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from The Great Debate:

A road paved with sand

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Bills have been introduced into both the House and the Senate to dismantle the federal government’s role in interstate highways and leave that massive responsibility to individual states. Tea Party adherents and other conservatives are applauding this effort. The Interstate Highway System, they argue, was largely completed in the 1980s and local communities should provide their own transportation needs.

The new transportation bill proposed by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Representative Tom Graves (R-Ga.) however, tragically misses the mark when it comes to our national infrastructure needs. Their legislation would abandon the highway trust fund just when our roads and highways are most in need of reconstruction, repair and expansion.

Though many voters are demanding a check on big government, our elected officials need to remember that the Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution a federal obligation to build and maintain a national infrastructure. Localizing responsibility for the Interstate Highway System is a complete disconnect from how the world’s largest economy works.

Our interstate highways benefit the entire nation, as well as individual regions and states. For example, the port of Hampton Roads, Virginia, is our nation’s sixth-busiest harbor for all types of goods into and out of the country. From Hampton Roads, I-64 brings commerce to West Virginia and Kentucky. It connects with I-81 to Tennessee and the West, and with I-95 to the entire eastern seaboard. Without this national transportation system, what chance would residents of West Virginia, for example, have to export the $9 billion in trade they now send around the globe?

from Counterparties:

The dark side of the TLC taxi court system

I had a little bit more complicated interaction with the Taxi and Limousine Commission court than Josh Barro.

Back in May, I was riding my bike home from work when a cab driver got really upset when I moved out of the bike lane to pass another cyclist, blocking him from accelerating quickly toward the impending red light.

from Shane Ferro:

The darker side of the TLC taxi court system

I had a little bit more complicated interaction with the Taxi and Limousine Commission court than Josh Barro.

Back in May, I was riding my bike home from work when a cab driver got really upset when I moved out of the bike lane to pass another cyclist, blocking him from accelerating quickly toward the impending red light.

from Breakingviews:

Review: Walking cure for cash-strapped U.S. cities

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By Martin Langfield
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Many American cities, from Detroit to San Bernardino, are under financial pressure. Jeff Speck, an urban planner, has a suggestion: make them more pedestrian-friendly. His book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time” makes the case. Provide it, and they will come.

from The Great Debate:

Ray LaHood was, surprisingly, the right man for the job

Urbanists were excited by President Obama’s election in 2008, as it heralded the first time in a century that a president would come from a major city. And Obama was not just a resident of Chicago, he had worked as a community organizer. On the campaign trail he promised groups such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors that – after years of neglect under Republicans – his tenure would feature federal cooperation with, and attention to, cities.

So they were dismayed when Obama picked Ray LaHood, a Republican congressman from Peoria, Illinois, for Secretary of Transportation. It appeared that Obama had subjugated urban interests to his desire to appear bipartisan.

from Reihan Salam:

For states, Washington’s budgetary seduction proves too hard to resist

Federalism’s days appear to be numbered. The reason isn’t so much that the power of the federal government has increased, though that’s part of it. Instead, the slow-motion death of federalism flows from the fact that a wide array of federal programs have seduced state governments into playing Washington’s tune.

This week, for example, Ohio Governor John Kasich, a conservative who first came to prominence as one of the foot soldiers of the 1994 Republican Revolution, announced that he supports the federal expansion of Medicaid, one of the central pillars of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). Opposition to ACA, and to the enormously expensive Medicaid expansion, had until recently been considered a conservative litmus test.

from Breakingviews:

Heathrow needs decisive capacity fix

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By Chris Hughes

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Heathrow spent more than 36 million pounds on improving its snow defences after the chaos in 2010. The result? More bad publicity for London’s hub airport when this winter’s first blizzards hit. Heathrow’s operational upgrades have failed to address the fundamental problems it faces.

from Breakingviews:

World’s new air giant taking off at turbulent time

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By Raul Gallegos
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Get ready for the world’s largest airline to take off this week. But don’t look north or east - the globe’s most valuable carrier is set to be South American. Chile’s LAN Airlines is on track to finally consummate its marriage to Brazilian rival TAM this Friday, almost two years after announcing the tie-up. But the promise of greater regional integration has fueled big expectations that economic headwinds will make difficult to meet.

from MacroScope:

NY Transit shies away from “revolution”

New York does not need to go the way of other countries and create multi-state bureaucracies to finance and build mass transit systems, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's chairman. Joseph Lhota, who runs New York City's buses, subways, commuter rail roads and major bridges and tunnels, dismissed that recommendation:

We're talking revolution - that is a complete waste of time. It just requires people to come together with a common purpose.

from The Great Debate:

A simple plan to relieve airport congestion

D.J. Gribbin, a former general counsel for the United States Department of Transportation, contributed to this column.

The bankruptcy filing by American Airlines a few months ago signals that the U.S. aviation industry is once again primed for dramatic change.  American Airlines is the last of the major U.S. carriers to seek bankruptcy protection, as most of the other big carriers have completed restructurings or mergers that have reduced the number of full-service carriers from seven in 2005 to just four today.

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