Subject: Studies in the News 05-19 (July 6, 2005)

Studies in the News
Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement

Contents This Week

   Plants modernize without pollution equipment
   Siting to minimize pollution risks
   Using forests to reduce air pollution
   Global climate change in California
   Perchlorate sampling and cleanup
   River restoration results
   Santa Clara, Tuolumne rivers endangered
   Funding allocations for endangered species
   Road culverts obstruct salmon
   License fees not used to stock fish
   Reforestation and timber stand improvement
   Vigilance needed for GMO foods
   Transportation and smart growth
   Smart growth and local governance
   More control needed for nuclear waste
   Zoonotic diseases and exotic pets
   High cost of free parking
   Cities can refuse cell towers
   State fails to reduce pesticide smog
   Limiting the emissions of mercury pollution
   Court upholds private property regulation
   DWP complied with charter in funds transfer
   Court strikes manure rules
   No suit on water contracts
   Klamath river basin water obligations
   Plan limits Klamath water use
   Challenges of restoring Hetch Hetchy
   Development increases firefighting costs
   Bay Area commuter traffic characteristics
   Youngest drivers' death rate
   Federal Highway balance of payments
   Red light cameras reduce crashes
   Traffic safety and public health
   Eliminating federal fuel tax
   Cargo transit plan
   Freight rail transportation
   Gasoline prices and family budgets
   Linking jobs, housing and transportation
   Highway and transit investments
   Studies in the News, May - June 2005
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



State of New York, et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. 02-1387. June 24, 2005. 73 p.

Full Text at:

["A federal appeals court sided with the Bush administration, upholding its revisions of the Clean Air Act to allow plant operators to modernize without installing expensive new pollution control equipment. The ruling turned back challenges to the revisions by New York, California and a dozen other states." New York Times (June 25, 2005) A1.]

[Request #S51901]

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Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective: Draft. By California Air Resource Board and California Environmental Protection Agency. (The Board, Sacramento, California) February 17, 2005. 60 p.

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["The Air Resources Board's primary goal in developing this document is to provide information that will help keep California's children and other vulnerable populations out of harm's way with respect to nearby sources of air pollution.... The issue of siting is a local government function. As more data on the connection between proximity and health risk from air pollution become available, it is essential that air agencies share what we know with land use agencies."]

[Request #S51902]

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The Cost of U.S. Forest-based Carbon Sequestration. By Robert N. Stavins, Harvard University, and Kenneth R. Richards, Indiana University. Prepared by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (The Center, Arlington, Virginia) January 2005. 40 p.

["The cost of using forests to remove greenhouse gases from the air could be about the same as cutting pollution with fuel switching or energy efficiency improvements, according to a new report.... However, removing carbon roughly equal to one-fifth of annual U.S. emissions would require nearly 148 million acres -- an area the size of Texas -- and cost more than $7 billion each year, the study said.... The report cautioned that while carbon sequestration is a promising tool to reduce global warming, a large-scale plan has many unanswered economic, political and social questions." Reuters (January 20, 2005) 1.]

Report. 40 p.

Executive Summary. 1 p.

[Request #S51903]

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Global Climate Change: In Support of the 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report. By Sandra Brown, Fuels and Transportation Division, California Energy Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) March 24, 2005. 29 p.

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["California Energy Commission has published a draft staff report that is the latest in the state government's ongoing effort to address the issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California. Despite current policies promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency that are reducing GHG emissions significantly, total GHG emissions in California are still projected to grow 32% from 1990 levels by 2020 unless additional policy changes are made. This report provides background and context to guide the formulation of policy options for reducing GHG emissions in California and alludes to an upcoming analysis by the Center for Clean Air Policy that may recommend GHG emissions caps tied to the amount of power that electricity providers sell in California." e-Newswire (April 6, 2005) 1]

[Request #S51904]

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A System to Track Sampling and Cleanup Results Is Needed. By U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-562. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 79 p.

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["The GAO said a formal system to monitor perchlorate detections and cleanup nationwide was needed because there is no standardized approach for reporting contamination. As a result, the pollution may be even more widespread than is now known. The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Pentagon said a formal system was unnecessary. The GAO report offered perhaps the most comprehensive accounting to date of contamination from the chemical. Of the 395 sites GAO identified, California and Texas accounted for more than half." Riverside Press Enterprise (June 22, 2005 1.]

[Request #S51923]

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Synthesizing U.S. River Restoration Efforts. By E.S. Bernhardt, Duke University, and others. IN: Science, vol. 308 (April 29, 2005) pp. 636-637.

