21st Century Transportation

Two stars of the hit show Mad Men teamed up with OSPIRG and the humor website Funny or Die to produce a video, Mad Fast Trains, pitching high-speed rail.

MORE RELIABLE, FASTER TRAINS ON TRACK

Improving passenger rail is an essential step to keeping commuters and commerce moving in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Already, rising gas prices and rush hour traffic are straining Oregon commuters’ pocketbooks, patience and productivity. And with more than a million new residents expected to move to the state over the next twenty years, these problems will only worsen.

Inconvenient schedules and frequent delays prevent most Oregonians from using the Amtrak train between Eugene and Seattle. But state officials estimate that ridership in Oregon would double with only modest improvements to the existing rail service.

A faster, more reliable train would not only give commuters a better choice to get around the Willamette Valley, it could also save taxpayers money. The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates that the projected decrease in highway traffic from faster and more reliable rail service could save Oregon as much as $20 billion in fuel savings, fewer car accidents, and reduced highway maintenance. 

OSPIRG is advising the state on how to fund critical improvements and teaming up with business leaders, local officials, and the public to persuade lawmakers on the merits of improving rail service. 

Issue updates

A new way to go

America is in the midst of a technological revolution … and a big shift in our transportation habits. Over the last 15 years, the Internet and mobile communications technologies have transformed the way Americans live and work. During that same period, growth in vehicle travel slowed and then stopped, with Americans today driving about as much on average as we did in 1996.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report Shows Oregonians Are Driving Less

Oregonians have cut their per-person driving miles by 11.05 percent since 2005, while the nation’s long term driving boom appears to have ended, according to a new report from the OSPIRG Foundation. Oregon’s decline is driving is well ahead of the national average of 6.87 percent.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Moving Off the Road

After sixty years of almost constant increases in the annual number of miles Americans drive, since 2004 Americans have decreased their driving per-capita for eight years in a row. This report for the first time presents government data on state-by-state driving trends. It analyzes which states drive more miles per-person, which states have reduced their driving the most since the end of the national Driving Boom, and how state changes in driving behavior correspond to other changes such as growing unemployment or urbanization. 

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

As the number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the OSPIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. 

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over. The time has come for America to hit the “reset” button on transportation policy—replacing the policy infrastructure of the Driving Boom years with a more efficient, flexible and nimble system that is better able to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Transportation

Good news for rail today

U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced $2B in high-speed rail grants today, including over $16 million for Oregon and Washington. Today’s announcement is another step towards reducing our dependence on four dollar a gallon gas, giving us better alternatives to being stuck in traffic, and fewer dollars wasted widening highways and adding runways.

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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Mad Men Make "Funny or Die" Video for High-Speed Rail

Two lead actors from the hit television show Mad Men throw their support behind high-speed rail in a humorous new online video posted today on Funnyordie.com.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Oregon must relax limits on use of money for road work

This opinion piece by former ODOT Rail Director Claudia Howells examines our broken transportation funding system.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Northwest Rail Projects Receive Federal Money

Oregon receives almost $2 million in federal funding for our high-speed rail corridor.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Higher-speed rail: Interstate 5 corridor ideal for a fast track to a better Oregon

Former Salem Mayor Janet Taylor writes an opinion piece for the Oregonian about how improving our rail system in Oregon will help commuters and create jobs.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over. The time has come for America to hit the “reset” button on transportation policy—replacing the policy infrastructure of the Driving Boom years with a more efficient, flexible and nimble system that is better able to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century.

> Keep Reading
Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Transportation and the New Generation

Federal and local governments have historically made massive investments in new highway capacity on the assumption that driving will continue to increase at a rapid and steady pace. The changing transportation preferences of young people—and Americans overall—throw those assumptions into doubt. The time has come for transportation policy to reflect the needs and desires of today’s Americans—not the worn-out conventional wisdom from days gone by.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Tax, Transportation

High-Speed Rail: Public Private or Both?

A report by OSPIRG Foundation's national office assessing the prospects, promise and pitfalls of public-private partnerships.

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

How Speculation is Affecting Gasoline Prices Today

Excellent report by the Political Economy Research Institute

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Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

Disproves the common misperception that road building is paid for by user fees, otherwise known as the federal gas tax.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform, Transportation

New research: speculation adds 83 cents a gallon to gas prices | David Rosenfeld

Without the influence of large-scale speculative trading on oil in the commodities futures market, the average price of gasoline at the pump in April would have been $3.13 rather than $3.96.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Rail: Neither Right Nor Left, But Forward | David Rosenfeld

From the Frontier Group blog: "I hate to call attention to George Will’s latest column – a psycho-political portrait that seeks to explain why liberals supposedly adore high-speed rail. It’s an asinine column, for sure. But it is asinine in a particularly instructive way. For while Will seeks to shine a light on the workings of the progressive mind, he winds up shining a light into his own – and into the minds of the current crop of rail haters."

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Blog Post | Transportation

"Rail means jobs" | David Rosenfeld

Another insightful blog post by US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, this time following a visit to Indiana, where rail equipment manufacturing is on the upswing, along with an increase in good-paying American jobs.

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Blog Post | Transportation

OPB & High Speed Rail | David Rosenfeld

I was on OPB’s Think Out Loud this morning talking about high speed rail. Big thanks to OPB for featuring this important topic. I had three short opportunities to comment, during which I made the following points...

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