Our Research

Fork in the Road: Will Wisconsin Waste Money on Unneeded Highway Expansion or Invest in 21st Century Transportation Priorities?

Wisconsin’s transportation spending priorities are backwards. In recent years, despite ongoing fiscal challenges, the state has spent billions of dollars on highway expansion projects while slashing transit funding and curbing assistance for local road repair. Fork in the Road: Will Wisconsin Waste Money on Unneeded Highway Expansion or Invest in 21st Century Transportation Priorities? highlights the choice Wisconsin faces: showering $2.8 billion on unnecessary highway expansions, or investing a smaller amount in true transportation priorities, and calls on state officials to reorient the state’s transportation priorities to encourage highway repair and expanded transportation options.

(September 2014)
Weak Medicine: Why the FDA's Guidelines Are Inadequate to Curb Antibiotic Resistance and Protect Public Health

Livestock often are fed antibiotics so that they grow faster with less feed and can remain healthy in the unsanitary, disease-laden conditions common on factory farms, despite the fact that this overuse of antibiotics contributes to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause 23,000 deaths each year. In response, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop the sale of antibiotics to farms for animal “growth promotion.” Weak Medicine explains why the FDA’s action is unlikely to put a serious dent in antibiotic use on factory farms. Without a reduction in the antibiotics fed to livestock, the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria will not slow down.

(August 2014)

Childhood Hunger in America's Suburbs shows that eligibility for free and reduced-price lunches rose across the nation between 2006-07 and 2010-11, and rose faster in suburban areas than in urban, rural, or town communities. Suburban public schools still have a lower percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches than schools in the rest of the country. But the rise of child poverty in suburban areas means that suburbs increasingly look like the rest of America when it comes to the prevalence of poor children.This knowledge should be included in policy discussions about how to address the interrelated problems of hunger and poverty in America.

(August 2014)
Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013

Solar energy is on the rise. Over the course of the last decade, the amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the United States has increased more than 120-fold, from 97 megawatts in 2003 to more than 12,000 megawatts at the end of 2013. America’s solar energy revolution has been led by 10 states that have the greatest amount of solar energy capacity installed per capita. These 10 states have opened the door for solar energy with solar-friendly public policies, and they are reaping the rewards as a result. This report is a follow-up analysis of our 2013 report, Lighting the Way, in which we compared the solar energy policies of the states with the nation’s most well-developed solar energy markets. This report notes changes from last year’s rankings, as well as policy developments over the last year. 


(August 2014)
Inside the Big Oil Playbook : Strategies and Tactics Used in the Industry’s Battle to Ship Tar Sands Oil Out of Casco Bay

South Portland, Maine, became “ground zero” for the tar sands debate when residents, in partnership with several statewide environmental groups, qualified a ballot initiative to stop the oil industry from establishing Portland Harbor as the U.S. East Coast shipping hub for tar sands’ entry into the world market. In response, Big Oil launched a massive, $750,000 campaign to defeat the initiative in a city of just 25,000 people. Using Big Oil’s campaign to defeat South Portland’s Waterfront Protection Ordinance as a case study, this report describes the tools and tactics the industry can be expected to use to keep alive the possibility of shipping tar sands oil out of Portland Harbor. 

(July 2014)