Virginia HOT Lanes: For Insiders Only

The new I-495 HOT lanes, also known as 495 Express Lanes, are expected to go into operation late this year.  Discussion of these lanes and the concept of dynamic pricing can be found in many places on the web (official site,  a previous post of mine re: the theory of HOT lanes).

My particular concern for this post is the requirement that all users must have an E-ZPass in order to use the lanes.  What this means is that only local drivers with knowledge of the system and those who are willing to bear the monthly admin charge will be able to utilize the lanes. Thus, in order to use the HOT lanes for free one must:
  • Have 3+ persons in their vehicle, AND
  • Have an active monthly E-ZPass Flex Account, AND
  • Make sure the Flex pass is set to HOV mode

Romney is not for favoring particular technologies (well, unless it's nuclear, that is)

A quick glance at the "Energy" tab on Romney's website led me to notice this logical inconsistency.

"History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends."
So he doesn't want to play favorites.  There are plenty of economists who share this basic philosophy: let the market determine the winners.  (In general I agree with this philosophy, but only if the market prices externalities appropriately.)

His site also says:

Humankind wins the Darwin Award with anthropogenic climate change

People like me who follow climate-change news closely often find it difficult to understand why it is that we ("we" as in humankind) are doing so little to stop it.  Maybe I can't speak for everyone, but I certainly find it difficult.

Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben's recent article in Rolling Stone was another hard slap in the face that exposed how close to doomed we are.  So close, yet so little is being done.  Why?

There have been many articles and studies and opinions written about this, claiming everything from genetics to politics to economics to obliviousness--most of which contains at least a little truth.  I think that the real answer is more Darwinian.  Like this: