No U.S. airline fatalities in 2010

January 21, 2011 in Blog

A bit of good news from the airline industry: there have been zero airline fatalities in three of the last four years. Here is the USA Today article with more details, and a fascinating chart showing annual airline deaths over the last decade:


Amtrak service wastes taxpayer's money and hurts private companies

January 19, 2011 in Blog

WSDOT just issued this press release talking about “record ridership” in 2010 on its Amtrak Cascade service.

Last year the entire line carried 838,251 trips, which is about 10 percent higher than 2009, according to the WSDOT. And the service between Seattle and Vancouver B.C. carried 138,000 riders.

LaHood: Transport funding bill to be signed by August recess

January 19, 2011 in Blog

From DCVelocity

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today he was confident a multiyear bill to reauthorize the nation's surface transportation programs can be passed by Congress and signed into law by the August summer recess.

McGinn's view on Viaduct is hypocritical, shows how bad light rail is

January 13, 2011 in Blog

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn loves to use this chart to show the apparent inefficiency of the Viaduct tunnel. If you follow transportation policy or the Viaduct issue, you have seen it many times. It compares cost to how many cars would use it with two other road projects in Seattle.

He then argues we should not replace the Viaduct with a tunnel because it costs too much and provides too little benefit.

McGinn's efficiency argument against the tunnel is hypocritical when the mayor also supports light rail, which is even more expensive and carries fewer people.

Washington Policy Center took McGinn's chart and added some context by including a comparison to Central Link light rail costs and ridership, which McGinn supports.

McGinn Viaduct Chart, WPC

WPC's Recommendations for True Ferry Reform

January 12, 2011 in Blog

Washington Policy Center was asked by the Governor’s staff to give our ideas on ferry reform. There is currently no bill in Olympia but the Governor recently outlined her proposal on reforming Washington’s ferry service and creating independent ferry districts.

I appreciated staff’s openness to our recommendations and the potential of working collaboratively to create good policy and reach a more sustainable ferry program.

With a new Congress comes new rules

January 4, 2011 in Blog

In case you are following the new Congress and their new rules set to be voted on tomorrow, Dr. Ronald Utt from the Heritage Foundation has a good summary and his take on the controversial proposal to change how the accumulation of surplus dollars is treated in the Highway Trust Fund:

House Transportation Rule is a Waste Buster

WSDOT sells ad space on public website, despite federal prohibition

December 28, 2010 in Blog

According to federal rules, government agencies cannot sell advertising space on their websites. However, WSDOT officials have found a way around the feds and will now sell ads on some of the state ferry's websites.

What is the loophole?

KING 5 ferry investigation wins national award

December 22, 2010 in Blog

KING 5’s investigation into the state ferry system has won an national award from the Columbia School of Journalism.

State Ferry Privatization Report

December 22, 2010 in Blog

Jerry Cornfield of the Everett Herald has a good article today on the Governor's ferry privatization report, which was released yeterstday.

According to the report, Washington's ferry system is rather unique: 

Light Rail 3rd Quarter Report: ridership and on-time performance still sucks

December 21, 2010 in Blog

Sound Transit released their 3rd Quarter Ridership Report today.

Year-to-date ridership on light rail is 5,237,792 passenger trips, or an average of 23,170 trips per week day.

Attorney General says WA Transportation Commission cannot raise ferry rates

December 20, 2010 in Blog

No word yet on whether the WTC will defer to the legislature or move ahead with the fare increase that was recently approved. This could also impact the WTC's ability to raise toll rates. Without these two responsibilities, what else is left for the WTC to do?

Seattle Times

UW Study: VMT reduction strategies harm low income, small businesses and ag

December 15, 2010 in Blog

WPC has been very critical of the state's law to reduce how much people drive...mostly because of its negative impacts and unknown costs.

New model attempts to correct transportation revenue forecast

December 13, 2010 in Blog

Every quarter, the state Office of Financial Management releases its transportation revenue forecast, which projects how much money the state collects in transportation taxes and fees.

Over the last few years, these forecasts had shown revenue was far less than previously thought; particularly in the area of gas tax collections, which greatly impacted the Nickel and TPA gas tax projects.

Raising parking rates to reduce demand is social engineering

November 18, 2010 in Blog

Earlier I wrote how there is currently more demand for street parking than there is supply in downtown Seattle. This is a signal that either price or supply is too low.

Seattle officials proposed a priceside treatment. Their thought is higher prices will reduce demand. But as I point out, there are negative consequences to this approach: fewer consumers with less money to spend. Besides, people want more parking, not less. So I proposed that a supplyside treatment is a better approach.

Toll rate on 520 means traffic volumes on I-90 will increase 20 percent

November 17, 2010 in Blog

This story in the Seattle Times shows tolls on 520 could be as high as $3.50 each way during the peak times, or $7 round trip. Within 5 years, the toll could hit $8.70 for a round trip.

The story goes on to question the impact on traffic and how many people will divert to other roads or skip driving all together.