Transit commuting increased while car commuting - especially in carpools - continued a slow decline.

The Trinity Parkway is just one of many proposals for massive highway construction or expansion that defy logic and common-sense and threaten to sap resources that could be used for other urgent transportation priorities. Our new report, Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future, highlights 11 examples – including Dallas’s Trinity Parkway – where officials should reevaluate the needs and costs of major highway construction projects in light of current data and modern public priorities. If projects that once appeared necessary are no longer needed, they should be canceled or delayed.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences drew widespread media attention and headlines announcing that faulty well structures—not fracking—are to blame for polluted drinking water. That's taking a narrow view of the problem. The only reason these wells exist is to allow fracking. And there's no evidence that the oil and gas industry is able to consistently build wells that don't leak.

The thing that is striking about the transportation funding crisis is that for as bad as the situation seems at the surface, it is way, way worse upon closer scrutiny.

Boston's MBTA recently opened its first new transit stop in 27 years, responding to local demand for more transportation options and spurring billions of dollars of transit-oriented, mixed-use development in the vicinity.

With driving lower than in the past – it peaked a decade ago in Wisconsin and nationwide – and transit ridership, bicycling and walking on the rise – Frontier Group’s latest report, Fork in the Road: Will Wisconsin Waste Money on Unneeded Highway Expansion or Invest in 21st Century Transportation Priorities?, calls on policymakers to reexamine their long-held assumptions that traffic will rise indefinitely, and to reallocate transportation funding according to the current reality.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the McCutcheon v. FEC case that abolished aggregate limits on contributions to federal campaigns. No longer are wealthy donors limited to giving a combined total of $123,200 to all federal candidates, parties and PACs. Instead, they can give up to the individual contribution limit to as many candidates or committees as they like. A new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that major donors have already increased their campaign contributions, giving nearly $12 million more than would have been allowed before the court’s decision.

Frontier Group's August Update includes news on the states that are leading the nation in solar energy, new evidence of growing child poverty in America's suburbs, and the FDA guidelines that are supposed to slash antibiotics use on factory farms, but won't.

A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project provides further confirmation of both the hazards of fracking for oil and gas and how little the public is allowed to know about it.

The Food and Drug Administration recently issued new guidelines to pharmaceutical companies, asking them to end the labeling and sale of antibiotics for promoting the growth of livestock and thereby slow the spread of antibiotic resistance. Our new report, Weak Medicine: Why the FDA's Guidelines Are Inadequate to Curb Antibiotic Resistance and Protect Public Health, explains why the FDA’s action is unlikely to significantly reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance and its threat to public health.

We count on transportation planners and policy-makers to shape investments in infrastructure that are designed to last 40 years or more. With transportation funding running short, we can no longer afford to make those decisions based on outdated assumptions and models.

Bikesharing is a key part of a “full balanced breakfast” of transportation and land-use actions – including vehicle sharing, transit, walkable land-use patterns and many more – that can enable vastly more Americans to live lifestyles that are car-light or car-free.

Since 2004, the South Atlantic region saw the largest decrease in VMT per capita, declining 8 percent relative to 2004.  The West saw the second largest decrease in VMT per capita at 7.7 percent, followed by the Northeast at 7.4 percent, the South Gulf at 5.6 percent, and finally the North Central at 4.3 percent.

Frontier Group's monthly update highlights our latest reports and activities. This month: we document Big Oil's big money campaign to allow shipments of tar sands oil through Maine, we turn the spotlight on America's biggest industrial water polluters, and we quantify the environmental benefits of a future with more electric vehicles.

What would happen if, instead of making transit more expensive to riders, we made it cheaper, or even free?

Would you rather take a five-minute walk on crowded sidewalk next to four lanes of honking traffic on a clogged urban artery, or a seven-minute stroll down the leafy neighborhood street two blocks over?

For the last decade, the world’s most powerful oil companies have aggressively pursued plans to establish a U.S. shipping route to move tar sands oil from the land-locked wilderness of western Canada to the world market. However, strong public opposition to the extraction and transportation of tar sands oil has thwarted or stalled the construction of key shipping infrastructure, including TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Now, the industry is considering shipping tar sands oil east across Canada and through an aging pipeline in Maine to reach the Atlantic Coast, an idea that has Mainers up in arms. 

It is time for public interest advocates to articulate and fight for a new conception of “right to know” – one that is more expansive, more timely, and provides the public with as much information about what industries are doing on a daily basis as industries now have about what we are doing.

Breaking down issue silos can help us see commonalities and focus our energy on what might be the most important question of all: how do we give policy-makers and the public the tools for information sharing, engagement and decision-making that would enable us to make in days or weeks decisions that might once have taken years?


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