This paper addresses questions having implications for policy analysis that are concerned with political-economic problems of improving the performance of the U.S. transportation system. Attention is focused on problems of instituting market and political mechanisms for articulating preferences for transportation. The following issues are addressed: development of transportation meta plans (plan for making plans and policy decisions) at national, state, and local levels; pricing and regulations as related to user chrges, cross-subsidizing captive rail shippers, and rail car shortages; jurisdictional boundaries, specifically geographic and agency boundaries; adjustment to energy situation, i.e., market problem, energy efficient railroads, conservation practices, and regulation of oil use; settlement pattens regarding transportation and energy; wonership and property rights related to transportation, including pipelines; and observation of political practice with regard to settlement patterns, cross-subsidies, rationalization, ownership, substitute service, benefit-cost analysis, public hearings, and implementation. The author's purpose was to pose these questions and not to answer them; because there is no unique optimum transportation system. It was concluded that neither the market nor the political process is very effective as mechnisms for preference articulation for such complex products as the national transportation system. While good applied political-economic analysis will not produce a perfect system, it can make a useful contribution. To be useful, economic analysis must be tuned into the reality of the political system.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Agricultural Economics Association

    Department of Agricultural Economics, Kentucky University
    Lexington, KY  United States  40506
  • Authors:
    • Shaffer, J D
  • Publication Date: 1979-12

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00330122
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Proceeding
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1981 12:00AM