No Bail Out For Obamacare in the Federal Budget
Mar 22, 2018

After significant backroom negotiating, Congressional leaders released the proposed omnibus budget bill last night. This is the inclusive federal budget that funds the government through September. It totals $1.3 trillion. Both the U.S. House and Senate have until early Saturday morning to vote on the bill or risk a government shut-down.

From a health care standpoint, more money is allocated to the Health and Human Services Department, to the opioid crisis, research through the National Institute of Health, and various other smaller projects. Missing from the bill is money to bail-out health insurance carriers in the Obamacare exchanges. 

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Should Cities Ban Organic Cotton Grocery Bags?
Mar 21, 2018

When it comes to grocery bags, the most recent data are clear: organic cotton grocery bags are the most environmentally destructive.

And it isn’t close. A new study from Denmark indicates they may want to rethink the ban or add organic cotton bags to the banned list. The Danish study, completed in March 2018, is similar to the UK study, but separated reusable cotton bags from organic cotton bags. 

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The silver lining in the Seattle streetcar fiasco: we have better options
Mar 20, 2018

A recent article published in The Seattle Times highlighted how Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) officials ignored King County Metro and Seattle City Council concerns, and low-balled how much it would cost to operate the Seattle Center City Connector streetcar to secure additional federal grant money.

In their application for federal dollars, SDOT said it would cost $16 million per year to operate the streetcar, which opens in 2020 and will connect the First Hill and South Lake Union streetcars via a 2.1-mile route. Metro, which runs the streetcars, warned SDOT several times that it would cost 50% more at $24 million per year due to larger staffing needs.

While Seattle is leaning on old technology to become a “world class city,” other cities like Arlington, VA and Providence, RI are choosing to spend public money on expanding bus service instead. Current CEO of Sound Transit, Peter Rogoff, noted in 2010 that bus service is a “fine fit for a lot more communities than are seriously considering it.” While buses are more cost-effective than streetcars, new technology may prove to be even more so. 

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