(Peid is a contraction of Pelosi-Reid and rhymes with “speed”)
The stimulus package passed tonight apparently includes $8-billion for a Vegas-to-Riverside Peid Train.
It will have less capacity than Southwest Airlines, and will take longer. Hopefully, it will cost less to ride. Otherwise, we’ll have to outlaw Southwest Airlines.
Plus or minus, the Peid Train divides out to $4,000 per man, woman and child in Las Vegas. The burden will fall on our grandchildren, since this Congress and President lack the morality to actually fund their lardfest by collecting the money from the living. Or, perhaps, the feds will default on the debt.
The east-coast big government fans at The Brookings Institute have released a new study on driving patterns. It turns out that driving is down a bit around the country, even in Nevada. Do you think the Internet has anything to do with that?
Like most states, Nevada’s gas taxes are assessed on gasoline, and total miles driven is a component of those collections.
Jacob Snow, the director of the Regional Transportation Authority, got a nice raise in 2008.
Government benefits cost for local government typically runs 30%. With benefits, Snow is costing taxpayers about $300,000 per year.
The United States Census Bureau 2007 “National Data Book” is online. And it has some interesting information about traffic congestion (see 1078 – Roadway Congestion: 2003) in Las Vegas.
- Las Vegas’ annual cost per person due to traffic congestion is $279; the national average is $422.
- Our annual delay per person is 16 hours; the national average is 25 hours.
- Part of the perception of our problems is that we have a higher than average miles of freeway travel per lane-mile of freeway, probably because we’re more spread out than most cities our size (Las Vegas is 17,062 per day compared with the national average of 16,206).
Here is a direct link to the Census Bureau spreadsheet that includes this data.
After a ten year hiatus from performing federally suggested “cost-benefit” analysis, the Nevada Department of Transportation (under new director Susan Martinovich) released new analysis results during the 2007 legislative session. You can see the worksheet here.
One of the projects, the Boulder City bypass, actually has a negative return on investment and clearly should not be built.
Another revelation: the “I-15 North” project, which was started around the beginning of 2008, ranks lower in priority than the “I-15 South” project. The highest ranked project, US 95, was completed in 2007.
Nevada has high gas taxes, but not the highest of the US states. See this website and chart.
Nevada’s gas tax is earmarked for the “highway fund.” About 20% of the highway fund is used to operate the Department of Motor Vehicles, a bit more is earmarked for the Department of Public Safety (mostly the highway patrol) and the rest is earmarked for the Department of Transportation, which spends its funds maintaining state highways and sometimes building more of them.
Here is the Federal Highway Administration’s “Toolbox for Regional Policy Analysis” website, which includes a section specifically on cost-benefit analysis.
Nevada’s Department of Transportation stopped using cost-benefit analysis ten years ago. No one can say why. But without such analysis, DOT’s wish list of projects that comprise its “deficit” cannot be objectively evaluated.