Monthly Archives: June 2007

Drivers might pay road taxes by mile

Although better fuel economy sounds great for the pocketbook and good for the planet, it spells trouble for our long-term reliance on gas-tax money to finance transit and highway needs.

After spending more than it takes in for several years, the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money for road projects by 2009.

So, as part of a $16.5 million nationwide study over the next two years, 450 Triangle drivers will help road-test a new way to pay for transportation — by the mile, not by the gallon.

Replacing the fuel tax with a mileage fee would be a long-range idea — and possibly a long shot.

Long shot or not, the issue of how to pay for state and federal roads does not to seem to going away any way soon.

See also New Technology for an Old Dilemma by Paul Sorensen and Brian Taylor

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NYC looks toward congestion pricing

New York City is already an expensive place to drive – tolls are $6 and a parking garage for just an hour can run you $20.  Now the mayor wants to make it so costly some people won’t even bother driving and will take mass transit instead.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing to reduce traffic and pollution by charging cars $8 and trucks $21 to enter the busiest parts of Manhattan.

New York would become the first U.S. city to adopt a “congestion pricing” plan of this magnitude. The proposal is similar to a system that London has used since 2003, and officials there say it has significantly reduced congestion.

Read the full article . . . 

Virgin launches Europe’s first bio-diesel train

Europe’s first train powered by bio-diesel went into service in London with Britain’s next prime minister Gordon Brown on board for its maiden journey.

Finance minister Brown travelled on the Virgin Voyager train which left London Euston station for Llandudno on the north Wales coast.

The train has been modified to run on a blended fuel which is 20 percent environmentally-friendly bio-diesel — fuel derived from sustainable and biological sources such as rapeseed, soyabean and palm oil — and produces less carbon dioxide emissions than diesel.

Virgin Trains hopes to convert its entire fleet to run on bio-diesel if a six-month trial proves successful.

Read the full article . . .