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.
Portland typically ranks near the top when it comes to cities with the best public transportation. But according to a new report from OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group, an expensive proposal to widen I-5 in the Rose Quarter would run counter to the city’s reputation. The $450 million project would increase highway lanes in the project area by 50 percent, with extra-wide shoulders to potentially accommodate an even higher-capacity freeway in the future.
America’s aging roads and bridges need fixing. Our car-dependent transportation system is dangerous, harms our communities, and is the nation’s leading source of global warming pollution. And more than ever before, it is clear that America needs to invest in giving people healthier, more sustainable transportation options.
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 key transportation priorities. Highway Boondoggles 5 finds nine new budget-eating highway projects slated to cost a total of $25 billion that will harm communities and the environment, while likely failing to achieve meaningful transportation goals.
For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.
When it comes to clean transportation, most U.S. states are underutilizing funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement with federal authorities for violating emissions standards.
Talk about a captive market: For most of us, it's next to impossible to work, shop or go to school without a car. Auto lenders are taking full advantage.
Transportation | U.S. PIRG
Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does our state rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?
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