My Word: Building on our rural creative class economy a better bet

From the Times-Standard:

“…[I]f Caltrans’ Richardson Grove Highway 101 and the Del Norte Highway 199/197 road “widening” Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) oversize truck access projects are not cancelled, the international freight “port with rail” dreamers will continue to be a drain on public resources that could be better utilized elsewhere….

Supporters of an international port with rail and oversize STAA trucking have for too long followed a locally unsuitable economic model that holds that industrial port development must be the primary economic driver for creating jobs and generating income for recreation and conservation improvements. The empirical evidence certainly does not support that model….

The Times-Standard reported that Humboldt was ranked second best county in the U.S. by the “natural amenities index.” (“Second best county in US,” Aug. 19, Page A3.) When two paths diverge in the woods, you can’t take both. Let’s direct transportation resources to enhance development of our rural creative class economy, not through-route access for oversize trucks in a futile pursuit of unsustainable goals.”

Read the full op-ed.

Former Trucking Industry Executive: “The Trucks Are Killing Us”

As we consider the oversized truck access projects at Richardson Grove and Highways 199/197, we would do well to remember that more large trucks result in more serious accidents.  A former trucking industry executive writes in the New York Times:

“…More people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all of the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years, if past trends hold true. And still Congress continues to do the trucking industry’s bidding by frustrating the very regulators the government has empowered to oversee motor carriers.

In recent months, Congress has pursued a number of steps to roll back safety improvements ordered by federal regulators. It has pushed to allow truck drivers to work 82 hours a week, up from the current 70 hours over eight days, by eliminating the requirement that drivers take a two-day rest break each week; discouraged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from investing in wireless technology designed to improve the monitoring of drivers and their vehicles; and signaled its willingness to allow longer and heavier trucks despite widespread public opposition. Congress also wants to lower the minimum age for drivers of large trucks that are allowed to travel from state to state to 18, from 21….”

Read the full op-ed.


State Legislature’s Special Session on Transportation Funding

According to Governor Brown’s administration, California’s current transportation infrastructure deficit is $59 billion.  We’re glad that the issue is getting some much-needed attention, and hopefully lawmakers will find a responsible way to pay for some of that needed repair and maintenance.  But one thing is clear.  Regardless of what lawmakers do during the special session, we can no longer afford to build costly road expansion projects which will increase the repair and maintenance deficit, as the oversized truck projects at Richardson Grove and on Highways 199/197 will do.

From the Times-Standard:

“…Brown’s administration says California faces a $59 billion backlog in infrastructure repairs over the next decade. He called a special session of the state Legislature to address it, but lawmakers have been slow to act….

Lawmakers from both parties agree the state’s transportation tax structure is out of date and heavily reliant on a gas tax that has not increased in 20 years. Today’s cars are more fuel efficient and electric car drivers pay little to maintain the roads they drive on.

Transportation advocates and lawmakers have proposed a variety of fixes, including hiking fees on gas, vehicle registration and licenses; re-directing money used to pay off state debt back to road projects; and converting carpool lanes into paid tollways. Brown’s administration is studying how to eventually tax drivers for miles traveled instead of gas guzzled….

“We need to fix our crumbling infrastructure. At the same time, we need to reduce our carbon footprint. It’s not one or the other,” said de Leon, D-Los Angeles…”

Read the full article.

Upcoming Event: CRTP Task Force Meet & Greet!

The local volunteer Task Force which guides the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP) is holding a public meet-and-greet at Eureka’s Chapala Café on Wednesday, August 26th, from 5-7pm.   This will be an informal occasion for anyone interested in the issues to talk about CRTP’s plans and priorities as well as other local transportation topics.  If you come, we encourage you to pay for any food or drinks at the register downstairs before proceeding to the event upstairs.  We hope to see you there!

What: CRTP Task Force Meet & Greet

Where: Chapala Café (201 Second St, Eureka)

When: Wednesday, August 26th, from 5-7pm