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Old March 24th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #4001
FM 2258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufonut View Post
405 is probably the most congested freeway in LA. What I would suggest for LA would be a different traffic management system. Instead of wasting 2 lanes on carpool why not divide traffic into local and express like they do in Canada ? Let cars and trucks traveling north and south across the state use the express lanes and locals commuting to/from work use local lanes. Imagine the flow of intra and interstate traffic without any bottlenecks (cars constantly merging from every freeway access point and exiting at every exit).

Example

Green - express / blue - local (take a look at the amount of 18 wheelers on both and spot the difference)


That idea will make a lot of sense. I could imagine sectioning off 30 miles of freeway in the center with no access to the city for express traffic.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #4002
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Here is a PDF maps that shows all the freeways that weren't built in(including the ones already built too)in LA county:http://www.cahighways.org/maps/2003scstatus.pdf

Last edited by LtBk; March 24th, 2009 at 08:13 AM.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:02 AM   #4003
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According to the information that you all guys posted, I got the idea that LA has such a massive freeway network because of its huge population, therefore the miles of freeways per capita is not so big. So, if we manage the same hypothesis; is the freeway network of Texas Cities (Dallas, Houston and San Antonio) big because of their population? or We could say that Texas Cities has a bigger miles of freeways Per capita than LA???
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Old March 24th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #4004
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[img]http://i43.************/212981u.jpg[/img]
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Old March 24th, 2009, 07:34 PM   #4005
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[img]http://i43.************/212981u.jpg[/img]
That is a great info. Thanks!!!....Where did you get that table???....
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:30 PM   #4006
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I made it myself, using statistics of the Texas Transportation Institute
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Old March 24th, 2009, 11:56 PM   #4007
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Chris, has anyone ever said that you're awesome before? Just for that, bikes on freeways!


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Old March 25th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #4008
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For the LA guy ripping on Cincinnati, the economy there is very strong. Also Cincinnati proper's population has stabilized at 330,000. The metro area has 2.1 million people and has strong growth by Midwestern standards (i.e. not having the "benefit" of thousands of illegals rushing across the border into your town each year).

While California and other such places are raising state income taxes, here in Ohio we're cutting them. We've also abolished corporate income taxes as well as inventory, plant, and equipment taxes.

Last edited by Paddington; March 25th, 2009 at 05:40 PM.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #4009
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The population has been dropping like a rock since 1950. We'll see if this 0.4% growth is a real turnaround or just an anomally. That's not really strong growth, but I guess it is by Rust Belt standards. Still doesn't make it very good. I could say the same things about Pittsburgh.

And besides, that other guy was saying how it's a good city because it doesn't have much traffic. Low traffic does not make a good city. In fact, in this case it is an indicator of an unhealthy city.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 07:00 PM   #4010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
The population has been dropping like a rock since 1950. We'll see if this 0.4% growth is a real turnaround or just an anomaly. That's not really strong growth, but I guess it is by Rust Belt standards. Still doesn't make it very good. I could say the same things about Pittsburgh.
You don't allow yourself to be troubled by facts, do you? PMSA population was 904,402 in 1950 and 1,597,352 in 2000--an increase of 77%. Admittedly, the population of Cincinnati proper has declined from 503,398 in 1950 to 364,040 in 2000, but this is easily accounted for by suburbanization. Cincinnati now has a bigger metropolitan area population than Cleveland.

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And besides, that other guy was saying how it's a good city because it doesn't have much traffic. Low traffic does not make a good city. In fact, in this case it is an indicator of an unhealthy city.
I never said Cincinnati was a good city simply because it had less traffic. I am not the one making broad claims like one city being on the rise while another is on the decline. I always try to specify the measure I am using, which is more than you have been doing. You have said Cincinnati is dying, but not how or why. I have said that Cincinnati has less traffic and approximately the same per capita income as LA, which are very valuable amenities, especially since Cincinnati has a much lower cost of living than LA.

The essence of your argument appears to be: Phattonez does not like Cincinnati. Therefore Cincinnati is dying. Phattonez likes LA. Therefore LA is on the rise. The reality is that LA has very serious quality-of-life problems (smog, heavy traffic, long commutes) and is located in a state which has chronic, and very serious, fiscal problems as a result of sustained high population growth and underinvestment in prudential goods like infrastructure. Like Cincinnati, LA has middling per-capita income, but the average Angeleno has much less spending power than the average Cincinnati resident. The main things LA has going for it are its climate and its standing as a world city (which no major city in Ohio can approach), which makes it an extremely attractive place to find employment in highly specialized fields.

FWIW, I have never lived in Ohio or California, but I have travelled in both states and have friends in both LA and Cincinnati.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 09:38 PM   #4011
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Originally Posted by J N Winkler View Post
You don't allow yourself to be troubled by facts, do you? PMSA population was 904,402 in 1950 and 1,597,352 in 2000--an increase of 77%. Admittedly, the population of Cincinnati proper has declined from 503,398 in 1950 to 364,040 in 2000, but this is easily accounted for by suburbanization. Cincinnati now has a bigger metropolitan area population than Cleveland.
I was using the figures of Cincinnati proper, yes. The city itself is dying, but suburbia is growing. I don't know if that's necessarily a good thing. And also, the percentage growth of the US during that time frame is 86%.

