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 Response Page - Orski  Interview -      


These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Ken Orski Interview of
06-29-2012.
 

Overview

Ken Orski, Washington, D.C., transportation consultant, describes a new Congressional agreement on roads and transit funding for 2013 and 2014, which includes continued support for light rail transit (LRT) but no support for high speed bullet trains. He describes an unusual funding approach in the transportation bill that has the effect of decreasing private pension obligations. He sees major opposition to increases in the federal gasoline tax but suggests that more public-private transportation projects may develop. He also expects greater support for imposing tolls as a financing scheme for freeways.

For the complete interview summary see: http://bit.ly/NElX47

Response Summary: Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Ken Orski. Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readersí zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

  1. More federal support of LRT. (4.1 average response) Federal support for light rail transit (LRT) should be increased.

  2. More federal support of HSR. (3.5 average response) Federal support for high-speed bullet trains should be increased.

  3. More federal support of HOV lanes. (5.6 average response) Federal support for exclusive lanes on highways for buses and carpools should be increased.

  4. Increase gasoline tax. (7.3 average response) Federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes should be increased.

  5. Expand use of toll ways. (4.8 average response) The use of tolls to pay for highways should be expanded.

  6. Expand private sector role. (5.2 average response) The private sector should share financing, ownership and operations of transportation facilities with the public sector.

  7. More state, less federal role. (4.7 average response) The federal role in transportation should diminish, while the state role should increase.

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. More federal support of LRT.

31%

24%

10%

21%

14%

29

2. More federal support of HSR.

45%

14%

7%

24%

10%

29

3. More federal support of HOV lanes.

10%

21%

21%

34%

14%

29

4. Increase gasoline tax.

10%

7%

0%

45%

38%

29

5. Expand use of toll ways.

28%

10%

17%

28%

17%

29

6. Expand private sector role.

17%

14%

17%

41%

10%

29

7. More state, less federal role.

10%

28%

31%

24%

7%

29

Individual Responses:

David Hoden (10) (5) (10) (10) (5) (0) (2.5)

Bert LeMunyon (0) (0) (0) (0) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5)

Ray Ayotte (7.5) (0) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (5)

R. C. Angevine (2.5) (7.5) (2.5) (10) (5) (5) (2.5)

3. More federal support of HOV lanes. I see local transportation needs such as LRT, bus ways, etc. as primarily a local issue that should be financed primarily at the local and state level.

4. Increase gasoline tax. I am strongly in favor of increasing the gas tax at both the state and federal levels as a means to finance maintenance of our highway infrastructure.

5. Expand use of toll ways. I would need to see specific details. I agree that there may be situations where this is appropriate.

Bruce A. Lundeen (2.5) (5) (7.5) (2.5) (0) (5) (2.5)

Dave Broden (2.5) (2.5) (2.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (2.5)

1. More federal support of LRT. Federal support may be needed at some level, but a question that flatly says "should be increased" without a statement of why and (a) value-based rationale means nothing and is without purpose. A better statement would be, "should federal support be based on vision and benefits to the population and business impacted by the presence of a strong light rail system?"

2. More federal support of HSR. Same as response to Item 1, but it must be (in) balance with federal policy for air transportation over distances of 500 miles or less and other special circumstances.

3. More federal support of HOV lanes. Same as above-- all federal support should be based on need and benefits in a very objective manner.

4. Increase gasoline tax. Agree, but as vehicle miles per gallon increase and travel patterns change we need to have an in-depth dialogue on where are the sources of revenue for transportation. I do not believe it all should be user-based since transportation is central to public safety, and for interstate and intrastate commerce: we need foods, other supplies, etc. that the transportation system must provide for all citizens.

5. Expand use of toll ways. Must be considered along with item 4 above. Generally more tolls makes sense and needs greater careful consideration as to who (pays) and how it is fee based and how payments are monitored, etc.

6. Expand private sector role. This is an innovative approach that must be given more attention. It certainly works for air travel; why not extend in some way to ground transportation? We should not assume that transportation is a only a public function.

7. More state, less federal role. A balanced and continuous dialogue with a vision focus should be the approach with no specific lock on criteria of who makes final go/no-go decisions. Decisions must be value/benefit based along with cost and revenue factors.

Anonymous (0) (0) (7.5) (10) (0) (0) (0)

W. D. (Bill) Hamm (2.5) (2.5) (2.5) (2.5) (0) (2.5) (5)

1. More federal support of LRT. Would support monorail; will not support ground rail. Time to stop killing people and animals.

2. More federal support of HSR. High-speed monorail above ground yes, on ground no. Time to stop killing people and animals.

3. More federal support of HOV lanes. We all pay for all lanes.

4. Increase gasoline tax. It all depends on what the money is to be used for.

5. Expand use of toll ways. No.

6. Expand private sector role. It's all about language; won't support anything until I see the language used.

7. More state, less federal role. Might be possible if we end the "Prison Industrial Complex" and legalize cannabis.

Don Anderson (2.5) (0) (5) (7.5) (5) (5) (7.5)

6. Expand private sector role. Remember the days of the streetcars. They were privately owned.

Bill Blonigan (10) (10) (7.5) (10) (0) (0) (0)

1. More federal support of LRT. People use this. Pollution goes down. Property values go up.

2. More federal support of HSR. If we have money for infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan we have money for it in USA. USA should limit defense spending to the same total as China, Russia, and the next 3 countries combined. Where is our efficiency?

