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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 12, 2007 / 22 Adar, 5767

Fighting the real gridlock

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is peculiar: The secretary of transportation is not a household name. But Mary Peters — now you know — is more important than most public officials to improving America's economic dynamism and reducing the aggravation of everyday life.


It is perverse: In today's information-intensive economy, the costs of information often approach zero and the speed at which it moves approaches instantaneousness. But the speed that many users of information travel to where they use it to produce goods and services is slowing, and the costs of this are rising.


Traffic congestion is even worse than you think, according to Peters, a fourth-generation Arizonan and a grandmother whose preferred mode of transportation is her Harley-Davidson. In the past 20 years, congestion in the 85 largest cities has caused the number of hours lost each year by the average driver in rush hours to increase from 16 to 47. In the 13 largest cities, drivers are stuck in traffic the equivalent of nearly eight workdays. Congestion's immediate and indirect economic costs — not including lost serenity, family time and civic engagement — just begin with fuel and wear and tear on vehicles.


Innovative "just in time" delivery practices have enabled businesses to control inventories, thereby modulating business cycles. Congestion, however, is forcing supply-chain managers to hold larger inventories or build more distribution centers, thereby increasing the transportation and logistics components of gross domestic product.


In 2009, Peters says, the highway trust fund, largely filled by the federal gasoline tax (18.4 cents per gallon), will go into deficit. Because inertia usually governs the government, Congress might simply increase and index the tax, thereby avoiding two inconveniences: fresh thinking and departures from the status quo.



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There must be new highways and new lanes on some old ones. But there also must be new ways — made possible by new technologies — of using lanes.

The usual scolds — environmentalists, urban "planners," enthusiasts for public transit (less than 5 percent of the workforce uses it) — argue that more highways encourage more driving ("induced demand") and hence are self-defeating. But as Ted Balaker and Sam Staley respond in their new book on congestion, " The Road More Traveled," among the 10 largest metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has the least pavement per person; Dallas has twice as much per person and half as much congestion. Furthermore, when new schools are built because old ones have become congested and then the new ones fill up with children from families attracted by new schools, who argues that building the new ones was a mistake?


The congestion crisis requires joining an old material — concrete — with new technologies. Toll highways or lanes can do what restaurants and movie theaters do — use differential pricing to draw traffic to off-peak hours. Peters cites Interstate 15 in Southern California. It uses dynamic pricing, under which the continually varying cost of access to special lanes is posted on electronic signs. Changing the price as often as every six minutes prevents congestion. Another California highway that uses prices posted on a printed schedule has increased traffic flow 40 percent.


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When taxpayers pay the gas tax, they do not know what they are buying — except "Bridges to Nowhere" and other pork. When drivers pay a toll, they know exactly what they are getting — life's most precious scarce thing, time.


Peters says there are large sources of private capital available for investments in transportation infrastructure. Indiana has leased its toll road to a private consortium that will have an incentive — profit — to use electronic toll collection rather than human collectors who slow traffic and sometimes cost twice as much as the tolls they collect.


Transportation innovations always have been prerequisites for America's growing prosperity. In 1815, the cost of moving goods 30 miles inland from an Atlantic port, over rutted roads that were impassable in wet weather, equaled the cost of moving the goods across the Atlantic. But soon America's first great transportation innovation, the Erie Canal, reduced the cost of shipping a ton of wheat from Buffalo to the port of New York from $100 to $10. Because of railroads and macadamized roads, the difference between the wholesale price of pork in Cincinnati and New York fell 90 percent.


Modernization of surface transportation infrastructure depends on Peters and like-minded visionaries persuading federal and state governments to abandon the inefficient dispensing of money by politically driven formulas and earmarks. New electronic technologies, harnessed to private capital and the profit motive, can nimbly use price incentives to produce new traffic patterns and driving habits, thereby increasing Americans' freedom to pursue happiness, speedily.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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