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Matthew W. Daus, Esq.
Partner and Chairman, Windels Marx Transportation Practice Group
President, International Association of Transportation Regulators
Transportation Technology Chair, University Transportation Research Center

156 West 56th Street | New York, NY 10019
T. 212.237.1106 | F. 212.262.1215


The Infrastructure Bill Is Big, but It Will Not Transform America’s Focus on Cars


While the massive law is a historic achievement in a time of toxic partisanship, some analysts, transit advocates, and environmentalists say it does not go far enough in upending the fundamental emphasis on automobiles embedded in federal transportation policy. It contains $110 billion in new spending for highways, roads, and bridges, compared with $39 billion in new spending on public transit — close to the usual ratio. The president had wanted $85 billion for transit. Voluminous research has shown that widening roads does not cure traffic congestion because of “induced demand,” an econometrics term that says, basically, “If you build it, they will come.”

The new law, however, has the potential to dramatically improve infrastructure and road safety for people who get around cities by bicycling or walking, advocates of so-called active transportation say. It includes 60% more for the federal Transportation Alternatives program, and increasing every year over five years. Local governments compete for grants under the program to pay for bike lanes, sidewalk improvements, shared-use trails, and other projects that make walking and cycling easier and safer.

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Biden Pushes Electric Vehicle Chargers as Energy Costs Spike

President Biden toured a General Motors plant in Detroit to highlight how his newly signed $1 trillion infrastructure law could transform the auto industry. 
He is highlighting billions of dollars in his giant bipartisan infrastructure deal to pay for the installation of electric vehicle chargers across the country, an investment he says will go a long way to curbing planet-warming carbon emissions while creating good-paying jobs. It is also an attempt to leapfrog China in the plug-in EV market. Currently, the U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle sales is one-third the size of the Chinese EV market.
The president noted that the U.S. was not yet leading with electric vehicles, something he believes his infrastructure package can change with plans to build 500,000 charging stations. “Up until now, China has been leading in this race — that’s about to change,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that the jobs of the future end up here in Michigan, not halfway around the world."
Two top White House advisers said the legislation would help America regain its global competitiveness, which has waned, they contend, “after decades of delay and decay.” However, Republicans, even some of those who voted in favor of the infrastructure package, are criticizing Biden for being preoccupied with electric vehicle technology at a time when Americans are contending with a spike in gasoline and natural gas prices.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell took the Senate floor Tuesday to make the case that “the Biden administration doesn’t have any strategic plan to snap its fingers and turn our massive country into some green utopia overnight."

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Windels Marx Transportation Practice Group News Feed - Volume 2 (2021), Edition 210

Uber Canada and the Forum Partner on Free Programming for Self-Identified Women Entrepreneurs
This programming will support 500 entrepreneurs through free, half-day programs that cover everything from scaling and growing a business, to digital marketing and profitability.
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Dubai Unicorn Swvl Expands into Latin America with Viapool Acquisition
The move will grant the mass transit company access to Argentina and Chile markets.
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Swiss Re and Baidu Team up in Autonomous Driving Business
Swiss Re will provide risk management expertise and insurance products for Baidu's autonomous driving business.
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Buttigieg: Federal Vaccine Mandates will not Impact Holiday Travel
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg assured the nation that federal worker vaccine mandates will not impact holiday travel.
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Apple Reportedly wants to launch a Self-Driving EV in 2025 with a Custom Chip
Apple has completed “much of the core work” on a new processor meant to power its secretive autonomous electric car project known as Titan.
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Improving Public Transit Makes It Easier for People to Stay Healthy
Good transportation policy is also good health-care policy.
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Miami Commission Votes to Banish Electric Scooters from Its Streets
The Miami City Commission has voted to end its multiyear experiment with shared electric scooters.
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Metro Oks $22 Million Deal to Buy Its First 20 Electric Buses, Aims to Start Carrying Passengers Next Year
The Houston Metro is buying 20 new electric buses.
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San Francisco’s Bike Sharing Program Reckons with an Uncertain Future
San Francisco’s bike sharing program reckons with an uncertain future.
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Revel Electric Fleet is Latest Car Service to Hit the NYC Streets

Yahia Adbelghaffar spends his time behind the wheel of a Tesla Model Y, a car he said is "pretty cool."  Plus, there's no pain at the gas pump — "great for my wallet," he said.

But he doesn't own it. Revel, the electric moped operator-turned-taxi-service, does. Revel's EVs make pick-ups and drop-offs in Manhattan, up to 72nd Street, as well as drop-offs at JFK and LaGuardia airports.

While Taxi and Limousine Commission trip data is not yet available for Revel, the company says in three months since its August launch, it's had more than 39,000 rides and as many as 800 trips in a day.  Revel's fleet of 50 Teslas get charged and stored in Brooklyn.

But a new city policy is a roadblock on Revel's ability to increase its fleet.  To stop the proliferation of Ubers and Lyfts, the city put a cap on them with an exception for electric vehicles. That's how Revel started its service.

But before the launch, the City changed the rules, stopping companies like Revel from adding more electric taxis to their fleets.  At the time, the TLC chair said banning new licenses for electric vehicles prevents an unlimited number of new taxis on the road. But a former TLC chair calls that an overreaction.

"There's no reason it needs to be an all or nothing proposition," Matt Daus, former Chair of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said. "Revel has a great business model, right? They're employing drivers, they own the vehicles, they're clean vehicles. They're building infrastructure, why not monitor their growth if growth is a concern?"
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Copyright © 2021 Windels Marx - Transportation Practice Group, All rights reserved.

About Windels Marx
With offices in New York, NY, New Brunswick, NJ, Madison, NJ, and Stamford, CT, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP is a full service law firm formed in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, we represent domestic and international clients in the banking and financial institutions, energy and environmental, government and tribal interests, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, technology and intellectual property and transportation industries.

Disclaimer: In some jurisdictions, this material may be deemed as attorney advertising. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. Possession of this material does not constitute an attorney / client relationship.

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