4. Increase gasoline tax. No one blinks an eye when gasoline prices go up 30 cents in one day. They still buy. People have so much money to spend on gas that they let their cars run in the winter (to heat up) and in the summer (to cool off) even if the people are just waiting for someone else to run into a store. People do not bother to save gasoline expense by proper tire inflation or by walking in to a fast food place (preferring to idle in line). This shows me that gasoline is too cheap and that increased tax will upgrade roads, incent pollution saving behavior and incent a little exercise. Do people think that everything should go up in price but that gas taxes should remain the same for decades?

5. Expand use of toll ways. Highly regressive tax although it is a user fee. Increase gas tax.

6. Expand private sector role. Private sector will cherry pick and public will pay for difficult economic models.

Joseph Lampe (0) (0) (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (10)

1. More federal support of LRT. LRT is not a solution to urban mobility: it is not cost effective and serves very few people. If all five lines are built at a cost of $5 billion, only 6-7% of our metropolitan land area will be served, and it will provide only 1.2% of 14 million daily trips by 2030.

2. More federal support of HSR. Outside of a few east coast corridors, there is no market niche for high-speed rail. Outrageously expensive, and having only trivial ridership.

3. More federal support of HOV lanes. Short term, Bus Rapid Transit and car-pooling are cost effective solutions. When better high-tech transit solutions become available, the lanes can convert to use by automobiles and trucks.

4. Increase gasoline tax. The costs of road construction and right-of-way acquisition go up inexorably, while increased fuel economy drives down fuel tax revenue per mile traveled. There also is major siphoning of vehicular tax revenues into low cost/benefit transit boondoggles. 95% of the population uses the roads, while a mere 2.5% of daily trips are by transit. No amount of spending on current transit technology can raise transit trip share above approximately 4%.

5. Expand use of toll ways. Ideas like MNPass should be encouraged. New lanes should have tolls or congestion pricing.

6. Expand private sector role. Transportation, especially transit, is easily the country's least innovative industrial sector. Government bureaucracies almost never innovate. The entrepreneurial private sector can help lift us out of this stagnation, but currently the private sector is not welcome at the table.

7. More state, less federal role. States should take the lead role. All federal transportation funds should come to states in one non-earmarked lump sum. Let the spending competition occur at the local level.

Chris Brazelton (5) (2.5) (5) (10) (0) (7.5) (5)

1. More federal support of LRT. Not enough data provided to assess adequacy of current financing

levels. LRT should be pursued when and where appropriate as an alternative to expansion of freeway lanes.

2. More federal support of HSR. I agree with the consensus that high-speed bullet trains might not make sense for many proposed corridors at this time.

3. More federal support of HOV lanes. Not enough data provided to assess adequacy of current financing levels. HOV lanes should be pursued when and where appropriate as an alternative to expansion of regular freeway lanes.

4. Increase gasoline tax. The level of funding from 1988 does not come anywhere (near) meeting today's needs. Even if the level of need had not increased in the intervening years, the costs of construction and maintenance have gone up significantly. As a user fee, fuel taxes do not cover the cost of use of the roads when vehicles are using alternative fuels, so if we are to continue seeking a user type of fee, we will need to find another approach that does not bog down traffic.

5. Expand use of toll ways. Tollways are a pain!

6. Expand private sector role. They are welcome to provide alternatives, as long as they are not the only option, unless pricing is regulated.

7. More state, less federal role. As long as funding is adequate, and is applied efficiently to public infrastructure, it shouldn't matter. Either way, an analysis would need to be done and presented before an opinion should be offered.

Dennis L. Johnson (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (7.5)

Anonymous (7.5) (7.5) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5)

Peter Hennessey (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (7.5) (7.5)

William Frenzel (0) (0) (3) (10) (10) (10) (7)

David Perlman (10) (10) (4) (6) (0) (0) (0)

Al Quie (0) (0) (10) (10) (10) (8) (5)

Terry Stone (0) (0) (8) (8) (10) (10) (10)

Clarence Shallbetter (1) (0) (8) (8) (9) (6) (7)

I thought there was a fiscal crisis from yearly deficits in the federal budget. Not sure I see this reflected in the recent transportation appropriation act except maybe in the elimination of a commitment to high-speed trains. The "national purpose" also appears to be largely missing in any focus on specific parts of the transportation system that are of national interest and concern such as projects directly affecting the national economy (interstate highways) rather than the movement of people within regions of the country (LRT).

Jerry Fruin (0) (0) (5) (10) (10) (7) (7)

Robert J. Brown (5) (0) (5) (8) (8) (8) (5)

Chuck Lutz (9) (9) (5) (9) (5) (5) (1)

Tom Spitznagle (3) (1) (3) (6) (1) (1) (5)

Wayne Jennings (9) (9) (7) (10) (1) (1) (4)

Iíve not understood how toll roads can be built privately at a profit but not publically. I wonder if this consultant is in denial about roads and streets being in good condition. I see the need for a lot of improvement. He didnít mention bridges as infrastructure needs. If we donít have new trains, then roads need improvement to carry the load for passengers and freight.

Nathan Johnson (10) (10) (7) (7) (5) (5) (5)

Transportation enhancements should include walk/bike routes and high-speed passenger trains as

well as proven multi-modal methods of travel whereby we can reduce our reliance on foreign oil and offer the freedom to travel in whatever ways we choose. Walk/bike routes also will help to improve our health.

Jack and Sally Evert (5) (6) (5) (10) (1) (2) (4)

Paul and Ruth Hauge (8) (7) (7) (9) (8) (8) (5)

Larry Schluter (6) (6) (8) (7) (7) (8) (5)

Light rail is very costly and I am not sure there will be a positive payback. I think the same thing applies to bullet trains except in large population areas like the east and west coasts.

 

    

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

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Joe Mansky,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and  Wayne Popham 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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