Land use regs, TX vs. CA immigration, congestion reduction, and a compelling philosophy of toll roads
It's time again to clear out the small stuff stack with a miscellaneous set of items for your weekend perusal. If you only read one, make it the last one.
- Reason's blog on how smart growth laws backfired in Maryland and actually promoted sprawl.
- More Reason on the growing acceptance of High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.
- A very short post by Virginia Postrel on why immigrants are better for Texas than California (which is probably why we seem to be more comfortable with immigration here than in Cali).
- Bob Poole at Reason on the new transportation mindset that gets beyond the "congestion paradigm" that "we can't build our way out." He talks about Georgia, Washington, and, of course, Texas:
"I'm pleased to say, however, that this Congestion Paradigm is beginning to crack. The revolution began in Texas soon after the turn of the century, when Dell Computer announced that it would no longer expand its operations in Austin (its headquarters) because traffic congestion there had become intolerable. This proved to be a wake-up call, leading the Governor's Business Council to research the issue and draft the Texas Metropolitan Mobility Plan. This revolutionary document declared that MPO plans should set aggressive targets for reducing congestion well below today's levels. And they should develop realistic estimates of what it would cost to accomplish that, as a guide to finding the resources to do the job (which is what led to the current preference for tolling in Texas). Projects would be selected by crunching the numbers to determine which ones delivered the greatest reduction in congestion per dollar spent. Thus, there was no bias against transit projects, if they could deliver cost-effective congestion reduction. But most of the evidence suggested that what was needed was large-scale additions of highway capacity."
- A San Francisco Chronicle op-ed on the high price of land-use planning out there.
"These restrictions included urban-growth boundaries, purchases of regional parks and open spaces and various limits on building permits. These regulations created artificial land shortages that drove housing prices to extreme levels. Today, residents of Houston, Texas, can buy a brand-new four-bedroom, two-and-one-half bath home on a quarter-acre lot for less than $160,000. That same house would cost you more than five times as much in Marin or Contra Costa counties, seven times as much in Alameda County, and eight to nine times as much in Santa Clara, San Mateo, or San Francisco counties."
- Finally, with my apologies to Erik: an excellent speech by Mike Krusee, chairman of the Texas state house transportation committee, laying out the logical philosophy for toll roads over the gas tax. It'll make you proud to be a Texan. It's concise too, so no excerpts here - please consider reading the whole thing.
Hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, and don't forget to take a short moment to remember the spirit of the holiday
. See you next week.