Saturday, July 31, 2010

Federal Earmarks for Charlottesville; Oliver Kuttner's Very Light Car

Brian McNeill reports in today's Progress (here) that the House-approved transportation appropriations bill includes two earmarks for Charlottesville projects:
  1. $500,000 for the 29/250 interchange
  2. $500,000 for the airport's runway extension project (which has a total price tag of $42 million)

Tom Perriello's office is publicizing the earmarks as an example of his successfully steering federal money to the 5th District.  I can't decide if highlighting these funds is a good political strategy or not (the politics of earmarks is confusing to me).

I'm not sure why the 29/250 interchange is a federal priority - or why the  Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (which requested the grant) would have focused its efforts on getting federal money for this particular project.  29/250 is certainly not the biggest bottleneck on 29 (the intersections with Hydraulic and Rio Road are both bigger problem areas).

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The other prominent local "car" story of the past couple of weeks has been the testing of Oliver Kuttner's electric car, which is the leading contender to win a $5 million prize if it passes several final tests. 

The Progress actually sent McNeill to the midwest to cover the story, which I thought was a nice bit of "big picture, future-oriented" journalism by them.

Unfortunately there didn't seem to be a great deal to actually report on while he was there, or maybe I'm just not interested in cars enough to really appreciate the competition.  I do love that Kuttner is focusing so much energy (and money) on the electric car project. I hope he succeeds.

Kuttner's Very Light Car

1 comment:

  1. A correction: Oliver's car is not electric, but is powered by a one-cylinder, 250cc significantly modified Yamaha motorcycle engine, running on E85. What has allowed this car to be the only one remaining in the mainstream class of the X Prize is unprecedented platform efficiency, ie, low weight and low aerodynamic drag.

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