["Smith's project is just one of thousands of river restoration projects that have been launched over the last few decades in the United States. But for a long time, nobody made a systematic effort to track all those projects or to figure out what was working and what wasn't. That changed a few years ago when some academic scientists decided to assemble a massive national database of stream projects.... Smith says his restoration appears to be going well, but it's not clear how much money he'll have to document the results. Unless long-term monitoring becomes a routine part of restoration budgets, he may never know if his trees are actually helping." Morning Edition (April 29, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51905]

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Most Endangered Rivers of 2005: Ten Rivers Reaching the Crossroads in the Next 12 Months. By American Rivers. (American Rivers, Washington, DC) April 2005. 32 p.

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["The American Rivers group ranks the Santa Clara, the longest and wildest river remaining in Southern California, as the nation's 10th most endangered, because of the massive Newhall Ranch project and other urban development planned along its banks. The Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park ranks eighth, the rivers group said, because of a proposal that would allow San Francisco to take more water from the mountain stream, already a principal supplier of Bay Area drinking water." Los Angeles Times (April 13, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51925]

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Endangered Species: Fish and Wildlife Service Generally Focuses Recovery Funding on High-Priority Species, but Needs to Periodically Assess Its Funding Decisions. By U.S. Government Accountability Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) April 2005. 47 p.

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[“The Services spent its recovery funds in a manner generally consistent with species priority in fiscal year 2000 through 2003, spending almost half (44 percent) of the $127 million on the highest priority species.... While we found that the Service spent a majority of its recovery funds on high priority species, without periodically assessing its funding decisions, the Service cannot ensure that it spends its recovery funds on the species that are of the greatest priority.”]

[Request #S51906]

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California Department of Transportation, District 1 Pilot Fish Passage Assessment Study: Overall Results. By Margaret M. Lan, Humboldt State University. (California Department of Transportation, Sacramento, California) February 2005. Various pagings.

["In March of 2001, Caltrans initiated the North Coast Pilot Research study to identify State Highway System culverts that blocked or impeded upstream or downstream passage of anadromous salmonids.... The prioritization list ... is not a definitive order ... but a guidance document identifying sites needing remediation and ranking high for either species diversity, extent of barrier, habitat or some combination of these conditions."]

[Request #S51907]

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Department of Fish and Game: The Preservation Fund Comprises a Greater Share of Department Spending Due to Reduction of Other Revenues. By the California State Auditor, California Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) June 2005. 43 p.

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["For years, outdoor sports enthusiasts have been bailing out the state Department of Fish and Game by paying soaring fees for hunting and fishing licenses, according to a state audit. But less of their money is being used to keep the rivers stocked with fish. The department also has depleted a $24.5 million surplus from the fishing and hunting licenses by using it to pay for other programs, the audit says." Modesto Bee (June 15, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51908]

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Better Data Are Needed to Identify and Prioritize Reforestation and Timber Stand Improvement Needs. By U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-374. (The Office, Washington, DC) April 2005. 51 p.

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["The acreage of Forest Service lands needing reforestation and timber stand improvement generally has been increasing since 2000. While the Forest Service data are sufficiently reliable to identify this relative trend they are not sufficiently reliable to accurately quantify the agency’s specific needs, establish priorities among treatments, or estimate a budget."]

[Request #S51909]

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Modern Food Biotechnology, Human Health and Development: An Evidence-based Study. By the Food Safety Department, World Health Organization. (The Organization, Geneva, Switzerland) June 2005.

["The United Nations' health agency said there was no evidence to suggest that any foods currently on the market posed health risks. Genetically-modified organisms can increase crop yields and food quality, thereby improving health and levels of nutrition, as well as boost profits for farmers and industry. But since some of the genes used in GMO crops have not been in the food chain before, the potential effects on health and society must always be assessed before they are grown and sold." Reuters (June 24, 2005) 1.]

Report. 76 p.

Press Release. 1 p.

[Request #S51910]

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Smart Growth and Transportation: Issues and Lessons Learned: Report of a Conference. By the Transportation Research Board. (The Board, Washington, DC) April 2005. 174 p.

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["The Transportation Research Board's Conference Proceedings summarizes the highlights of a conference, Providing a Transportation System to Support Smart Growth: Issues, Practice, and Implementation. The conference was designed to address how transportation policy makers and frontline professionals can support the diverse goals that different communities associate with smart growth." TRB Newsletter (April 13, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51911]

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Plan California 2005: CCAPA's Legislative Platform 2005 - 2006. By the California Chapter of the American Planning Association. (The Association, Sacramento, California) February 11, 2005. 9 p.

