Colorado’s method of paying for highways and transit is “antiquated, inadequate and in need of overhaul,” Gov. Bill Ritter said Thursday as he challenged state leaders to come up with new ways of funding transportation.
Between now and November, a new transportation-finance panel will explore a variety of “sustainable revenue streams” for roads and mass transit in Colorado that could include tax increases, toll roads and other “public-private partnerships,” Ritter said at a transportation summit attended by more than 500 people at the Colorado Convention Center. Read full article by Jeffrey Leib, Denver Post Staff Writer
From solar power to biofuel, state is way ahead of federal government. Read full article by John Larson, NBC News Correspondent April 2, 2007
Spurred by a Supreme Court ruling this week, environmental activists are stepping up pressure on carmakers to cut down on CO2 emissions. Will Detroit get the message? Backstage at the auto show. Read full Newsweek article by Keith Naughton
At Virgin, we’re trying to develop a new business model that factors in the complete cycle of energy use and carbon output.
By Sir Richard Branson
Dec. 18, 2006 issue – In 1972, a young scientist named Lames Lovelock was developing a hypothesis of how the planet worked called Gaia theory. Lovelock’s theory, named for the Greek goddess of the earth, was that life has not only adapted to our planet’s conditions but shapes those conditions as well. It was scorned and ignored at first, but now Lovelock’s ideas are the basis of our current understanding of global warming and the need to cut carbon emissions. At Virgin, we have been engaged for some years in trying to create a business model for the 21st century that takes into account the whole cycle of energy consumption and carbon output, in order to change the balance. We call it Gaia Capitalism.
This project recently culminated in a $3 billion investment plan for the next 10 years in biofuel production, research and development, and other investments in renewable-energy production. The project will also include investment in new technology to dramatically shrink the carbon footprint of our existing transport operations. Since the transport sector is one of the largest consumers of oil, dramatically reducing the amount of oil used in ships, planes, trains and cars, or even replacing oil with non fossil fuels, is critical to our goals. We think it can happen in our lifetime.
The project began in 1997, when we had the opportunity to buy new trains for the long-distance rail network in the United Kingdom. At the time we pledged to pull out of domestic aviation in the U.K., where rail is capable of competing, and develop trains to be more efficient in terms of carbon input/output than any seen before. That project produced the Pendolino, built by Alstom, an all-aluminum electromagnetic tilt train with regenerative brakes, which use brake friction to create electricity. That allows the Pendolino to return 17 percent of the electricity it uses back to the National Grid. From London to Glasgow it uses nine times less CO2 per passenger than the equivalent 737 flight, making it the most efficient long-distance train in Europe.
Read full story.
Denver Post Columnist Bob Ewegen highlights some of the the challenges of solving the transportation funding puzzle in Sunday’s Denver Post.
Years ago, the Denver Post editorial page proposed raising the state’s motor fuel tax of 22 cents a gallon by a dime.
We suggested using half of that revenue to repair the state’s crumbling highway network. The other nickel would have been earmarked to pay off bonds, so the state could borrow money to begin catching up on its mounting backlog of transportation needs.
Then-Gov. Roy Romer was seldom averse to spending money. Nonetheless, he objected to using bonds to accelerate highway construction, telling The Post’s editorial board he preferred “pay-as-you-go” construction.
“Governor,” I snapped back in exasperation, “we’re paying all right. But we’re not going.”
That was 1996. In the decade since, Colorado’s highway construction backlog has only grown worse. It now constitutes one of the two huge fiscal problems that Bill Ritter will face when he’s sworn in as governor next month, the other being how to pay for our starving higher education system.
To read the full article