Transportation roundup 11/12/14

| November 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

Since a rash of pedestrian-killing accidents involving distracted cyclists, New York City lawmakers have been intent on banning cell phone use while biking. Oh, wait, all those accidents never happened? I guess it was just a slow day in city council. Anyway, if Mark Treyger gets his way, the ban is on. Bike activists are irritated, the <50% of New Yorkers who drive are gloating, the NYPD may or may not enforce it, and everything else will probably stay about the same. (h/t 7 Online.)

Government Executive says that California’s law S.B. 628 will enable local governments to use tax-increment financing – in other words, projections of higher property taxes as a means of financing new infrastructure projects. Those had better be some accurate projections, just saying. The headline says that the law “Could Unlock Billions of Dollars,” but it looks to us like it will just enable local governments to make even riskier bets. I’m no Libertarian, but Hayek’s remark comes in handy sometimes: “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” At least this isn’t happening in a state that’s prone to anything likely to shake up land values much.


San Francisco  1906 earthquake

“Hey, Otis. Whaddya say we finance the rebuilding with projections of future tax income based on assumptions of this never happening again?” From the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ever wonder why Uber is allowed to skirt regulations by operating without the ultra-expensive livery licenses that everyone else has to have? Ever wonder why there hasn’t been a nationwide crackdown on the service, given how many places its legality is at least up for debate? Might have something to do with regulatory capture – InTheCapital reports on FEC filings indicating that lawmakers in D.C. like Uber way, way more than they like regular old yellow cabs – they took “2,800 Uber rides valued at $100 or less in 2014, compared to 1,800 taxi rides in the same period.”

A detailed article in The Lane Report discusses Kentucky’s infrastructure woes – and how it’s being forced to turn to tolls to fund the state’s massive needs, which include numerous bridges over the Ohio River, bridges between northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, plus lots of roads and bridges in Louisville and elsewhere along the I-75 and I-65 corridors.

We’ve defended the high fines in Los Angeles for ages, but we might have to stop. According to CBS Los Angeles, the city has been issuing $73 tickets for street-cleaning violations on days when the cleaner never showed. up.

And a couple of urgent updates relayed to our can-and-string telephone bank from various state Departments of Transportation:

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