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Frontier Group September Update

Frontier Group's September update highlights wasteful highway projects across the country, suggests better ways for Wisconsin to spend its transportation money, exposes U.S. coal-fired power plants as a major global source of pollution that harms the climate, and more.

Tom Van Heeke

Policy Analyst

“Highway Boondoggles” Finds Wasted Transportation Dollars

States are moving forward with massive highway expansion projects even as the number of miles driven by the average American continues to stagnate, according to Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future. The report looks at 11 questionable projects – slated to cost at least $13 billion – and asks whether they are a smart use of taxpayer funds at a time when transportation funding is shrinking, the nation’s highway network is increasingly in need of repair, and demand for investment in transit is on the rise. The Chicago Tribune quoted from the report in an editorial urging cancellation of a Chicagoland toll road project, Deron Lovaas discussed our findings in a great blog post at NRDC’s Switchboard, and Streetsblog serialized the report’s case studies over the course of two weeks.

Wisconsin Transportation Spending at a Crossroads

A similar set of transportation challenges faces Wisconsin, which is set to spend $2.8 billion on just four highway expansion projects, while underfunding road repair, investments in transit, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Fork in the Road (produced with WISPIRG Foundation) explains that (amidst changing travel trends) the state’s spending priorities are backwards, and that it’s time to invest in transportation alternatives. The report has been widely covered in the state’s media and was mentioned in an Associated Press article about the gubernatorial election campaign.

U.S. Power Plants Are Among World’s Top Carbon Dioxide Polluters

American power plants are the third-largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the world, according to America’s Dirtiest Power Plants, our second annual report on the disproportionate role the American power sector plays in fueling global warming. Implementing the U.S. EPA’s proposed plan to cut power plant pollution represents perhaps the most significant single action the United States can take to become a world leader in tackling global warming. Read CleanTechnica‘s take on the report and its findings here.

In Other News

On the Frontier Group blog, Elizabeth Ridlington discussed an Environmental Integrity Project report revealing the illegal injection of diesel into fracking wells…Tony Dutzik’s analysis of the newly released 2013 American Community Survey data found that the slow shift away from car commuting continues… We welcomed Gideon Weismann and Lindsey Hallock to our team. Prior to joining Frontier Group, Gideon Weissman worked in political communications for U.S. PIRG, the state PIRGs, and the Fair Share network. Lindsey Hallock recently completed her master’s degree at the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands in which she focused on urban agriculture and economic development in American cities.

 

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Tom Van Heeke

Policy Analyst

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