Archive for the 'Transportation' Category

Transportation One-Two Punch

Posted by on May 06 2013 | Economics, Taxes, Transportation

With all the focus on guns, it’s easy to forget about all the other areas the Colorado legislature effects our daily lives – like transportation. Transportation policy has been one of my pet issues for quite sometime. As you may recall, I used to be chairman of the RTD board (see, I’ve got some street cred).

Some important things to note: First, the big light-rail boondoggle moves forward with the recent opening of RTD’s West line. You may have read that it came under budget, but of course that’s not true. It actually costs more than double what they estimated back in 1997. Not to mention it will service less people than originally proposed, making it the perfect combination of a government program: Over budget with less benefits. You can read more about the boondoggle in this Complete Colorado Page 2 editorial, “Light-rail boondoggle moves money instead of people,” from Brian Schwartz and Randal O’Toole.

Speaking of Brian Schwartz… he’s been on fire in relation to transportation these days. Not only did he help write that fantastic editorial for Complete Colorado, he was also quoted in this morning’s Denver Post. In an article describing how the state can now use road money for virtually anything transit related (totally unconstitutional by the way), Brian is quoted as the lone voice in opposition (go figure).

Keep it up Brian, we – and our cars – need you fighting the good fight.

no comments for now

VIDEOS: Unions and Uber on Devils Advocate

Posted by on Feb 26 2013 | Capitol Crazies, Idiot Box (TV Show), Transportation

no comments for now

You Can’t Draw Away Scarcity

Posted by on Feb 07 2013 | Economics, Transparency, Transportation

Why on earth does an artist’s rendition of some future utopia merit public policy debate?

Recently, an artist drew a pretty picture of what he imagined high-speed rail could look like in a utopian United States. Why is it utopia you ask? Because only in a utopian world without scarcity could the sparsely populated United States sustain high-speed rail. However, in our current world with scarce resources, high-speed rail can only exist in pretty pictures and in thick red ink on government expense sheets. It is simply not a profitable venture, which is why you see private resources staying far away from rail transit. Nevertheless, big government does not shy away from big losses like the private sector. I can see the slogan now, “No loss is too big to scare us away!”

9News came by the Independence Institute offices the other day to get my thoughts on the whole issue. You can watch the video here, or below in the player.

1 comment for now

VIDEO: Rep. Swalm on Auditing RTD, Wayne Laugesen on Tebow and Manning

Posted by on Apr 02 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, Transportation

Here’s Rep. Spencer Swalm on auditing RTD:

As if you hadn’t had enough Tim Tebow, here’s Wayne Laugesen on Tebow, Manning, and the Broncos season coming up:

no comments for now

Rep. Swalm on Auditing RTD, Wayne Laugesen on Tebow v. Peyton

Posted by on Mar 30 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, Transportation

Friday night means the Independence Institute’s public affairs TV show Devil’s Advocate on Colorado Public Television 12. First, state representative Spencer Swalm sits down with me to talk about his recent request for an audit of the Regional Transportation District (RTD). Then Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette swings by to discuss Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. That’s 8:30 p.m. tonight on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast Monday at 1:30 p.m.

no comments for now

VIDEO: Me on Studio 12

Posted by on Mar 05 2012 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, Transportation, Video

I taped an episode of Colorado Public TV’s “Studio 12″ the other night. It was on traffic congestion, particularly the backups on the I-70 corridor. I know, I know, not the sexiest of topics, but if anyone can make traffic congestion a sexy time, it’s me. And trust me, I did. Watch the video below to see for yourself.

Watch Traffic Congestion on PBS. See more from KBDI.

no comments for now

Some Quick Wednesday Hits

Posted by on Feb 08 2012 | Constitutional Amendments, Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Economics, Economy, energy, Environment, obama, PPC, Taxes, The Founders, Transportation

I remarked the other day that Amy Oliver and Michael Sandoval of our Energy Policy Center have been doing some fantastic work lately. Not sure why energy policy doesn’t get as much play as other policy areas but I certainly think energy is sexy. Their latest article scrutinizes the Obama administration’s love affair with China. The relationship is not simply a trade friendly “I give you something, you give me something” type of deal. It has more to do with China’s rare earth minerals and the ability of said minerals to produce “renewable” energy – which Amy and Michael once again prove is anything but green (and often times deadly).

