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Old 12-24-2014, 11:57 AM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,715,982 times
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People don't realize what a tectonic shift this will be for cities. The FHWTF is broke. To fix it would mean to raise taxes beyond what is politically feasible (a 5 or 10 cent bump won't come close). Almost all the DOTs are operating deep in the red. There is no money for new construction and the aging infrastructure gets more expensive each day to maintain. A few trends to look to:

1. No new urban freeways. Those are history. The cost to barrel through a urban core and ROW acquisition far exceeds what is fiscally possible. Same goes true for roadway expansions. To do any project, the DOTs will have to confine themselves to existing ROW (if at all).

2. No new freeways. Almost all new roadways will be tolled. That's the only way to finance projects going forward.

3. The financial analysis on toll roads will ultimately be a lot more rigorous. These will involve PPP financings - there will be successes and failures and a lot of analysis spent on determining what makes a road a success or a failure. Over time this will weed out more bad projects in a way that pure public financing could never accomplish because it was never subject to the scrutiny of the market.

4. Much of the aging infrastructure will be abandoned rather than repaired and replaced. It's already starting, but this process will accelerate as the balance of power to determine these things shifts away from the DOTs. Success will breed success and this process will accelerate though the 21st Century (The Century of the City)

5. DOTs will find themselves shifting away from being rubber tire highway departments and return to being transportation departments - the balance will shift away from pure rubber tire single occupancy vehicle solutions and towards transit and other alternative modes for transportation.

6. DOTs will return lesser roads to municipalities. These are typically the state highways that turn into stroads through urbanized areas. In an effort to maintain money, control will be turned to Municipalities who will then have a lot more control over the character and nature of the stroads - look for road diets, muli-modal implementations and more creative uses of the ROW.

7. Finally - there will be a return to the original mission of the DOTs - connecting productive places together, not going through them - that will be returned to the Cities.

This is not a process that happens over night - some DOTs in full crisis mode are already doing many of these things, others will get there soon enough. But it's a process that will play out over decades. It'll take a 100 years of more to see how our Cities get transformed, but what a remarkable change they are in form.

Last edited by Komeht; 12-24-2014 at 12:27 PM..
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Old 12-24-2014, 12:43 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,806 posts, read 54,470,896 times
Reputation: 31111
You may be right but few of us will be around in 100 years to verify. Here the state has been unable to come up with a plan for several years and the current governor has come up with his own, a new plan to fund road improvements among other things to improve transportation. Whether it actually happens is anyone's guess.Meanwhile, Seattle has several road diets already and more planned, and some county roads are being returned to gravel, but they are still building new roads in the metro commute areas. In one case, it's an added lane but will be an express toll lane. Many are willing to pay a couple of dollars to avoid the congestion. Gov. Inslee wants new tax to fund $12 billion transportation plan | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

WSDOT - Project - I-405 - NE 6th to I-5 Widening and Express Toll Lanes
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:37 AM
 
12,299 posts, read 15,199,676 times
Reputation: 8108
The root cause of the problem is politicians are scared of raising the gas tax. Maybe the gas tax is obsolete anyway, as electric cars don't pay it. Institute a mileage fee, and have it vary by time traveled. As it is you have 8 lane highways used to capacity only five hours a day.
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Old 12-25-2014, 12:35 PM
 
28,441 posts, read 71,065,135 times
Reputation: 18396
Default Don't be doing a happy dance...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
People don't realize what a tectonic shift this will be for cities. The FHWTF is broke. To fix it would mean to raise taxes beyond what is politically feasible (a 5 or 10 cent bump won't come close). Almost all the DOTs are operating deep in the red. There is no money for new construction and the aging infrastructure gets more expensive each day to maintain. A few trends to look to:

1. No new urban freeways. Those are history. The cost to barrel through a urban core and ROW acquisition far exceeds what is fiscally possible. Same goes true for roadway expansions. To do any project, the DOTs will have to confine themselves to existing ROW (if at all).

2. No new freeways. Almost all new roadways will be tolled. That's the only way to finance projects going forward.

3. The financial analysis on toll roads will ultimately be a lot more rigorous. These will involve PPP financings - there will be successes and failures and a lot of analysis spent on determining what makes a road a success or a failure. Over time this will weed out more bad projects in a way that pure public financing could never accomplish because it was never subject to the scrutiny of the market.

4. Much of the aging infrastructure will be abandoned rather than repaired and replaced. It's already starting, but this process will accelerate as the balance of power to determine these things shifts away from the DOTs. Success will breed success and this process will accelerate though the 21st Century (The Century of the City)

5. DOTs will find themselves shifting away from being rubber tire highway departments and return to being transportation departments - the balance will shift away from pure rubber tire single occupancy vehicle solutions and towards transit and other alternative modes for transportation.

6. DOTs will return lesser roads to municipalities. These are typically the state highways that turn into stroads through urbanized areas. In an effort to maintain money, control will be turned to Municipalities who will then have a lot more control over the character and nature of the stroads - look for road diets, muli-modal implementations and more creative uses of the ROW.

7. Finally - there will be a return to the original mission of the DOTs - connecting productive places together, not going through them - that will be returned to the Cities.

This is not a process that happens over night - some DOTs in full crisis mode are already doing many of these things, others will get there soon enough. But it's a process that will play out over decades. It'll take a 100 years of more to see how our Cities get transformed, but what a remarkable change they are in form.

The "broke-ness" of State Department of Transportation will likely hurt efforts to improve all kinds of infrastructure -- everything from sidewalks along roadways to recreational trails and bicycle paths have been funded by DOT dollars.