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[Includes: "Funding for Planning;" "Planning Flexibility - Support 'Smart Local Governance'; "Comprehensive Planning and Integration;" "Housing;" "Infrastructure Funding and Planning;" "AB857 Implementation;" "Public Participation and Notice;" "CEQA;" "Social Equity, Inclusion and Environmental Justice;" "Urban Limit Lines and Preservation Areas;" and "Local Government Financing - Targeted Funding for Quality Communities."]

[Request #S51912]

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission: NRC Needs to Do More to Ensure that Power Plants Are Effectively Controlling Spent Nuclear Fuel. By the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-339. (The Office, Washington, DC) April 8, 2005.

["Pervasive problems plague the control of radioactive waste at the nation's nuclear power plants, in part because the federal government has been sluggish in instituting and enforcing safeguards, according to a federal report. The indictment of the nuclear facilities and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the most comprehensive reckoning to date of problems that have begun to emerge at a number of plants in recent years." Washington Post (April 12, 2005) A19.]

Report. 42 p.

Highlights. 1 p.

[Request #S51913]

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Zoonotic Diseases and Exotic Pets: A Public Health Policy Analysis. By Washington State Department of Health. (The Department, Tumwater, Washington) October 2004. 68 p.

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["Regulating the exotic animal trade and responding to zoonotic disease outbreaks when they occur involve the cooperation of several different federal, state, and local agencies.... Many existing laws related to exotic or wild animals are not primary designed to protect public health and prevent communicable diseases.... The exotic animal trade is experiencing increasing volumes every year. The rapid movement and distribution of imported exotic and captured wild animals increases the risk that a zoonotic disease will be introduced to a new population, threaten human and animal health, and become established in native animal and insect reservoirs."]

[Request #S51914]

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The High Cost of Free Parking. By Donald C. Shoup, University of California, Los Angeles. (American Planning Association, Chicago, Illinois) March 1, 2005. 576 p.

["Cities and taxpayers are wasting billions of dollars subsidizing parking on valuable land that could be used for housing or parks....The book challenges traditional thinking that cheap and plentiful parking is smart public policy. It comes at a time when cities and companies are studying how much parking to provide workers and how to encourage wider use of mass transit....Shoup urges cities to review their parking requirements and adjust prices and supply based on demand." USA Today (March 20, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51059]

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City of Rancho Palos Verdes, et al. v. Abrams. U.S. Supreme Court. 03-1601. March 22, 2005. Various pagings

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["In a 9-0 ruling, the justices said the federal law that was designed to encourage the growth of the telecommunications industry did not allow cities to be sued for damages for refusing to permit a cellphone tower.... The high court's decision will take some of the pressure off local governments to approve permits for new cellphone towers, although it does not mean they can refuse all of them." Los Angeles Times (March 23, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51915]

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El Comite para el Bienstar de Earlimart, et al. v. Paul Helliker, et al. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California. S-04-882 LKK/KJM. Order Denying Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. April 25, 2005. 18 p.

["California should have been meeting periodic goals for the reduction of airborne pesticides in five areas of the state despite regulators' claims to the contrary, a judge ruled.... To avoid state regulation, voluntary programs in the Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Ventura, South Coast and Southeast Desert air basins were supposed to reduce emissions by 8 percent in 1996, 12 percent in 1999 and 16 percent in 2002. The state argues that the interim goals are not legally binding, but the court disagreed, finding the voluntary programs fell short in all five areas, and California did not implement regulations necessary to attain the reduction goals." Sacramento bee (April 27, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51917]

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Emerging Mercury Control Technologies Have Shown Promising Results, but Data on Long-Term Performance Are Limited. By Government Accountability Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 69 p.

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["The most recent tests have shown that the effectiveness of sorbents in removing mercury has improved over time. Nonetheless, long-term test data are limited because most tests at power plants during normal operations have lasted less than 3 months.... Most stakeholders generally expect costs to decrease as a market develops for the control technologies and as plants gain more experience using them. Furthermore, EPA officials said that recent tests of chemically enhanced sorbents lead the agency to believe that its earlier cost estimates likely overstated the actual cost power plants would incur."]

[Request #S51918]

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San Remo Hotel, L.P., et al. v. City and County of San Francisco, et al. U.S. Supreme Court. 04-340. June 20, 2005. Various pagings

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["Dealing another setback to the property rights movement, the Supreme Court upheld a San Francisco ordinance that required building owners to pay the city a fee when they converted rental units into hotel rooms.... Three years ago, the California Supreme Court upheld the ordinance. The city said the law's purpose was to preserve rental units for low-income people and the homeless.... The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the hotel's owners did not have a right to challenge such fees in federal court once they had lost in state courts." Los Angeles Times (June 21, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51919]

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Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: Its Transfers of Funds to the City Comply With the City Charter; However, It Needs to Improve Its Controls Over Contracts, Expenditures, and Personal Records. By California State Auditor, California Bureau of State Audits. (The Bureau, Sacramento, California) January 2005. 63 p.

