Randal O'Toole is the director of the Independence Institute's Transportation Policy Center. As the author of The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Will Harm American Cities, O'Toole is a nationally recognized expert on urban land-use and transportation issues.

About Randal O'Toole

June 30th, 2014
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has proposed a three-month transportation bill. Three more months, he says, will give Congress a chance to figure out a long-term solution. The only problem is that Congress had three months three months ago and did nothing. Meanwhile, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., have proposed to increase gas taxes [...]
June 3rd, 2014
President Obama’s recent visit to the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York was intended to push Congress to approve billions of dollars in infrastructure spending increases. But throwing more money at transit just puts more cash into the hands of government contractors, while doing little for commuters. The federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to run [...]
March 5th, 2014
by Randal O’Toole President Obama’s latest transportation “vision” is as unrealistic as California Governor Brown’s plan to pay for high-speed rail with cap-and-trade revenues. Obama proposes that Congress spend $302 billion on surface transportation over the next four years, or $75.5 billion a year. This is nearly $25 billion more per year than Congress is spending [...]
February 27th, 2014
by Peter Blake You could hardly buy an environmental impact statement today for the $6.3 million the Colorado Highway Department spent on the land, labor, bulldozers, concrete, rebars and bridges needed for the original Denver-Boulder Turnpike more than 60 years ago. Not that they needed EIS paper shufflers then. But the obvious question is: Why doesn’t [...]
February 11th, 2014
by Randal O’Toole When Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) opened its West light-rail line last April, it naturally cancelled parallel bus service. But, for many people, riding the light rail cost a lot more than the bus. This effectively made transit unaffordable for some low-income workers, who now drive to work. A group called 9to5, which represents [...]
December 9th, 2013
Virtually every state in America has either passed legislation or is contemplating legislation to regulate drones—small unmanned aircraft with the capability of autonomous flight. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requirement for the integration of drones into the National Airspace System by 2015 has triggered a flurry of interest in the technology. Unfortunately, the current regulatory structure as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration poses a tremendous barrier to entry for drone- based businesses, and has placed the industry behind more drone-friendly countries like Japan and Australia, where unmanned aircraft have enjoyed approval for commercial use for years. State-based regulations might present an opportunity to improve the situation.
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July 21st, 2014
Some things don’t mix well. Mustard and chocolate cake, seafood and ice cream, bacon and vegetables—all of these make me wrinkle my nose. As it turns out, hard-nosed philosophy and education policy also do not make a good pair. Last week, Andy Smarick wrote about the problems that arise when philosophical views collide with education [...]