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

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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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."

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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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News Release | OSPIRG Foundation

 

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.

Report | OSPIRG Foundation

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.

Blog Post

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.

Blog Post

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.

Blog Post

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 settlement scorecard

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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