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["This report concludes that the department followed the requirements of the City Charter and the terms and conditions of its bond debt when it transferred more than $82 million from its Water Revenue Fund and almost $575 million from its Power Revenue Fund to the city's reserve funds since fiscal year 2001-02."]

[Request #S51920]

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Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc., et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. 03-4470. February 28, 2005. 65 p.

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["A court has ruled that new federal clean-water regulations aren't protecting the nation's waters from the manure pollution of large farms.... The court said the rules imposed in February 2003 by the EPA were arbitrary and capricious and did 'nothing to ensure' that each large farm was complying with requirements to control the pollution." Associated Press Online (March 1, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51924]

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Orff et al. v. United States et al. U.S. Supreme Court. 03-1566. June 23, 2005. 8 p.

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["The court ruled that sovereign immunity protects the United States from Francis Orff and the other unhappy farmers in the district near Fresno... Individual farmers lack the same authority the district had to sue the government... The decision will vindicate the ability of a water district's board of directors to make decisions for the district... Environmentalists, who had been closely following the case, voiced relief." Sacramento Bee (June 24, 2005)

[Request #S51926]

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Klamath River Basin: Reclamation Met Its Water Bank Obligations, but Information Provided to Water Bank Stakeholders Could Be Improved. By U. S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-283. (The Office, Washington, DC) March 2005. 60 p.

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["This report addresses 1) how the Bureau of Reclamation operated the water bank and its cost from 2002 through 2004; 2) whether Reclamation met its annual water bank obligations each year; 3) the water bank’s impact on water availability and use in the Klamath River Basin; and 4) alternative approaches for achieving the water bank’s objectives."]

[Request #S51921]

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Klamath Project: 2005 Operation Plan. By the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. (The Bureau, Klamath Falls, Oregon) April 7, 2005. 10 p.

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["Facing what is shaping up to be the third-driest year on record along the Klamath River, the federal government has unveiled a plan of water releases that hits both fish and farmers. Irrigators in the fertile Klamath Basin, an agricultural swath straddling the Oregon-California border, will get about 70% of their usual water allotment.... But fishermen and environmentalists say the cutbacks are disproportionately steep for the river." Los Angeles Times (April 11, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51927]

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Hetch Hetchy Reclaimed: Special Pulitzer Prize Reprint. By Tom Philp. Sacramento Bee (April 10, 2005) 14 p.

["Tom Philp, an associate editor of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for a series urging the restoration of Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley ... in a package of what the Pulitzer board called 'deeply researched editorials on reclaiming California's flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley that stirred action.'" Sacramento Bee (April 5, 2005) A1.]

[Request #S51928]

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California's Wildland Fire Protection System: A Primer. By Jennifer Giambattista, California Legislative Analyst's Office. (The Office, Sacramento, California) April 12, 2005.

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["California's wildland firefighting costs have doubled in the past decade, in large part because development along forest boundaries has not been reined in, a new report has concluded... The report suggests state laws might be necessary to establish new standards for construction adjacent to the state's 79 million acres of wildlands." Riverside Press-Enterprise (April 18, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51929]

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Census 2000: The Journey to Work In the San Francisco Bay Area: Data Summary No. 5. By Metropolitan Transportation Commission. (The Commission, San Francisco, California) June 2005. 351 p.

["This report on Census 2000 provides a summary of Bay Area ... commute characteristics by means of transportation to work."]

[Request #S51931]

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Fewer 16 Year-Olds are Getting Involved in Crashes; Big Decline in Crash Rates of Beginning Drivers Over a Decade: Press Release. By the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (The Institute, Arlington, Virginia) February 24, 2005. 2 p.

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["Auto deaths involving 16-year-old drivers fell 26 percent between 1993 and 2003, a period when 46 states enacted graduated licensing laws that allow fewer 16-year-olds to drive. Among 16-year-olds who have full driving privileges, the rate of fatal crashes has not fallen, and it remains higher than that of any age group. Researchers said the difference between the two groups points to the effect of the new laws, which keep most 16-year-olds from receiving unrestricted licenses and which are intended to curb risky practices, such as carrying teenage passengers and driving at night." Sacramento Bee (February 26, 2005) A9.]

