It recommends passage of comprehensive tax reform while ensuring the Highway Trust Fund remains adequately funded. […]

Double the Cap on Private Activity Bonds

Congress’ extension of U.S. surface transportation policy for another two months provides a little more time to improve current policies. With the added time, I want to offer a ninth recommendation for reforming U.S. surface transportation policy. Robert Poole and I recommend that Congress double the lifetime cap on private activity bonds (PABs). State and […]

Tunnels are a Solution to Relieving Traffic Congestion

Due to the policy of building freeways through communities and the resulting highway revolt, most U.S. metro areas now have unfinished freeway networks. With the economy and traffic congestion growing, it is time to consider filling the missing links in these freeways. Fortunately, with the advent of tunnel boring machines (TBMs), it is now possible […]

Lawmakers Should not Speed-Up Positive Train Control Deadline

Trains are among the safest form of transportation but on rare occasions when crashes occur, the death toll is often high. The crash earlier this week of a Northeast Regional train en route from Washington D.C. to New York City has brought Positive Train Control (PTC) back into the news. First mandated in the resultant […]

Special Interests Use Amtrak Accident to Push for Unneeded Solutions

After a tragedy, the knee-jerk reaction is to take some action. It does not matter if that action actually fixes the problem, as long as something is done. As a result of the Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, Amtrak boosters are screaming for more funding and Positive Train Control (PTC) advocates are beating the drum […]

Grant User-Friendly Tolling Flexibility for Highways

Today I want to offer the eighth and final recommendation for reforming U.S. surface transportation policy. Robert Poole and I implore Congress to grant user-friendly tolling flexibility for Interstate highway construction. America’s Interstate highways are reaching the end of their 50-year design life, and will all need to be reconstructed over the next several decades. […]

Recognize All HOT Lanes as Fixed Guideways for Transit

Our recommendations for reforming surface transportation policy have been so well received that we want to offer two more ideas. Our latest recommendation focuses on high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that reduce congestion and provide a virtual guideway for express bus service. My colleague Robert Poole and I recommend that the federal statute be changed […]