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Under-taxed Americans are Too Broke to Finance Sustainability Infrastructure

As America struggles to make its cities more energy efficient and build mass transit, electric car charging stations, smart grids, sources of renewable energy, modern water systems and even schools and roads, we face financial challenges in every way. Travel through Europe or Asia and you will see high tech airports and state-of-the-art bullet trains; come to New York City and you see a run-down JFK Airport and the converted warehouse we call Penn Station. 

Aviation Data Suggests a Mixed-Bag of Rail Riders

One of the first stand-out elements is that two of the major corridors--Florida and Wisconsin--don’t maintain air service between their target metropolitan areas. For these corridors, the states are going to need cars to come off the road instead of than planes off the tarmac....For the other six corridors, the flashing-light is just how much California is an outlier compared to the other four.

Unlicensed Drivers: A View From California (Letter to the Editor)

 There is nothing wrong if sobriety checkpoints find people who are “only” driving without a license....Compared with licensed drivers, unlicensed drivers are 4.9 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash; 3.7 times more likely to drive while impaired; and 4.4 times more likely to be in hit-and-run crashes. (MR. RAGLAND is adjunct professor of public health and founder of the U.C. Berkeley Traffic Safety Center/Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), which administers the financing for the California sobriety and seatbelt checkpoint programs.

U.S. Driving Decline is in Reverse

The historic drop in driving that began in 2007 and the dramatic decline in gridlock that accompanied it have ended, according to a report today by a firm that tracks congestion in the USA....Traffic congestion is still about two-thirds of 2007 peak levels but likely to get worse, says Rick Schuman, author of INRIX's 2009 National Traffic Scorecard.

Fed Guarantee Helps BrightSource Energy Plan

BrightSource Energy Inc. of Oakland won $1.37 billion in federal loan guarantees Monday to build solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, becoming the latest Bay Area green-tech company to receive major financial backing from the U.S. government. The money will help BrightSource build the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a collection of three solar-thermal power plants that will use mirrors to focus sunlight and generate electricity. Together, the three plants near the Nevada border will produce enough power for 140,000 homes.

Tougher Penalties Proposed for Hands-free, Texting Violations

The cost of a ticket for these offenses would be among the toughest in the nation — going up to $455 for texting and $255 for using a hand-held phone, from approximately $145 — if a bill introduced Monday by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, becomes law...And the rules would now apply to bicyclists, who were not covered by the hands-free law that went into effect July 1, 2008.

Revised Berkeley Downtown Plan to go before City Council

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will submit a new plan for the downtown area at the Tuesday night City Council meeting after opponents threatened to put a previously approved plan to a vote of local residents on the June ballot. Bates' new plan calls for lower building heights, affordable housing provisions in some instances, green building requirements and local labor provisions.

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