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.
The Trump administration is making some pretty outlandish claims to justify its roll back of the nation’s most effective program at fighting climate change. Asserting that stronger fuel economy standards make our roads less safe, the administration moved last week to weaken Obama-era clean car standards -- but their claims just aren’t true.
Highway projects are notorious for wasting taxpayer dollars. Now, a new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group identifies nine wasteful highway expansion projects across the country, slated collectively to cost at least $30 billion.
America’s infrastructure is in rough shape. Many of our roads, bridges and transit systems are aging and in need of repair.
Yet, year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and 21st century transportation priorities.
The adoption of large numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) offers many benefits for cities, including cleaner air and the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicles are far cleaner than gasoline-powered cars, with lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower emissions of the pollutants that contribute to smog and particulate matter.
The stakes in the current infrastructure debate are high. But what matters most is not the size of any federal infrastructure package, nor how it is financed, nor even how many jobs it creates in the coming years. What matters most is building the infrastructure that will enable America to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
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