How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country – by Hiroko Tabuchi – NYT

 

 

“NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A team of political activists huddled at a Hardee’s one rainy Saturday, wolfing down a breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Then they descended on Antioch, a quiet Nashville suburb, armed with iPads full of voter data and a fiery script.

The group, the local chapter for Americans for Prosperity, which is financed by the oil billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch to advance conservative causes, fanned out and began strategically knocking on doors. Their targets: voters most likely to oppose a local plan to build light-rail trains, a traffic-easing tunnel and new bus routes.

“Do you agree that raising the sales tax to the highest rate in the nation must be stopped?” Samuel Nienow, one of the organizers, asked a startled man who answered the door at his ranch-style home in March. “Can we count on you to vote ‘no’ on the transit plan?”

In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.”

Advertisements

Trump Picks Economic Winners- Guided by Nostalgia – The New York Times

A decade ago, coal provided nearly half of America’s electricity. That share has since plummeted to less than one-third, as coal has been driven out of the market by stricter pollution regulations and a glut of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing. Wind and solar power, while starting from a small base, have grown at double-digit rates each year as the technology improves and costs drop.The jobs have followed: The number of American coal miners has fallen from more than 80,000 in 2008 to about 53,000 today. The solar industry alone now employs twice as many people as the coal industry does. Solar installers, wind technicians and oil and gas drill operators are all expected to be among the fastest-growing occupations over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.“Ten years ago, the joke among industry players was that renewables were the energy source of the future and always would be,” said Andy Karsner, a former assistant secretary of energy in the George W. Bush administration. “Problem is, that future has arrived, and coal is now the energy source of the past and always will be.”

A Sweeping Plan to Fix the Subways Comes With a $19 Billion Price Tag – The New York Times

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons
May 22, 2018
124 “A sweeping proposal to overhaul New York City’s subway and improve the broader transit system is expected to cost more than $19 billion, according to two people who were briefed on Tuesday, and goes far beyond the emergency repair plan that was unveiled last summer after the subway fell into crisis.The proposal by the subway’s new leader, Andy Byford, will be announced on Wednesday in a highly anticipated presentation before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board.

Mr. Byford has warned that the subway needs major upgrades to reverse its precipitous slide and the work will require short-term pain for millions of subway riders. His plan will focus on speeding up the rollout of a new signal system to replace the subway’s current antiquated equipment, according to the two people who were briefed on the plan on Tuesday and did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.”

How 2 M.T.A. Decisions Pushed the Subway Into Crisis – The New York Times

“By now, New York City commuters are familiar with the wait. We descend from the bitter cold or the stifling heat to find subway platforms teeming with other bodies trying to make it to work on time. Delays ripple through the system, so there’s barely room to squeeze into the next train that arrives.

For years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority told us that rising ridership and overcrowding were to blame. Yet ridership actually stayed mostly flat from 2013 to 2018 as delays rose, and the authority recently acknowledged that overcrowding was not at fault.

Instead, two decisions made by the M.T.A. years ago — one to slow down trains and another that tried to improve worker safety — appear to have pushed the subway system into its current crisis. And there’s no easy fix.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Wow. Great Article, thank you. If you can identify the sources of the problem, you would suspect that competent people could fix their mistakes. Two years ago, I revisited Paris, and rode again on a really good subway system. How do they do it? Might be related to their national $7 dollar? a gallon gas tax. That democracy chooses to have well funded, well run, public transportation systems. This April, I visited Washington DC, and was impressed by the subway there. NYC, and I have heard, Albany, have managed to turn their once show case subway into a national disgrace and a laughing stock of incompetence. Is this what you want to be known for? Maybe states like my Connecticut, can turn this into part of our marketing strategy for attracting new business. Image a new marketing campaign, “(Insert Any State), where you you don’t have to ride the NYC subway!” David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Buying Your First Home EV Charger | PluginCars.com

“It may surprise EV newbies to learn that an electric car’s charger is found on board the vehicle. It’s the equipment buried in the guts of the car that takes an AC source of juice from your house, and converts it to DC—so your car’s battery pack can be charged.

This fact doesn’t stop nearly everybody from calling the wall-mounted box that supplies 240 volts of electricity a “charger.” Actually, that box, cord, and plug has a technical name—Electric Vehicle Service Equipment or EVSE—and if you have an EV, you’re going to want to install one at home.

So, it’s slightly misleading to say we’re providing guidance about chargers because we’re really talking about buying an EVSE—which is essentially no more than an electrical device allowing drivers to safely connect an electric car to a 240-volt source of electricity. It’s not rocket science, and you should not overthink the selection and installation of an EVSE.That said, there are important differences between the various home chargers (uh, I mean EVSEs). And there are a few best practices to keep in mind.”

Source: Buying Your First Home EV Charger | PluginCars.com

A Better- Safer Battery Could Be Coming to a Laptop Near You – The New York Times

“SAN FRANCISCO — A start-up company is trying to turbocharge a type of battery that has been a mainstay for simple devices like flashlights and toys, but until now has been ignored as an energy source for computers and electric cars.Executives at Ionic Materials, in Woburn, Mass., plan to announce on Thursday a design breakthrough that could make solid-state alkaline batteries a viable alternative to lithium-ion and other high-energy storage technologies.”

Can Our Transit System Get Any Worse? – By THOMAS K. WRIGHT, NYT

“We can learn from others. London and Stockholm have “congestion pricing” that generates revenue for mass transit while limiting the flow of cars in their central business districts. Hong Kong’s transit agency, the MTR, is a for-profit company in which the government holds a majority stake. Because it is publicly traded, it can avoid patronage hiring. By purchasing real estate and leasing property, it acquires revenue while keeping fares low.”

via Can Our Transit System Get Any Worse? – The New York Times.

China’s Global Ambitions, With Loans and Strings Attached – The New York Times

It sounds like an impending environmental nightmare. I have added my two cents in the first comment at the other blog.– David Lindsay

Inconvenient News Worldwide

The country has invested billions in Ecuador and elsewhere, using its economic clout to win diplomatic allies and secure natural resources around the world.

“EL CHACO, Ecuador — Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador.

Near the port of Manta on the Pacific Ocean, Chinese banks are in talks to lend $7 billion for the construction of an oil refinery, which could make Ecuador a global player in gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products.

Across the country in villages and towns, Chinese money is going to build roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, even a network of…

View original post 42 more words