Archive for gas

What Is It About Drivers v. Cyclists?

Want conflict? Just mention urban cyclists! Liveable Street’s blogger Steve Miller joins us to talk safety, the likelihood of jolly coexistence and more. He works for the Harvard School of Public Health and is known in transit as the founder of Hub on Wheels as well as on Boston and Cambridge’s bike advisory boards.

Fair warning: Mike is a cyclist, who often walks and occasional drives, but a cyclist first.

Miller has considerable knowledge in this area. He’ll talk about the turmoil and outlook.

If you can catch the show live, do it Tuesday, October 2nd at 2:30 PM here. Afterward, you can listen to or download the whole show back here, at the show URL or on our iTunes page.


Two-winged Trolley Podcast

With homework for left and right wingers, William S. Lind gave us his past-is-future vision of public transit. His pessimism and hope on the topic are available also at The American Conservative and in full at the book he co-authored, Moving Minds: Conservatives and Public Transportation.

While a famous commentator on military and foreign affairs issues for that other wing, Lind is a serious pragmatist. As an urbanist and strong public-transit advocate, he calls conservatives and progressives alike to task. Listen in as he explains why many conservatives disdain public transit (even if they ride commuter rail) and what lefties need to do to talk the language and roll in the ideas taht are meaningful to the other side.

He gave us the history and concepts of when America could move by rail inside all towns of 5,000 or larger and intercity across America. He decries how the interstate highway system and its cars-over-trains subsidies killed that. Yet, he notes that unlike the multi-billion-dollar high-tech alternatives, trolley and related systems in the millions are within reach. Moreover, much of the necessary infrastructure is still in place, like rights of way.

Unfortunately, Lind suspects that as a nation, we are likely to do the usual — wait until it’s panic time to fix this. Fortunately, he said we can do the trick affordably within a decade.

His vision has work for everyone and sounds worth the effort. The sweetness is that the vision is worthy of both conservatives and progressives.

icon for podpress  Bill Lind [59:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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d’Alessandro Goes for 9th CD Podcast

Dem Mac D’Alessandro joined us in a wee breather in his 21 cities and towns in 21 days campaign. He’s going after the 9th Congressional District and heads toward the 9/14 party primary against incumbent Rep. Steve Lynch.

The differences couldn’t be starker, at least in MA terms. The seat used to belong to liberal star Joe Moakley from 1973 through his death in 2001. Lynch, a conservative Democrat, has held the seat since. The incumbent has seemed out of touch with the delegation and electorate, supporting among other issues the Iraq War, efforts to defeat health-care reform, in favor repeatedly of the PATRIOT Act and more.

In contrast, D’Alessandro offers strong and detailed positions on schools and the environment as well as sweeping issues such as reviving the economy and national defense. He walked us through key aspects of how he’d work to increase employment, reduce military expenditures (particularly private contractor firm waste) and where he stands on foreign policy.

“I want to take an organizers spirit to Congress,” he told us. That has been a big part of his résumé and he spoke of advancing his ideas in Congress. For special interests/lobbyists for example, he said “they are having their way.”  He’d stand up to them and set an example, joining with the few doing that already. Likewise, he would call out those who favored the G.W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and funding current wars while saying we could not afford domestic programs.

He spoke of those who decry extending unemployment benefits in this deep recession and who say those are incentives for people not to seek work. “That’s hogwash!” he said. He wants to make sure we “keep our heads above water as an economy” as we work to add jobs.

Listen in as he describes his attitude toward a two-state Middle-East solution and more. On energy for one, he favors removing subsidies for petroleum producers. “If the market was allowed to act like a market..perhaps we’d have more fuel-efficient vehicles now,” he said.

In a ranging show, he covered a lot of topics. The only area where we were at a lot was the same. His campaign has not been able to get Lynch to debate. We haven’t had any response to getting him to speak with us and you.

icon for podpress  Mac d'Alessandro [57:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Dukakis and the T Podcast

Mike  DukakisHot stuff from the Duke today on the T. Former Gov. Mike Dukakis joined us to talk about the MBTA specifically and mass transit in general. He is a huge public-transit advocate and the T flourished in his two terms as governor. He has answers and ideas.

One big thing he thinks we progressives can do is to advocate for our legislators to reasonably fund the T. It has teetered under mismanagement and staggered under overpowering debt for some time. Gov. Dukakis (now distinguished political-science professor at Northeastern) says the right start is to apply a 6¢ to 9¢ gasoline tax to the T and drop that failed notion of a never ending growth spiral of a sales tax.

The Duke speaks of a steel interstate for modern times, that is,  a fast, frequent system of intracity and intercity rail. As well as the predictable environmental and other benefits, it sees this as a jobs action when the state and nation need it the most. In fact, he said that his administrations’  10¢ for transportation efforts was just that.