We just released a new Issue Paper that tackles the perennial question: how much are we taxed here in Colorado? Many on the Left presume it’s not enough. When our researcher Anthony Gonzalez really dug into it and looked at the whole picture (state AND local taxation), Colorado it turns out sits right in the middle of the nation at 26th. Take a look at our first Issue Paper of 2012, How Colorado’s Tax Burdens Rank Nationally.

In his latest blog post, our Constitutional scholar Rob Natelson shares his thoughts on the recently signed into law National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Many believe the NDAA codifies the Executive Branch’s ability to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. What does Rob think? Check it out here.

Keep your eyes on this developing story: Democratic lawmakers are putting RTD’s toes to the fire on building out the Northwest corridor. RTD made a promise many years ago and the folks up in the Longmont area have been paying for a rail system that has yet to be delivered. How long can RTD hold out? How long will the Northwest corridor take it? Time will tell…

Finally, there is a really cool economics fundamentals class being held at our building this Saturday the 11th. I encourage all of you to take a look at the details here. For those still not on Facebook, here is some information:

Are you a liberty activist who loves free markets, capitalism and limited government – but have a difficult time describing its myriad benefits and merits when talking with others?

Then this is the educational training course for you!

Liberty on the Rocks is looking for leaders in the liberty movement (current or future) who are interested in obtaining insights into the basic fundamental principles of free market economics by attending a half-day educational course in Denver. **Tickets to attend are $10**

On Saturday, February 11th from 1:30-6:30pm, Liberty on the Rocks will present an exclusive hands-on, discussion and activity-driven economics session. During this half-day course, attendees will learn and/or better understand:

-The role economics plays in the advancement of liberty

-How to make the case for freedom from an economic and philosophical perspective

-How prices work in a market place

-Different ways of looking at public policy from an economic perspective

-The essential arguments for why socialism can’t work

RSVP today by purchasing tickets at: http://denver.libertyontherocks.org/economic-freedom-session/

Email Amanda Muell for even more info.

no comments for now

Underfunded Project Won’t Be Completed on Time: an RTD Story

Posted by on Dec 08 2011 | Economics, Environment, Government Largess, PPC, Transportation

Well, it’s that time again. Time for us at the Independence Institute to say, “I told you so.” It’s quite easy to say I told you so when you have FasTracks around. Anyone can do it really. All you have to do is this: read RTD’s cost estimates and completion dates and… not believe a word of it. They continue to underestimate costs and completion dates for every single one of their rail lines. And why shouldn’t they? It’s the best strategy for selling an inefficient, bloated public works project to voters. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet caught on that “X amount of dollars” really means “X times 5 amount of money.” And “completed by year 20XX” really means “completed by year 20XX + 30 years.”

It’s been the same story, full of lies and deceptions since the 1970′s. Check out this short video we made chronicling RTD’s lies over the years.

The question remains: will voters be fooled a third time? We know RTD will ask for more money. That’s for sure. We just don’t know when they’ll come groveling back to voters to fund the same project yet again.

How many times are you willing to pay for the same project?

no comments for now

Update: Issue Papers and Events Galore!

Posted by on Oct 05 2011 | Citizens' Budget, energy, Environment, Events, Government Largess, PPC, Taxes, Transparency, Transportation

Hellooooo Intertube world! Things are exploding over here at Independence. It seems everyone around our little liberty village has something to say. First up, we’ve got some brand new Issue Papers. Under the guidance of Amy Oliver, Colorado’s Queen of Transparency, Kyle Huwa wrote Issue Paper number 6 titled, Governor’s Energy Office Needs a Dose of Sunshine. From the executive summary:

The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) of the State of Colorado spent a total of $121,652,884.75 from January 2008 to November 2010. This report aims to clarify and provide transparency to the GEO’s spending. Despite best efforts, the exact nature of many of the expenditures remains unclear.

Indeed, the governor’s energy office’s spending remains unclear to the very people who made that spending possible – us taxpayers. Let us check the books!

Next up we have an extremely timely Issue Paper from Senior Fellow and ex-Professor of Economics at CU Barry Poulson. Along with co-author John Merrifield of the University of Texas, Barry wrote Issue Paper number 7, Proposition 103: What is the Cost to Colorado Taxpayers? It turns out (surprise surprise) that the estimated $2.9 billion tax increase known as Prop 103 will actually cost taxpayers closer to $6 billion. Not to mention over 11,000 jobs and a whopping $2,711 per household! But hey, it’s “for the children” right?

