Randal O'Toole

Randal O'Toole is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute specializing in land-use and transportation issues. As a free-market environmentalist, he worked from 1974 through 1995 helping environmental groups influence the Forest Service and national forest management. After 1995 he focused on urban issues including transportation and regional planning. He has written four books and scores of papers and articles about the best ways to protect the environment. He has also taught environmental economics at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Utah State University.

Transportation: From the Top Down or Bottom Up?

Originally published 05/25/11 on HuffingtonPost.com, by Randal O’Toole. Should transportation be funded and planned from the top down or bottom up? Top-down advocates, such as the Brookings Institution’s Robert Puentes (writing in the May 23, 2011 Wall Street Journal) argue that only central planners can have a “clear-cut vision for transportation” that will allow them to target spending […]

The Great Train Con

05/12/11 by Randal O’Toole, The Michigan View. When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced this week that he was awarding Michigan nearly $200 million for high-speed rail, he claimed that the project would bring “trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, reducing trip times […]

High-Speed Pork

02/14/11, by Randal O’Toole, The National Review (Online). President Obama’s high-speed-rail proposal will, over the course of six years, pour $53 billion of taxpayer money into a megaproject that produces little value for the vast majority of Americans. It uses the classic pork-barrel strategy of starting a program small and then expanding it after Congress, […]

It’s Time to End Amtrak Funding

02/06/11 by Randal O’Toole, Cato.org. I love passenger trains, but I don’t think other taxpayers should have to subsidize my hobby. Train travel has declined for good reason: Trains are slower than flying, less convenient than driving, and far more expensive than either. Per passenger mile, Amtrak fares average twice as much as airfares or […]