Transportation Expert Alan Pisarski\'s Presentation on Cap and Trade

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To the 2009 Highway Users Annual Meeting

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Transportation Expert Alan Pisarski\'s Presentation on Cap and Trade

  1. 1. AHUA ANNUAL MEETING 2009 The Right Road for America Alan E. Pisarski
  2. 2. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION POLICY 101 <ul><li>PLEASE BUY CARS – we need to stimulate jobs in a weak economy </li></ul><ul><li>BUT WAIT! </li></ul><ul><li>PLEASE DON’T USE THEM . They create Green House Gases and bad stuff. We have to coerce people out of their cars (maybe we could use them for lawn ornaments?) </li></ul><ul><li>BUT WAIT! </li></ul><ul><li>If they don’t use them there will be no gas tax revenue and no way to fund the transit that people will need after we force them from their cars. </li></ul><ul><li>Would you mind mailing a check for the gas tax you would have paid if you had used your car? </li></ul><ul><li>Please make payable to US Treasury ! </li></ul>
  3. 3. --THE REAUTHORIZATION -- THE PRESENT IMPASSE IS NOT NEW <ul><li>Whenever there is no money the talk is about federal roles and policy </li></ul><ul><li>Whenever there is no money the talk turns to “being innovative!” </li></ul><ul><li>When the money shows up the talk stops; we all go home and go to work </li></ul><ul><li>IF THE CONGRESS PASSED A 10¢ (or 5¢) a gallon gas tax we would call it a plan” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Next Reauthorization <ul><li>Finance, Finance, Finance </li></ul><ul><li>Tolling, congestion pricing disliked by leadership but few options </li></ul><ul><li>More afraid of gas tax increases </li></ul><ul><li>Is private sector still ready with $$$ </li></ul><ul><li>Devolution by Default ?? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Next Reauthorization <ul><li>Maybe reorg DOT away from modes to “functional structure” = intercity; metro </li></ul><ul><li>Metro mobility = transit, bike, walk </li></ul><ul><li>Intercity; HSR, tourism weak </li></ul><ul><li>“ Performance Based” </li></ul><ul><li>New focus on land use policies </li></ul><ul><li>Embrace Coercion! </li></ul>
  6. 6. ARE WE ON THE CUSP OF A NEW ERA? <ul><li>End of the Post-Interstate Interim? </li></ul><ul><li>Start of the what? </li></ul><ul><li>The Post-Post-Interstate Era! </li></ul><ul><li>A Crisis of Goals – A Crisis of Finance or just the usual problems? </li></ul><ul><li>Congress believes there is no problem so big it can’t be run away from! </li></ul>
  7. 7. THE FUNDING CONCEPT IS BEING LOST <ul><li>The system was to be funded by “user charges” paid into a Trust Fund </li></ul><ul><li>The fundamental principle: </li></ul><ul><li>Users should pay for their use of the system AND government should dedicate the funds to the care and improvement of the roads users ride on. </li></ul><ul><li>The entire concept, which has very effective controls built in, is being lost RAPIDLY! </li></ul>
  8. 8. Along with the funding concept we also got: <ul><li>A system capable of attracting support </li></ul><ul><li>-- and repelling diversions </li></ul><ul><li>The “flag-ship” of the national program </li></ul><ul><li>Now no such flag ship program exists </li></ul><ul><li>And it shows in the 3 “interim” reauthorizations since 1991 </li></ul><ul><li>A funding system without a clear national purpose </li></ul>
  9. 9. Slow Decay of User Principle <ul><li>Spending </li></ul><ul><li>Transit share </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancements </li></ul><ul><li>Earmarks </li></ul><ul><li>Local Needs </li></ul><ul><li>High Speed Rail </li></ul><ul><li>Revenue </li></ul><ul><li>$8 billion Trust Fund bailout </li></ul><ul><li>$6 billion Trust Fund bailout </li></ul><ul><li>$26 billion future bailout </li></ul>
  10. 10. Does the personal vehicle need defending? It doesn’t seem like it! <ul><li>The public doesn’t think so. </li></ul><ul><li>All trends support the personal vehicle. </li></ul><ul><li>In 40 years of commuting we added 66 million commuters and 70 million auto users! </li></ul><ul><li>The auto wins the market debate but not the policy debate </li></ul>
  11. 11. Today we have THE PERFECT POLICY STORM? <ul><li>Time of Intense Need for $$$$$ </li></ul><ul><li>Time Of Intense Anti-auto, Anti-mobility Plans and Policies </li></ul><ul><li>Time Of Strong Policy Cover by Pricing Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Result: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Punitive Pricing in a “Good Cause.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline of User Fee as cornerstone to funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cash-Cow-ification of Tolls and User Fees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Few things are as frightening as when government can be seen to be doing good by taxing something. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. PROTECT THE FED USER FEE <ul><li>“… not only are we likely to be in the twi-light between gas taxes and in-vehicle pricing for a long time – it is good that we will be in that twi-light for a long time.” AEP </li></ul><ul><li>The “Post-Gas Tax Era” is not yet! (20yrs?) </li></ul><ul><li>We must prepare for it but continue to defend what we have. </li></ul><ul><li>$1.7 billion per penny still has the power to attract sharks. </li></ul><ul><li>Accepting general revenue dilutes user charge concept. </li></ul>
  13. 13. HIGHWAY TRUST FUND FEDERAL GEN REV $$$$ TO HTF HTF $$$ TO TRANSIT THE NEW REALITY!
  14. 14. HIGHWAY TRUST FUND FEDERAL GEN REV $$$$ TO HTF HTF $$$ TO TRANSIT WHY NOT THIS?
