December 16, 2014
A new poll from Benson Strategy Group and SKDKnickerbocker found that 67 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gasoline tax by 15 cents, or an 80 percent increase from the current 18.4 cents per gallon tax. This is broadly in line with previous polls that found Americans strongly oppose fuel tax increases.
But this poll posed a question that is nominally on the table. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the Update, Promote, and Develop America's Transportation Essentials (UPDATE) Act, which would increase the federal gasoline excise tax 14.9...
December 12, 2014
Earlier this week The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell suggested that new entrants in the transportation market, like Uber, should face greater government regulation—despite having fueled much of their initial success by their ability to offer services free of existing taxi regulations. She’s right that commercial enterprises do need a form of regulation that offers corrective discipline, but she’s incorrect that that discipline need be provided by the government.
Market competition itself provides the best corrective to consumer harm and dissatisfaction—if it is allowed to work. Firms in competition with each other must also simultaneously seek the cooperation of their customers,...
December 4, 2014
Yesterday, retiring Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisc.) joined wacky Rep. Earl "United Streetcar" Blumenauer (D-Ore.) to endorse increasing the federal gasoline tax by 80 percent. While it is true that federal fuel excise tax rates have not been increased since 1993, the public, Congress, and the Obama administration remain strongly opposed to gas tax hikes.
Like many Republicans seeking to justify their actions as conservative, the outgoing chairman of the Highways and Transit panel of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure invoked the spirit and deed of former President Reagan to make his case for highway user tax...
October 28, 2014S734, a bill that would recognize the legality of autonomous vehicle testing and operations in New Jersey. It appears to be largely based on a 2011 Nevada bill that later became law...
October 16, 2014
Earlier this week, I appeared on a Cato Institute panel titled, "The End of Transit and the Beginning of the New Mobility: Policy Implications of Self-Driving Cars." Spurred by the release of Cato Senior Fellow Randal O'Toole's latest paper, "Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles," I joined Randal and Adam Thierer (see Adam’s new paper here) of the Mercatus Center to discuss various vehicle automation public policy issues, including the impact on transit and urban growth, state licensing and operations regulation, federal vehicle safety regulation, and data...
October 2, 2014
Over at The Washington Post's Wonkblog, urban affairs reporter Emily Badger has a post up on the recently released U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2013 commuting data. The title of the post, "The share of Americans driving to work is declining for the first time in decades," seems to suggest that a smaller share of commuters are driving themselves to work. Badger relies almost exclusively on a Brookings Institution blog post that makes similar claims.
However, what neither blog post mentions is that between 2007 and 2013, the share of Americans driving to work alone actually increased.
September 15, 2014
In the past, I’ve noted that carve-outs for ridesharing providers leaves more innovative and disruptive business models—particularly future automated services—illegal. While self-driving on-demand transportation services are still a ways off, California’s Public Utilities Commission last week sent letters to Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar warning them that operating commercial carpooling services they have proposed is illegal. (See the letter to Uber here.)
This is not surprising. The narrow carve-out secured by Uber et al. in California, the “...
August 7, 2014
“Republicans love Uber. Young urban voters love Uber. And Republicans hope that means young voters can learn to love the GOP.”
That was the opening line of Byron Tau and Kevin Robillard’s piece for Politico after the Republican Party rolled out a pro-Uber petition/prospecting campaign. Notice I say “pro-Uber” rather than “pro-market” or “free market.” Here’s the GOP appeal in full:
Our country was built on the entrepreneurial spirit. Our cities deserve innovative and effective solutions without government getting in the way.
That’s what innovative businesses like Uber provide. And that’s why our cities need Uber....
August 6, 2014
Voters in Missouri yesterday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have imposed a 0.75 percent sales tax to fund transportation, with nearly 60 percent opposing a plan that would have increased annual state road funding by approximately $500 million. User fee advocates and progressive activists strongly opposed the measure, arguing that it was less efficient than direct and indirect user charges, and unfair for low-income urban residents to pay for the road use of wealthier households and businesses. These concerns have merit and supporters of sound transportation...
July 29, 2014
Earlier this month, Professor David Begg of Transport Times published a new report on automated transport technology focusing on the potential impacts on London. This is one of the first attempts to apply this new technology to urban areas in a systematic way.
The U.S. Institute of Electrical Engineers has estimated that up to 75 percent of all vehicles will be autonomous by 2040. Automated vehicles are the future but they are also quickly becoming the present. The chief concern among proponents is the potential for burdensome government regulation. It is absolutely critical lawmakers and regulators do not stand in the way of automated vehicles.
In his report, Begg explains, like many others have ...