Similarly if muncipalities are forced to pick up the tab for roadways the odds of smart efforts at regional cooperation to address the kinds of not just transportation issues but also multi-city land use go down -- the funds for transit have been used for everything to wetland preservation to regional destinations like riverwalks and waterfront piers...

The "car haters" might look around and realize that the bulk of motor fuel taxes do go toward roadway maintenance (which is darned good use of funds) but also fund professional staff at state level DOT offices that have training in a huge range a valuable skills -- I have met more DOT employees with advanced degrees in landscape architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, preservation and even conservation than any other governmental office...
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Old 12-25-2014, 04:46 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,715,982 times
Reputation: 2538
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
The "broke-ness" of State Department of Transportation will likely hurt efforts to improve all kinds of infrastructure -- everything from sidewalks along roadways to recreational trails and bicycle paths have been funded by DOT dollars.

Similarly if muncipalities are forced to pick up the tab for roadways the odds of smart efforts at regional cooperation to address the kinds of not just transportation issues but also multi-city land use go down -- the funds for transit have been used for everything to wetland preservation to regional destinations like riverwalks and waterfront piers...

The "car haters" might look around and realize that the bulk of motor fuel taxes do go toward roadway maintenance (which is darned good use of funds) but also fund professional staff at state level DOT offices that have training in a huge range a valuable skills -- I have met more DOT employees with advanced degrees in landscape architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, preservation and even conservation than any other governmental office...
1. The fact of the matter is the DOTs are broke and there is absolutely no easy fix - yet stuff still has to get done. The OP deals with the realities of that situation.

2. Municipalities will be shouldering additional costs. They'll also have more control. Many of them will make radically different decisions.

3. This has nothing to do with "car hate". I love cars. Car dependency is a terrible thing. I love beer - but alcoholism is abhorrent. Get the difference?

4. That DOTs employ a whole lot of architects, planners, engineers etc. is without question - they're massive organizations that have huge impacts in all 50 states and through thousands of American cities. So yeah, obviously they employ a lot of folks. And a lot of what they do is great work. But when DOTs entered the cities and brought the highways to the urban cores they made an enormous mistake and we let them do so. A big part of the story of transportation in the 21st century will be the gradual undoing of that mistake.
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Old 12-25-2014, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,068 posts, read 16,085,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
The root cause of the problem is politicians are scared of raising the gas tax. Maybe the gas tax is obsolete anyway, as electric cars don't pay it. Institute a mileage fee, and have it vary by time traveled. As it is you have 8 lane highways used to capacity only five hours a day.
Wear and tear doesn't care what time you drive. Implementing congestion fees for peak times would make more sense. Also, it needs to vary with axle weight because that's really what determines wear and tear. Even though my Prius gets 50 mpg, I'm actually subsidizing people in their Suburbans that get 15 mpg. Generally the Fourth Power Law is used. Suburban weighs ~5,600 pounds, Prius weighs 3,000.
(5,600/3,000)^4, Suburban does roughly 12 times as much road damage as my Prius does.

Also there's not really a good one-size solution. Many places like Manhattan or San Francisco (especially Manhattan) basically treat cars as cash cows with heavy tolls and parking taxes. That's fine because they're dealing with congestion problems. Out where I live, however, that doesn't really exist. They're doing a ton of roadwork right now on the main highway that goes through town which causes lots of traffic but normally it's not that bad. It might slow down slightly but there's not hours of bumper to bumper traffic everyday.
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:04 PM
 
1,774 posts, read 1,836,152 times
Reputation: 2701
Being broke generally doesn't lead to more rational decisions.
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
328 posts, read 254,084 times
Reputation: 276
All of this just because people don't want to raise taxes -- for infrastructure of all things!

The stubbornness of politicians is harming critical services from going through, and like stated above, DOTs are extremely important and them running out of money is not a good thing for anybody, let alone competing visions of a transportation future.
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Old 12-27-2014, 08:11 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,834,426 times
Reputation: 9769
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Wear and tear doesn't care what time you drive. Implementing congestion fees for peak times would make more sense. Also, it needs to vary with axle weight because that's really what determines wear and tear. Even though my Prius gets 50 mpg, I'm actually subsidizing people in their Suburbans that get 15 mpg. Generally the Fourth Power Law is used. Suburban weighs ~5,600 pounds, Prius weighs 3,000.
(5,600/3,000)^4, Suburban does roughly 12 times as much road damage as my Prius does.
The Fourth Power law really only applies to heavy vehicles (tens of thousands of pounds per axle). It's not valid for lighter weights; basically there are modes of pavement damage which simply do not occur for anything as light as a Suburban. If a road is built to carry trucks, road wear from cars (whether Suburbans or Priuses) is negligible. I'm unaware of studies to determine relative road damage between light vehicles on less-strongly-built roads.
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:38 PM
 
28,441 posts, read 71,065,135 times
Reputation: 18396
Default Don't waste your time...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
The Fourth Power law really only applies to heavy vehicles (tens of thousands of pounds per axle). It's not valid for lighter weights; basically there are modes of pavement damage which simply do not occur for anything as light as a Suburban. If a road is built to carry trucks, road wear from cars (whether Suburbans or Priuses) is negligible. I'm unaware of studies to determine relative road damage between light vehicles on less-strongly-built roads.
It is pointless to use scientific logic with Prius owners... Smuggy San Francisco Town - Video Clip | South Park Studios
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