Last week we released Following the Money 2014, the fifth iteration of our transparency scorecard rating the 50 state governments on their disclosure of government spending data online. Today, at least 38 states provide checkbook-level data on economic development subsidies, enabling the public to know which businesses have been receiving special tax breaks or monetary incentives in exchange for promises to hire workers or grow the economy.

For cities, solar power just makes sense. As we find in our new report, Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution, solar power is taking off in many U.S. cities thanks to strong local policies.

Incredibly, even the EIA’s “high VMT” case forecasts a level of driving that is below the DOT’s “low” forecast. One wonders how much of the $124 billion to $146 billion in annual expenditures the DOT says are needed to improve the conditions and performance of the highway system would still be necessary in the “low VMT” forecast put forward by the EIA.

Over the weekend, the Water Guardians – a grassroots environmental group – launched a campaign to ban fracking in my home county of Santa Barbara. Over the next month, they plan to collect thousands of signatures to qualify the ban for the November election. What is interesting is how the politics and sentiments surrounding fracking in Santa Barbara and California are representative of those across the nation.

Today’s Supreme Court decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case makes me angry, and sad. Very, very few citizens are able to make $123,200 in political contributions, and the small group of donors who does have that kind of money already has a disproportionate influence. Now, they can have an even greater impact on who runs for office, what issues those candidates prioritize, and what positions candidates take. This is what makes me angry.

Last week, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released a new map of leaks from natural gas pipelines in the Boston area. Working with researchers at Boston University, CLF calculated that leaking natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts release 8 to 12 billion cubic feet of methane every year, accounting for as much as 4 percent of Massachusetts’ annual global warming pollution. In Massachusetts, the source of these leaks is old, failing infrastructure that too often isn’t adequately maintained. Unfortunately, old pipes aren’t the only ones that fail. Experience across in the U.S. with pipelines carrying every kind of liquid shows that pipelines leak, and for that reason transporting volatile and dangerous products through pipelines will have negative consequences for the environment.

Over and over again, we call on transit to compensate for the failures of cars. But there is a cost to correcting these failures, and all of them wind up on the “transit” side of the ledger.

Advocates for a smarter, more efficient, more sustainable transportation system cannot afford to fall into the trap of policy purism – not with all of the other hurdles standing in the way.

These are strange and historic days, indeed. Public transportation and passenger rail are growing businesses and emerging investor darlings. Our nearly six decade-old system of federal funding for highways is on the verge of collapse. Lifestyle, technology and demographic changes are reducing the amount that we drive.

On March 18, scientists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a report to help connect people to the risks of global warming. Here's why it represents a step forward for global warming communications.

Over the years, Frontier Group has examined how a variety of new clean energy policies could reduce global warming pollution. Slowly but surely, states and the federal government have adopted some of these clean energy policies, and they are beginning to change how the U.S. produces and uses energy. Our new report, Moving America Forward, finds that energy efficiency requirements, renewable electricity standards, clean car policies and other clean energy policies adopted or implemented from 2007 to 2012 reduced carbon dioxide pollution by 162 million metric tons in 2012.

Last Friday, the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill to make John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” one of the state’s official songs. Before heading to the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Shenandoah River, you had better make sure your car has good shock absorbers - the state has some of the worst streets and highways in the country.

When we look for opportunities to address multiple problems at the same time, we can unleash powerful and transformative solutions with benefits we might never have imagined possible. 

The average number of vehicle-miles traveled per capita in 2013 was about 7 percent below its 2004 peak and was the lowest since 1996 – a roughly 17-year span of stagnation in per-capita vehicle travel.

Last month, Robert Poole refuted the conclusions of our recent report, Transportation in Transition, and argued for the continued massive investment in highways by claiming that current travel behaviors should be compared to those of 2000, not of the mid-2000s. However, following Poole’s argument, the logical conclusion is to shift funding away from new highway capacity and toward improving transportation options.

It’s worth remembering that we, the people, are the dog that wags the tail of the investor-owned utilities, not the other way around. If we want a cleaner, more resilient electricity system in the future, it’s going to be up to all of us to harness our power to make it a reality.

The first step to surmounting any challenge, of course, is admitting that one exists. While Maryland and Oregon are to be saluted for recognizing that the post-war Driving Boom has ended, the real challenge will come in translating that newfound awareness into smart policy decisions that allocate taxpayer resources wisely.

Allying with local officials, Cordray said, would result in local complaints about financial products being forwarded to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for analysis and response, relieving a heavy burden from city officials and bolstering the ability of the CFPB to address consumer complaints.

A new Frontier Group report discusses how universities and colleges across the country are taking steps to encourage their communities, students, faculty and staff to decrease their reliance on personal vehicles. These efforts are working and showing that efforts aimed at reducing driving deliver powerful benefits for students, staff and surrounding areas. Policymakers at all levels of government should look to college campuses for useful models when looking to expand the range of transportation options available to Americans and address the transportation challenges facing our communities.

We tend not to think about the tremendous value of redundant systems until the moment we need them the most.


Subscribe to Blog