Former roughneck, longtime journalist and communications professor Randy Salzman promotes transportation demand management that actually changes driving behavior and decreases America’s oil dependency, greenhouse, congestion and foreign policy issues while aiding public health.
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The P3 con

The history of American transportation “public private partnerships” indicates that virtually all P3 — and perhaps literally “ALL American P3″ — shell companies go bankrupt BEFORE paying back anything on their federal loans, or paying off the “private activity bonds” which they sold to finance part of the debt. When these firms go bankrupt, who...

That Sinking Feeling

The Mauna Loa Observatory is reporting that for the second time in world history we are on the verge of topping 400 ppm in the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide. The last time was in the Pliocene Epoch, 5 million years ago, when temperatures were two-three degrees Celsius above today’s averages and the sea level was 25...

Curiouser and curiouser

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, the so-called Western “Bypass” of Charlottesville gets “curiouser and curiouser.” Each argument for the 6.2-mile highway collapses quickly if anyone does third-grade math. This highway built for trucks which trucks can’t use will need another $56 million added to the $244 million already allocated to make it usable and will...

The Writings on the Wall…are clear

In the second major tar sands oil spill in days, Lake Conway, Arkansas is finding out that bitumen oil sinks and is, therefore, virtually impossible to clean up. Exxon vacuumed in excess of 12,000 barrels of oil and water after evacuating at least one neighborhood near Mayflower, AK from the Good Friday spill, but the...

Do we ever come to our fiscal senses?

Since Virginia’s Department of Transportation very clearly told taxpayers that this so-called Western “bypass” of Charlottesville was a fiscal irrationality several times and in several ways, it makes little difference whether the Southern Terminus design was “incompetence” or “bait and switch” — issues which Keith Crawford spells out brilliantly in a March 23 letter to...

Growth is Good…or is it?

For perhaps the first time in the nation, policy makers in Albemarle County, Virginia are being asked to consider the fiscal liabilities inherent in the political mantra, “Growth is Good.” Backed by a $13,000 study which notes that population growth in neither the county nor its primary city, Charlottesville, pays for itself, the Advocates for...

We Can’t Seem to Realize the Truth

In fighting the waste of taxpayer dollars on the so-called “Western Bypass” of Charlottesville, I met a woman who favored the bypass because her family owns a beach house in Virginia Beach. As best as I could decipher her logic, she was willing to drive 15 miles out of her way to save approximately one...

Political Irrationality

With $16.4 trillion in U.S. debt and the possible sequester daily topics in America, my state, Virginia, is on the verge of building a $240-million highway in Albemarle County when it provides only $8 million in public benefits; when it will only save truckers a minute off the full-day drive to New York; when it...

The Rule of Holes

The first rule of holes is when you find yourself in one, quit digging. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s response to flagging revenues for transportation, however, is to grab a jack hammer. His proposal to eliminate Virginia’s gasoline tax, as any economist would explain, will lead to more driving which will then require more highways and...

Let’s get fiscally real

“Even under the most optimistic cost scenario, the (Western) Bypass never reaches economic break even. Under all other cost scenarios, it destroys significant value.” Charlottesville – Missing from much coverage of Charlottesville’s proposed Western “bypass” is the fiscal reality of taxpayers building a $200+ million highway for some $8 million in public benefits. Governor Robert...

The Merry Go Round

With Shell’s Arctic Ocean drilling rig aground near Kodiak, Alaska, doesn’t it seem time to admit that even with all the great new, expensive technology we humans build, Mother Nature is still, and always will be, the stronger force? Shell, after spending $300 million upgrading the Kulluk rig, desperately wanted to show the planet that...

Growth’s Catch 22

With municipalities across America questioning the value of business tax incentives, one community is completing the sixth study illustrating the true costs and benefits of the prevailing political mantra, “Growth is good.” Backed by Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population, this latest work finds that to cover the cost of new roads, schools, water and...