Listen in as he explains how we have all the highways we need and that we’re “not going to build our way out of the highway mess.” Instead, “if you want a first-class public transportation system,you got to pay for it.”

He has high hopes between MA and federal effort, we’ll be able to do just that.

icon for podpress  The Duke Takes the T [54:24m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Transportation Futures Podcast

“The days of highway expansion in Massachusetts are over,” declares James Aliosi, who stepped down last month as Secretary of Transportation. He said now is the time to act and particularly to level the playing field by developing passenger rail and public transit.

In our podcast today, he ticked off such benefits as sparking industrial development and job creation, improved public health and safety, and increased energy security. He figures that the federal government under President Barack Obama is ripe for aiding just such development. What we need here is a coalition of the affected group in all those areas, including transit specific, health, our legislative and executive branch leaders, energy and more.

We discussed some of the key issues in his 12-page exit letter he sent to Gov. Deval Patrick. These include funding rail projects, getting the MBTA solvent, shaking votes and funding from the legislature to enable transportation improvements, and making multi-modal transit practical for all of us.

Aloisi is not shy about proposing innovations. He’s a proponent for VMT (vehicle miles traveled) payments, as proven in other states. That is big here, where the legislature is frightened of raising the gas tax to pay for existing highway needs, much less 21st Century problems. He also talked about the  leadership and support he had from Lt. Gov. Tim Murry on making commuter and freight rail real and viable for us.

He calls for courage and leadership. Those should be on the part of the transportation and other activists he worked with and hoped to empower as secretary. Also that would be our governor, lieutenant governor and a cadre of state and U.S. legislators who are champions of these goals. He also named commonwealth mayors who already fight for improved transit and equitable funding. He says that the public really hasn’t been broadly sold on this shift, but that they are hungry for such change and for the leadership to get us there.

We dealt with funding issues, which are at the core of many of our transit woes here. He has no patience with what he calls the gimmicks, like refinancing unmanageable T debt. He calls that delaying the day of reckoning and hiding the problem so the the public isn’t aware of it and our lawmakers don’t have to deal with it. Instead, he said there needs to be a restructuring of that debt (including relief of the $2 billion Big Dig portion laid on the T, with that VMT and some combination of sales-tax allocation to make the system workable).

He calls for public pressure and now, not in five or two years. Listen in as he talks about what has to be done. Many progressives can bring these issues to their own organizations and be part of that catalyzing coalition he envisions.

icon for podpress  Transportation Futures [59:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


3rd Suffolk: Candidate Passoni Podcast

Mike, Lynne and Ryan chat with 3rd Suffolk Candidate Susan Passoni, one of six candidates vying for the Special Election to fill Sal DiMasi’s old seat. Susan is a long-time resident of Boston’s South End, one of the several neighborhoods in this ethnically and socio-economically diverse district. Other parts include slices of the North End, Beacon Hill, Chinatown and even Roxbury. Her background is both as a very active community organizer, serving on many local education and community boards, as well as a longtime research analyst in finance.

On the show, she talks about reasonable measures to raise revenue, reforming home rule policy so cities and towns are able to make even basic decisions without needing state approval, as well as a great deal on education reform. Plenty of policy details abound in the 30 minute show.

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [33:05m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Stimulation & Gas, the Podcast

Pardon the first few minutes of the show – Ryan was only blabbering because he was trying to get Lynne and Mike on through some technical difficulties. Doing two things at once is not easy, especially when one involves fixing computers and the other talking politics while introducing a show!

What’s up with the stimulus bill? How is it impacting Massachusetts? What about the gas tax? Mike’s thoughts, since he missed last week? The VMT chip? There was even some on casinos and the Academy Awards.

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [55:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Lotsa Gas Podcast

Today, Lynne and Ryan chat up Governor Patrick’s gas tax proposal – or lack thereof, according to the Globe’s latest. The original plan, leaked last night, called for a 27 cent gas tax increase, 11 cents of which would go toward the MBTA. It was unclear, however, what the impact would be on the tolls. This paragraph was especially frustrating:

The Highway Division would oversee all state-owned roads and bridges, except for Department of Conservation and Recreation parkways and bridges and the Tobin Bridge. It would continue to collect tolls at the Boston Harbor tunnel crossings, as well as the state borders with New York and Connecticut.

This may help explain why the Governor backtracked today, saying it was just one of many plans he’s currently contemplating, with gas tax increases ranging from 5 cents to 29. LeftAhead thinks a large gas tax is in order, but it must be smart and well done – and it’s got to get rid of the unfair tolls as well as increase transportation spending beyond the status quo.

icon for podpress  Lots of Gas [42:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download