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FWIW, I have never lived in Ohio or California, but I have travelled in both states and have friends in both LA and Cincinnati.
I'm not going to let this turn into a city vs. city argument. This thread is about transportation and you focus instead on a tangent. The original argument I was making was that private companies taking care of transportation would be better because they would more efficiently allocate resources.

And as an aside, Cincinnati is nothing compared to LA. Why would you even try to make that comparison?
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Old March 25th, 2009, 10:58 PM   #4012
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Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
I'm not going to let this turn into a city vs. city argument. This thread is about transportation and you focus instead on a tangent.
Actually, no. This thread is about Interstate highways, full stop. Discussion of government finance, the merits of public versus private provision, etc. is technically off-topic.

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The original argument I was making was that private companies taking care of transportation would be better because they would more efficiently allocate resources.
That is a very standard free-market argument. The problem with it, which you have so far refused to acknowledge, is that markets will not allocate resources efficiently unless externalities are priced in. You also still haven't addressed the problem of consumer's surplus.

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And as an aside, Cincinnati is nothing compared to LA. Why would you even try to make that comparison?
I didn't bring Cincinnati into this argument--you did.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #4013
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post


[IMG]http://i43.************/212981u.jpg[/IMG]
Interesting data, Chris, thanks for this.

I still think that Hartford has a poor highway system even though this list makes look overbuilt compared to many other cities.

Other than I-84, I-91, and CT route 9, the majority of the rest of the highways in the metro area are just stub ends or small bypasses that were originally designed to be much bigger.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:07 AM   #4014
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The list represents facts about the lane mileage per 1000 inhabitants, but it doesn't reflect the network. An oversized part here can mean a bottleneck elsewhere and vice versa within an urban area.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:15 AM   #4015
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Originally Posted by J N Winkler View Post
That is a very standard free-market argument. The problem with it, which you have so far refused to acknowledge, is that markets will not allocate resources efficiently unless externalities are priced in. You also still haven't addressed the problem of consumer's surplus.
In other words, roads are paid for because of the growth they cause. It will causes an increase in tax receipts, right?

So the, if a private company does it and has tolls, won't that money which otherwise would have gone to the government instead be used to pay the toll? Wouldn't this system ensure that we only build roads that are worth it?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 01:10 AM   #4016
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In other words, roads are paid for because of the growth they cause. It will causes an increase in tax receipts, right?
A new road may cause an increase in tax receipts, but that has to be offset against the increased and long-term costs of maintenance and renewal. Betterment has never seriously been considered as a principal method of financing new roads, much less as a justification for building the roads in the first place, since about 1930. Roads are planned, designed, and built to save user costs. The main component of this is time spent travelling, but accident-related costs are also a factor. A road is justified if the money value of its users' time savings are equal to or greater than its construction and maintenance costs, even if the road does not increase tax receipts and in fact is a net drain on its owner's finances.

In some corridors it is possible to build, say, a turnpike which covers all its construction and maintenance costs, with a little left over as cash profit. But roads of this kind are only a small subset of the roads which are socially beneficial to build. There are plenty of corridors where users' time savings more than justify the cost of a new road, but it would lose money if built as a turnpike because not enough of the social savings can be converted into cash through tolls.

What this means is that if you adopt a deliberate policy of providing new roads through private means only, you forgo the social savings associated with roads which cannot profitably be operated as toll roads. In many cases these social savings, if converted into an annualized rate of return on investment, offer better yields than most stocks on the market. In a fairly large subset of these cases, this yield is insensitive to development which occurs as a result of the new road--in other words, we get the benefit whether or not new development occurs. (In many cases the benefit is locked in naturally because new development is either not possible or not economically feasible.)

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So the, if a private company does it and has tolls, won't that money which otherwise would have gone to the government instead be used to pay the toll? Wouldn't this system ensure that we only build roads that are worth it?
If that is your exclusive means of providing road infrastructure, it ensures that the only roads you build are ones that can turn a cash profit.

Toll roads are also highly inefficient. In the (fast disappearing) days of manual-only toll collection, about 1/3 of the revenue went into just collecting the tolls. Even with electronic toll collection this hasn't gone much below 10% of revenues. On top of this there is interest on the bonds, plus underwriting fees. The net result is that, in a moderately efficient car, the per-mile cost of a toll road is several times higher than the implicit per-mile cost of the gasoline tax, which provides more than 90% of the resources required to construct and maintain the untolled road system.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 04:54 AM   #4017
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In Ohio we have one of the largest and most well developed expressway networks, and we're still building new expressways despite having an essentially flat population. They're building a new expressway between Toledo and Ft. Wayne for example. Also US 30 is being upgraded to an expressway so Ohio will have 3 East-West routes. There's also work on US 33 and US 35.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #4018
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Too bad Ohio has a 65 mph limit, and I heard that OH cops are strict on speeding.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:30 AM   #4019
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Originally Posted by J N Winkler View Post
What this means is that if you adopt a deliberate policy of providing new roads through private means only, you forgo the social savings associated with roads which cannot profitably be operated as toll roads.
So the only social benefit I've heard you mention is time savings. Well the only problem with that is that these roads encourage people to live further from work than they otherwise would and subsidizes that long distance travel. That transportation is not cheap and it is a cost that we all pay through taxes. If zoning ordinances were ended and people allowed to live closer to work, this would not be necessary. This is where the problem begins. So I'm not sure that time savings is a worthwhile thing. Besides, people are willing to pay for that themselves.

