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OpenMarket: Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Year in Review 2018: Transportation Policy

    December 21, 2018
    CEI had a busy year in the transportation policy trenches. We worked at the federal, state, and local levels on a variety of projects. Below are selected examples of the work we did this year to inject free-market ideas into the generally command-and-control world of transportation.
  • American Association for Justice Places Trial Lawyer Interests over Saving Lives

    December 7, 2018
    The bipartisan AV START Act would create the first national highly automated vehicle regulatory framework in the U.S. This legislation is necessary to speed deployment of lifesaving self-driving cars, which offer the promise of greatly reducing road fatalities by eliminating the driver error and misbehavior that is currently responsible for more than 90 percent of automobile crashes.
  • Cathy Chase's AV START Act Flip-Flop

    November 30, 2018
    Cathy Chase, now the president of the lobby group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, was previously a strong supporter of the Senate’s bipartisan AV START Act (S. 1885)—before she was against it. The AV START Act is companion legislation to the House’s SELF DRIVE Act (H.R. 3388), which unanimously passed the House by voice vote in September 2017.
  • Draft Legislation Proposes Transition from Renewable Fuel Standard to High-Octane Fuel

    November 30, 2018
    In a sweeping effort to change the way Washington regulates both fuels and vehicles, Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Bill Flores (R-TX) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment have released a discussion draft of new legislation entitled the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act.
  • Rubberstamping Regulations Is Not Consumer Protection

    November 29, 2018
    Earlier this week, Tribune Publishing’s syndicated travel writer Ed Perkins criticized the appointment of CEI’s Fran Smith to the newly reconstituted Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • CEI Comments on Possible Federal Automated Vehicle Pilot Program

    November 27, 2018
    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in response to its advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the Pilot Program Collaborative Research on Motor Vehicles with High or Full Driving Automation.
  • New Federal Railroad Administration Rule Can Help Reduce Passenger Train Costs

    November 21, 2018

    Today, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published its long-awaited final rule to modernize passenger railcar crashworthiness standards. When it takes effect on January 22, 2019, the new rule will allow passenger rail agencies to adopt railcars designed with crash energy management (CEM) techniques.

    CEM refers to crumple zones designed to absorb the energy of a collision. Until now, U.S. passenger railcars were required to meet “buff strength” crashworthiness standards related to railcar integrity, engineer seat integrity, and anticlimbing mechanisms to prevent telescoping—the deadly phenomenon in which a railcar “climbs” into the railcar in front of it when a crash suddenly halts a train’s...

  • Dockless Bikes, E-Scooters, and Urban Transportation Policy Hypocrisy

    November 13, 2018
    In August 2017, I wrote about the municipal government cronyism and monopoly franchise agreements driving the controversy over unsubsidized dockless bikesharing companies. In the rapidly evolving world of privately financed urban micromobility, electric scooters have now joined dockless bikesharing at the center of the debate. Here, municipal cronyism also appears to have evolved from protecting subsidized monopoly providers into classic shakedown efforts.
  • Will New Congress Seek Reforms to Highway Taxation?

    November 7, 2018

    Could the 116th Congress be the perfect storm for mileage-based user fees? With a divided Congress and with the current surface transportation law expiring at the end of September 2020, shoring up the Highway Trust Fund with user fee alternatives to fuel taxes could be a bipartisan affair.

  • Can Self-Driving Taxis Reduce Urban Poverty?

    November 1, 2018

    In last year’s omnibus spending package, Congress allocated up to $1.5 million to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to conduct a study on the workforce impacts of automated vehicles (AVs). USDOT recently requested comments on the scope of this study and I have submitted comments on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in response.


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