The imperative for climate action, the growing transportation funding crisis, and the emerging uncertainty about future demand for automobile travel all suggest that we open a fundamental debate about the transportation future of this country.

Last year, a coalition of electric utilities and fossil fuel interest groups lobbied for and won a “freeze” of Ohio's Clean Energy Law, halting the ramp-up of Ohio’s renewable electricity and energy efficiency standards, and permanently dismantling provisions of the law. Frontier Group's new analysis, Progress on Hold, found that the clean energy freeze will increase pollution, and result in Ohioans missing out on energy efficiency savings worth billions.

The EPA concludes that fracking is linked to “important vulnerabilities to drinking water resources.” Translation: Fracking threatens water quality. Period.

What started in 2013 with a prototype system that sent email alerts to clients when specified keywords or phrases appeared in local government meeting agendas, minutes or documents, is now morphing into an aggregated compilation of city, county and school district records – all available for download by individuals and organizations.

Gamification of public policy choices and dilemmas isn’t just for recreation. Getting large numbers of people to play such games can support richer, more informed, and more diverse participation in public policy debates.

The Santa Barbara oil spill on May 19 - a ruptured pipeline that spread 105,000 gallons of oil onto Refugio State Beach and into the ocean - is another reminder that our oil dependence is inevitably linked to tragedies for our communities and the environments on which we depend.

A federal court in Wisconsin yesterday ruled that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) did not properly justify the need for a $128-million widening of a stretch of State Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth.

Any growth in VMT in the future is likely to be slow by historical standards, and any growth in per-capita driving to be minimal.

Urban heat islands are a health risk for vulnerable populations, cause people to run air conditioners more (driving up electricity bills and global warming pollution), and accelerate the formation of ground-level ozone that triggers breathing problems. To combat the urban heat island effect, cities are pursuing a variety of strategies, including planting more trees, replacing roofs with more reflective material or even vegetation, and using different pavement that reflects more heat. Los Angeles, for example, just released its sustainability plan that includes the goal of reducing its urban-rural heat difference by 1.7 degrees in 2025 and 3.0 degrees in 2035. Part of the way the city intends to achieve this goal is by planting trees, installing 10,000 cool roofs by 2017, testing cooler pavements, and removing hard surfaces where possible. Los Angeles and other cities should pursue an additional strategy: replacing conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles.

Before we decide to raise, or not raise, the MBTA’s fares, it is important that we understand how much we have already raised them.

If you don’t eat meat or work on a farm, are the dangerous resistant bacteria that develop in livestock a threat to your health?

How often do you buy a new car? Not too often, I bet, and therein lies a major challenge to cutting carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. Even though new cars, SUVs and light trucks are, on average, less polluting, it takes a long time for older vehicles to be retired and replaced with more efficient ones. And unlike houses, which can be renovated with insulation, weather sealing and more efficient appliances to reduce energy use and emissions, there’s no way to renovate cars to use less fuel and produce less global warming pollution. But that might be about to change, at least in a small way.

Allowing consumers to post their complaint narratives online is just the latest example of the CFPB’s leadership in protecting Americans from unscrupulous financial services firms.

When compared fairly and accurately on most measures, the MBTA often falls in the middle of the pack among U.S. transit agencies. It neither excels in measures of cost-effectiveness or efficiency across the board, nor does it consistently lag behind. 

Which U.S. cities are leading the charge toward a solar-powered future? Our new report, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America, ranks U.S. cities for thier installed solar PV capacity and discusses the innovative policies that are moving cities up in the rankings.

The discussion around the safety of GM foods is too often centered on one part of the process: eating them. However, when evaluating whether GM foods are safe for us and for the environment, we must also consider the broader effects.

If one is going to claim that a transit agency is the fastest-growing in the nation, one must look at the entire system it operates, not just pieces of it.

When one makes fair, apples-to-apples comparisons of the MBTA’s service growth and spending patterns with those of other large transit agencies, the T appears to be quite normal.

Two major train spills in the last month – one in West Virginia, one in Illinois – have reinforced what has now become abundantly clear: Transporting large amounts of oil by rail endangers the health and safety of our communities and our environment.


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