Transportation costs

Dealing with transportation costs

HUD and DOT launch housing and transportation cost calculator

An impressive new web-based calculator of housing and transportation costs puts another nail in the coffin of the "drive-'til-you-qualify" mentality of house shopping.

The ‘driving boom’ is over

What does that mean for urban places, transportation, and policy?

Our trillion dollar dirty little secret

It’s time to recognize that we can’t maintain the roads we have now, and that continuing down the path of highway expansion is both unaffordable and unnecessary.

Transit-oriented, walkable places held real estate values better

A new research paper determined that residential properties near transit stations in five major cities across the US maintained their values significantly better than properties outside of "transit sheds."

The Next Generation DOT

While on an individual level it is clear that today's transportation agencies are filled with people who are professional and want to do the right thing, the institutional inertia is carrying them in wayward directions.

Highways paved in black gold

If Shakespeare were alive today, and no doubt opposed to government waste, he might say kill the highway lobbyists — or at least their wasteful projects. The Sierra Club came out with its list of 50 best and worst transportation projects based on environmental impact. The worst projects are astoundingly costly — frequently running into the billions of dollars. The widening of I-5 in San Diego County is priced at $4.5 billion. That's more than the nationwide TIGER competitive grant program over its entire life, including the $1.5 billion first-year stimulus allocation. Then there's the $2 billion South Mountain Freeway in Phoenix. And the Trinity River Parkway in Dallas, estimated to cost $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion. There are dozens of wasteful freeway projects detailed in this report. Some very good projects are also identified, which tend to have more modest price tags, such as the Capital Bikeshare and the Tucson streetcar line.

Housing and driving costs outpace incomes

The key to combat this trend is adopting policies and taking actions that provide affordable housing, and more housing, in location-efficient areas, the report says.

A wake-up call from Sandy

Hurricane Sandy tore into the East Coast in late October, and North America’s most densely populated island proved resilient. Despite a direct hit from a 14-foot storm surge, Manhattan suffered minimal loss of life. Seven flooded subway tunnels were operating within a week and much of the island never lost power.

Poverty and transportation: A way forward

Food, housing, and medical are all subsidized by the federal government for means-tested families. When it comes to transportation, however, state and local governments decide whether and how to aid the poor.

What is the federal role?

All things being equal, I would rather not have a federal transportation bill. Ask yourself why we have one in the first place. It is pure momentum from the early highway days.

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