  15. 15. As long as Congress has the power to tax gasoline it must be dedicated to highway needs <ul><li>That sets the upper limit on fuel fees. </li></ul><ul><li>Without dedication there is no upper limit on national gas tax (see any European country). </li></ul><ul><li>Feds very efficient tax collector; hire them? </li></ul><ul><li>Continued diversion ends support for new fees. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no way to assure no federal gas tax –Firewall and RABA are the best we have! </li></ul><ul><li>Let the gas tax dwindle? Fit the program </li></ul>
  16. 16. The policy conflict = opposed thinking about the world <ul><li>Neighborhood </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter trips </li></ul><ul><li>Walk/bike </li></ul><ul><li>Land use solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>What’s freight? </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Public </li></ul><ul><li>Mass </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior change </li></ul><ul><li>Make it happen </li></ul><ul><li>Globally Integrated </li></ul><ul><li>Longer trips </li></ul><ul><li>Broad “community” </li></ul><ul><li>Choices </li></ul><ul><li>Market forces </li></ul><ul><li>Major role for freight </li></ul><ul><li>Mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Private </li></ul><ul><li>Personalized </li></ul><ul><li>Technological fix </li></ul><ul><li>Let it happen </li></ul>
  17. 17. The focus on changing behavior diverts us from the real issues <ul><li>Enhancing Economic Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Access To Workers; Access To Jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Mainstreaming Minorities </li></ul><ul><li>Improving Safety </li></ul><ul><li>Serving An Aging Population </li></ul><ul><li>Greater Freedom Of Mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure Reconstruction </li></ul><ul><li>More! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Summing up: threats & opportunities <ul><li>Threats </li></ul><ul><li>Policies to penalize </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dispersed jobs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dispersed households </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policies to promote </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher density </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Organized” society </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subsidies to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recentralize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote density </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs moving closer to skilled workers </li></ul><ul><li>Increased mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Promote greater job access </li></ul><ul><li>Live where you want work where you want </li></ul>There is no fear they will succeed but the waste in time and $$ will be disastrous
  19. 19. MY GOAL IS TO PRESERVE SOME SMALL PART OF THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND FOR HIGHWAYS! THANK YOU [email_address]
  20. 20. THANK YOU [email_address]
  21. 21. WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO CARE GREATLY ABOUT TRANSPORTATION! <ul><li>Transportation is all about reducing the time and cost penalties of distance on our economic and social interactions. </li></ul><ul><li>To the extent that nations succeed in that function they enable tremendous forces of economic opportunity, social cohesion and national unity. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Issues with public’s choices <ul><li>“ Too much” transportation spending </li></ul><ul><li>Low income are transportation poor </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation trade-off with housing loses </li></ul><ul><li>Job “sprawl” a problem </li></ul><ul><li>We all must come home to the center city </li></ul><ul><li>Is the public coerced by circumstances or just making dumb choices? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this serious and real or just reauthorization hype? </li></ul>
  23. 23. TWO REACTIONS TO $4 GAS <ul><li>HURRAY! </li></ul><ul><li>Schadenfreude! </li></ul><ul><li>Those suburbanites had it coming! </li></ul><ul><li>At last we are at “the Tipping Point” </li></ul><ul><li>Now there will be a rush to the city center of people and jobs </li></ul><ul><li>BOO ! </li></ul><ul><li>Less VMT = social and economic interactions lost </li></ul><ul><li>Now is the worst time to be cutting economic activity </li></ul>
  24. 24. What am I defending ? <ul><li>I am defending the personal vehicle/road system - where the owner determines when and where it goes and who goes along! </li></ul><ul><li>I am not defending the internal combustion engine or any particular motive power! </li></ul><ul><li>The term “Personal Vehicle” is right; Personal vs Mass! </li></ul>
  25. 25. SOME HISTORY <ul><li>Most histories mark 1956 as the start of the Interstate – actually the Interstate idea predates WW II. </li></ul><ul><li>1956 is the date that the funding plan was set in place by Congress. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Interstate story begins with a sketch by FDR in 1937
  27. 27. Refined throughout the war years
  28. 28. THE FUNDING CONCEPT <ul><li>The system was to be funded by “user charges” paid into a Trust Fund </li></ul><ul><li>The fundamental principle: </li></ul><ul><li>Users should pay for their use of the system AND government should dedicate the funds to the care and improvement of the roads users ride on. </li></ul><ul><li>The entire concept, which has very effective controls built in, is being lost RAPIDLY! </li></ul>
  29. 29. “ WHAT % OF TRAVEL IS FRIVOLOUS?” A c ongressional question to me; 1979 People travel for rational reasons <ul><li>All trips have an economic or social transaction at their end of value to the traveler (and to Society) </li></ul><ul><li>If your transportation goals can be met by everyone staying home – RETHINK YOUR GOALS! </li></ul>
  30. 31. HIGHWAY TRUST FUND FEDERAL GEN REV $$$$ TO HTF HTF $$$ TO TRANSIT

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