Any other social benefits?

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Toll roads are also highly inefficient. In the (fast disappearing) days of manual-only toll collection, about 1/3 of the revenue went into just collecting the tolls. Even with electronic toll collection this hasn't gone much below 10% of revenues. On top of this there is interest on the bonds, plus underwriting fees. The net result is that, in a moderately efficient car, the per-mile cost of a toll road is several times higher than the implicit per-mile cost of the gasoline tax, which provides more than 90% of the resources required to construct and maintain the untolled road system.
First off, I'd really like to know where you're getting this 90% statistic from because I can't find it. And with toll roads, with more roads we get more efficiency and more internal competition. Plus as I said before this ensures that we are not wasting money on roads that are not really needed.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 04:17 PM   #4020
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So the only social benefit I've heard you mention is time savings.
That is one example of a social savings. There are others--reduced injury and loss of life from accidents, wear and tear savings, etc.

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Well the only problem with that is that these roads encourage people to live further from work than they otherwise would and subsidizes that long distance travel.
No, they don't necessarily do that. In many cases additional development is not possible because of geographical constraints, so a new road fixes an existing problem without inducing much additional traffic.

You are assuming that traffic levels are highly elastic with respect to the road capacity available to accommodate it. In certain very densely populated countries (e.g. the United Kingdom) this may be true, but in large parts of the US it is not. In large cities in California it may be true, but there are numerous areas in the hinterlands where it is not.

A subsidy is a direct transfer of resources from one group of people to another. This is not normally what happens when a new road is built. The money to build it is collected from the users through an excise tax on motor fuel. When it is built, the social savings expand the resources available, and some of the benefits accrue to the users, while others spill over to the general population. Wealth is being created, not being transferred.

In situations where new roads seem to be implicated in additional development, this is typically because the population is already expanding. Development will occur, and population will expand, whether new access-controlled highways are available to service that development or not. Development which lacks access-controlled highways will inevitably have a higher cost basis, but people will tolerate the higher costs. Contrast the examples of Phoenix and Tucson, which have had runaway growth since 1950: Phoenix's freeway mileage has expanded by a factor of at least 5 since 1975, while Tucson has added a negligible amount of new freeway mileage in that period. The percentage growth rates between the two metropolitan areas have been almost identical.

The situations where new highways can be shown to "cause" development do exist, but are actually quite limited. The more usual case, which you see in places like Orange County, is for land to be set aside for development, and for freeways to be planned to serve this development. The market determines the pace of development on the set-aside land, and the freeways are put in as the development proceeds. If there is a crash in the real-estate market, the freeways get postponed or cancelled. In the US it is rarely possible for freeways to "lead" development because the planning requirements are far more stringent for freeways than for housing developments. Developers don't have to prepare EISes or get Section 404 permits for watercourse crossings, for example.

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That transportation is not cheap and it is a cost that we all pay through taxes.
Not really--the direct costs of roads are borne by the users.

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If zoning ordinances were ended and people allowed to live closer to work, this would not be necessary. This is where the problem begins. So I'm not sure that time savings is a worthwhile thing.
The time savings are definitely worthwhile in comparison to a counterfactual situation where the access-controlled highway is not available to accommodate the traffic that already exists.

Zoning reform is, strictly speaking, off-topic for this thread. So I will just note that zoning was introduced in the first place to deal with the externalities associated with different kinds of development. Zoning has enjoyed a high level of popular support because people don't want to live adjacent to development which brings environmental pollution and endangers the investment they have in their dwellings. I freely acknowledge that zoning has been bent to serve vested interests, and in many areas has resulted both in failure within the real-estate market and in policies which actively work against the basic social goal of low-cost, high-quality housing occupied by its owners. But anyone of medium income who has $100,000 or more tied up in his or her dwelling will be very, very aware of the downside risks, so any zoning reform proposal you come up with has to be foolproof.

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Besides, people are willing to pay for that themselves.
Yes, they are. But in general they are more willing to pay it through a system of user fees which is highly equitable and very cheap to collect (i.e. excise taxes on motor fuel), rather than to pay a turnpike agency to collect tolls. Transaction costs are a reality that must be dealt with.

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First off, I'd really like to know where you're getting this 90% statistic from because I can't find it. And with toll roads, with more roads we get more efficiency and more internal competition. Plus as I said before this ensures that we are not wasting money on roads that are not really needed.
The > 90% figure applies to the US and is the total revenue from road user fees (tolls, excise taxes on motor fuel, vehicle registration tax receipts, taxes on automotive oils and greases, etc.) divided by the total spending on road construction and maintenance across all levels of government. It varies a little from year to year.
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