KurzweilAI: OpenStax College plans free textbooks for popular college courses [The article doesn't even mention wikibooks like Fundamentals of Transportation. Free is there if you want it.]
John Whitehead @ Environmental Economics: It is hard to stifle my outrage when the government asks those who benefit to pay [See also: A New Transportation Federalism
David King @ Getting from here to there: An Allegory for Justifying Transportation Investments: A Brand New Bathroom!
"What about the future benefits? There are potentially many from a new bathroom such as lower water flow and nicer fixtures. Yet these could also be achieved through remodeling the existing bathrooms, which will need maintenance and upkeep anyway. Maybe everyone would be better off with a new hot water heater instead so there is always adequate warm water for the existing showers. A new bathroom may allow the family to put off fixing up their old bathrooms, but not forever, and money spent on a new bathroom cannot be spent on an existing bathroom. "
Randal O'Toole @ The Antiplanner:
The Seductive Appeal of Value-Capture Finance: "Today, the Antiplanner is in North Carolina, where transit agencies seem to be competing to plan the wackiest, most-expensive rail transit lines that few people will ever use. Right now, the leading contender must be Raleigh, which (according to a paper by UNC-Charlotte transport professor David Hartgen and transit accountant Tom Rubin) is planning a light-rail line that will cost $33 per trip and a commuter-rail line that will cost $92 per trip.
The Antiplanner, however, is in Charlotte looking at a proposed commuter-rail line that is expected to cost more than $450 million to start up and is projected to carry only about 5,600 trips (meaning 2,800 round trips) a day in 2025. The Antiplanner calculates that, for about the same price as the rail line, taxpayers could give every one of the 2,800 riders a brand-new Toyota Prius every other year for the life of the rail project.
If the rail line were truly worthwhile, the users themselves would be glad to pay for it. It is only because it is so much more expensive (not to mention less convenient) than the alternatives that users won’t pay for it. Asking others to pay based on some mythical “value capture” is simply deceptive.
Tom Vanderbilt @ Wired: Mapping the Road Ahead for Autonomous Cars
Via JW: And in late-breaking news, Economists favor congestion pricing: Poll Results | IGM Forum