The Antiplanner is in London today, starting a 16-day tour of Britain. Professionally, I’ll be looking at rail privatization and land-use issues. Personally, I hope to enjoy some cycling.
I should have wifi most days, so at least I’ll be able to post some photos of where I’ve been. I hope everyone has a wonderful time for the rest of the summer.
The Antiplanner will be doing “research” in several national parks over the next week or so, so postings will be light to non-existent. I’ll be back July 25.
Have a nice summer.
The Antiplanner is in San Francisco today to speak about housing affordability and land use regulation at the Free Market Road Show. If you are in the area, the event will be from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Infinity Club, 333 Main Street. I hope to see you there.
General Motors’ vision of the Interstate Highway System, from the cover of its 1956 annual report. Art by Melbourne Brindle. Click images for a larger view.
Ford Motor Company’s vision of the Interstate Highway System, from the cover of its 1956 annual report.
The Antiplanner will be in Littleton, Colorado tonight talking about housing issues. The event is open to the public and starts at 7 pm at the South Fellowship Church, 6560 South Broadway. If you are in the Denver area, I hope to see you there.
In the meantime, interesting news from Sacramento: the regional transit district is considering shutting down one of its light-rail lines for lack of ridership. As the Antiplanner noted two months ago, the agency has lost more than 26 percent of its transit riders in the past six years and has raised fares by 10 percent to make up for the lost revenue.
The light-rail line that it is considering shutting down is only 1.1 miles long–so it is more like a streetcar line–and it attracts just 400 riders per day. Despite this poor record, Sacramento still wants to build a 3.3-mile streetcar line.
The Antiplanner is at a conference in Montana for the rest of this week. In the meantime, take a look at this op ed about bus-rapid transit in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
In addition, a letter to the editor in the Washington Post by the Antiplanner’s faithful ally, Alan Pisarski, confirms a point made by the Antiplanner yesterday: Washington Metro’s problem is inefficiency and waste, not a shortage of tax dollars.
In the past week, the Antiplanner has visited Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and currently Romania. While I haven’t had time to sort through photos in detail, here are a few. I don’t pretend to be an expert on these countries based on my short visits, but I have learned quite a bit.
Many of the former communist nations received aid from the European Union and they have spent that money or local taxpayer money building roads and other infrastructure. Macedonia, however, has spent between 500 million and 750 million euros turning the center of its capital, Skopje, into a grand plaza surrounded by huge buildings reminiscent of Las Vegas. I was told that many of the buildings are shoddily constructed and probably won’t last a long time.
The Antiplanner is heading today for London, followed by a rail trip to Sofia, Bulgaria. From there, I’ll participate in a Free-Market Road Show, giving lectures in thirteen cities in Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans. That will be followed by a short rail tour of Britain where I’ll try to learn first-hand how well that nation’s rail privatization has worked.
I’ll try to keep up postings on the Antiplanner, but I’ll be spending a lot of time en route and so may miss some days. If you are in southern Europe, I look forward to seeing you during this trip.
The Antiplanner is flying today to Michigan, where I will speak tomorrow to students at Hillsdale College. Since I won’t be back before Thursday night, postings might be light this week.
Gabriel Roth, who turns 90 years young today, is a rock star among transportation economists, and a special inspiration for those of us who support reducing the federal government’s role in transportation. According to his C.V., Roth earned degrees in engineering from London’s Imperial College in 1948 and economics from Cambridge in 1954.
In 1959, he began research into improved road pricing systems. This led to his appointment to a Ministry of Transport commission that published a 1964 report advocating pricing congested roads in order to end that congestion.
In 1966, the Institute for Economic Affairs published his paper, A Self-Financing Road System, which argued that user fees should pay for all roads, and not just be used to relieve congestion. Roads should be expanded, Roth noted, wherever user fees exceeded the cost of providing a particular road, but not elsewhere.