[Request #S51932]

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Comparison of Federal Highway Trust Fund Highway Account Receipts Attributable to the States and Federal-Aid Apportionments and Allocations from the Highway Account. By the Office of Highway Policy Information, Federal Highway Administration. (The Office, Washington D.C.) May 2005. 1 p.

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["Twenty states collectively paid $1.8 billion more into a national highway fund than they got back for road and bridge projects in 2003, according to the most recent federal data available." Stateline (May 5, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51933]

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Safety Evaluation of Red-Light Cameras: Executive Summary. By the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, U.S. Federal Highway Administration. (The Center, McLean, Virginia) April 2005. 8 p.

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["The Federal Highway Administration has released a report that examines the effectiveness of red-light-camera systems in reducing crashes." TRB Newsletter (April 13, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51934]

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Traffic Safety and Public Health: State Legislative Action, 2004. By Melissa A. Savage and others. National Conference of State Legislatures. (NCSL, Denver, Colorado) December 2004. 63 p.

["This report summarizes the many bills regarding traffic safety issues that were considered by state legislatures during the 2004 legislative sessions. It also provides information about current traffic safety issues to legislators, federal officials and others."]

[Request #S51936]

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"Liberating the Roads: Reforming U.S. Highway Policy." By Gabriel Roth. IN: Policy Analysis, no. 538 (March 17, 2005) pp. 1-20.

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["Whether the fuel tax and the transportation programs it funds should be renewed is the central question of this paper.... This study makes the case that there is no longer any role for the federal government in the construction and financing of roads. Significant reform must include phasing down the federal fuel tax and giving back to the states full responsibility for highway programs."]

[Request #S51937]

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Goods Movement Action Plan: Phase I: Foundations: Draft. By the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, and the California Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agencies, Sacramento, California) March 2005. 82 p.

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["In a draft report, the administration encouraged the growth of the so-called goods movement industry, hailing it as a powerhouse that contributes more than $200 billion annually to California's economy and supports one out of seven state jobs. But the report acknowledges potential problems with accelerating the growth of an industry based on moving goods via ships, rail and trucks. Although the transportation of cargo creates jobs and tax dollars statewide, it is taking a dangerous toll on communities by polluting the air and threatening public health." Los Angeles Times (March 23, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51938]

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Freight Rail Transportation: A Review of the 2004 Experience. By Congressional Budget Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 24 p.

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["In 2004, the freight rail industry in the United States faced a surge in demand for its services as the economy expanded, international trade increased, and farmers harvested bumper crops of grain. As demand for transport by freight rail heightened, policymakers, shippers, and transportation analysts express concern over whether the railroads would be able to meet shippers' needs."]

[Request #S51939]

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Driven to Spend: Pumping Dollars Out of Our Households and Communities. By Scott Bernstein, and others, Surface Transportation Policy Project. (The Project, Washington, DC) June 2005. 23 p.

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["The report examines transportation costs and the effect of gas prices on family budgets. The study ranks 28 metropolitan areas on their combined transportation and housing costs and recommends specific actions that federal, state, and local governments can take to reduce the burden of transportation costs on families." TRB newsletter (June 15, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S51940]

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Linking Jobs, Housing and Transportation to Create More Livable Communities: Hearing. Presented to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. (The Committee, Sacramento, California) February 8, 2005. 109 p.

[Includes: "Background Paper;" "Summary Report;" and Presentations by the Department of Housing and Community Development, Bay Area Council, PolicyLink, UC Davis, The Olsen Company, SANDAG, Calthorpe Associates, and Housing California.]

[Request #S51941]

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The Benefits and Costs of Highway and Transit Investments Highlights of an Expert Panel. By the Government Accountability Office. GAO-05-423SP. (The Office, Washington, DC) May 2005. 98 p.

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[Includes: "How Should We Think About Transportation Benefits and Cost;" "How Are Benefits and Costs of Transit and Highway Investments Best Measured;" "How Could Benefit-Cost Analysis Be Improved;" "How Can Benefit-Cost Analysis Be Most Useful in Investment Decisions;" and others.]

[Request #S51942]

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[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Environment, Growth Management and Transportation Supplement.]


"Environment and Natural Resources", "Transportation" IN: Studies in the News, 05-14 - 5-17, May - June 2005

["Includes: "Air quality and land use handbook," "National coastal condition oceans coasts and estuaries," "California toxics release inventory," "Influencing physical activity through built environment," "Yuba River water accord," "Smog costs schools," "Asbestos assessment for El Dorado Hills," "Pension funds invest in green technology," "State of the air," and "Little change in urban gridlock."]

[Request #S51943]

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