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to remind everyone about a free event coming up that will focus on our state’s budget issues with a long-term view. It’s called Colorado’s Long-Term Budget Dilemma: Two Perspectives. The event is this Tuesday the 11th, downtown at the Denver Press Club. So who are the two perspectives? One will be our very own Fiscal Policy Center Director Penn Pfiffner, who will talk about the findings from our Citizens’ Budget project. The other perspective will be Phyllis Resnick, principal economist for DU’s Center for Colorado’s Economic Future who will be presenting the findings from DU’s study, Financing Colorado’s Future: An Analysis of the Fiscal Sustainability of State Government. We hope you’ll join us for this informative and FREE event next week!

In other exciting news, Transportation expert and Independence Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole will be in town next week! In case you are unfamiliar with Randal, you can check out his blog, The Antiplanner and his latest book, “Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and What to do About It.” Randal will be in town for just a couple days but in that short time he’ll be hosting three events. The first is on Tuesday the 11th at Gander Mountain in Thornton. Randal will be presenting to Hear Us Now on his book, “The Best Laid Plans.” The event is free and will start at 6pm. On Wednesday the 12th, Randal will be heading up to the Olive Garden in Boulder for a lunch event. Here are the details for the Boulder event found on the Land Use Coalition’s webpage. Finally, that same Wednesday the 12th, Randal is going to be the featured speaker at a special Liberty on the Rocks event. Here are the event details:

The True Environmental Impact of Rail ProjectsConverse and drink with fellow liberty enthusiasts on Wednesday, October 12 at Choppers Sports Grill in Cherry Creek from 7-9 pm!

Our special guest for this bonus happy hour will be Randal O’Toole of the CATO Institute, who will spend 10-15 minutes (followed by Q & A) discussing the harmful impact high speed rail has on the environment (despite claims that it is about “going green”).

When: Wednesday, October 12 from 7-9 pm
Where: Choppers Sports Grill | 80 S. Madison Street in Denver (in the back room)

no comments for now

Investigative Journalism 2.0

Posted by on Sep 13 2011 | PPC, Taxes, Transportation

It’s no secret the cost of investigative journalism is becoming prohibitive in the 21st century. Gone are the days when newspapers employed investigative teams to dig up dirt on politicians and wasteful government. Sure you can blame the Internet, but you’d have to confess that the Internet simultaneously killed the old investigative journalist guard and replaced it with the new, more nimble Internet investigative guard. Now anyone who has a cheap netbook, Internet connection, and a hot tip can play investigative journalist. (Thanks WordPress!) Unfortunately, publishing great scoops on your own website doesn’t automatically mean that it will get the attention that it probably deserves. This is one advantage the old media and it’s decimated force of investigative journalists still has on us. Therefore, when Independence Institute investigative journalist Todd Shepherd breaks something on our Independence Investigates website, he is delighted when the old media picks up on it. And sometimes, when old media echoes a breaking investigation loud enough, real changes occur in the real world.

Let me give you an example.

In February of this year, Todd broke a rather sickening story about sex offenders registering addresses with the state at locations of state-subsidized child care providers. Take a look at the original report here. Chuck Plunkett of the Denver Post reported on Todd’s investigation that same day – on the virtual pages of the Post. Sure enough, five months later the state removed 12 daycare providers from the registry thanks to Todd’s investigation. No doubt Chuck’s write-up in the state’s largest newspaper helped give legs to Todd’s work, which lead to the subsequent action by the state to rectify the situation. This is but one example of how new media and old media help each other.

Let me present you with the latest example. This Sunday Todd broke a story showing emails from CDOT employees discussing possible gas tax hikes and new taxes on fuel efficient vehicles. The next day, semi-old media picked the story up on their website. The prolific Michael Roberts of the Westword echoed Todd’s story on the Latest Word. You’ll notice in Michael’s piece that he gives a lot of love to the Independence Institute as well (look at our logo in all its glory). This kind of exposure is great for us. And great for new media in general.

A big thanks needs to go out to the Denver Post and publications like the Westword for reporting on our investigations. We have a harder time effecting change without you guys. And of course, thanks to Todd Shepherd for continually breaking huge stories. Taxpayers, ratepayers, and fans of transparency owe a lot to your work.

no comments for now

Next »

Clicky Web Analytics