Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tampa Bay Commuting Follies


Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert


Recently the Tampa Bay Times business writer Graham Brink published an article lamenting the increasing commute times in the area.
You’re not going crazy if you feel like your trip to work keeps getting longer. 
Ten years ago, about 1 in 7 Tampa Bay area workers spent more than 45 minutes commuting to work. Now it’s approaching 1 in 5, according to U.S. Census data released last week.

Typical morning commute in Tampa
What is going on with commutes? Did Brink address any of the issues with transportation across Tampa Bay?

Most of the data Brink cites is from the most recent 2018 American Community Survey. There are multiple report and data in the scope of the survey which are available here. The primary data Brink references is the Commuting (Journey to Work) and Place of Work data.

He hits several data points extracted directly from the ACS survey.
Pity the 117,000 Tampa Bay workers who spend at least an hour getting to work and then have to do it again going home.
 Is derived from this table.
Most travel by car or truck — alone. Solo vehicle commutes are by far the most popular way to get to work, accounting for nearly 4 out of 5 trips in the Tampa Bay area.
Is in this table.

And so on. Brink keeps it true to the data, with a little editorializing here and there. Please take some time to review the ACS Survey data. Plenty of interesting information out there that will otherwise hardly be seen.

Here is breakdown how Tampa Bay area commuters get to work (from this table):
·                     87.9% drive
·                     78.9% drive alone
·                     9.0% carpool
·                     1.3% take public transportation
·                     1.4% walk
·                     0.5% bike
·                     1.6% taxi, motorcycle
·                     7.3% work at home
·                     2.6% have no vehicle available
·                     97.4% have 1 or more vehicles available
More people walk than take transit. Bicycling is a rounding error when it comes to commuting. The big winner is working at home. Transit use is minimal, and is down from 1.6% in 2010.

From this table we find the mean commute time to work of 27.6 minutes in 2018, up from 25.5 minutes in 2010.

As noted here, Tampa Bay population has increased dramatically over the years, while our roads and other infrastructure has lagged behind. This has resulted in more congestion and longer commutes (easier and cheaper to build new housing further out), which is picked up in the 2018 ACS Survey data. If we don't invest in our growing infrastructure needs, things will get backed up. No surprise there.

Brink concludes:
As Tampa Bay’s population swells, encouraging more people to work from home will be one way to mitigate traffic congestion. Even so, it’s a good bet that many workers will spend more time commuting.
That's true.

Are there other alternatives?

Brink hints at transit.
Tampa Bay stands out for treating public transit like an afterthought. Nationwide, about 5 percent of commuters use public transit. Here, it’s 1.3 percent.
What if we could become an average C student and get up to 5% when it comes to transit?

The ACS data shows that currently 18,994 use transit in Tampa Bay at our current 1.3% run rate. If we bump that up to 5%, that would be about 73,053 commuters on transit, or an increase of about 54,000 new transit riders (which is about how many vehicles travel on Fowler Ave daily). But 1,264,820 currently drive to work. Even if all 54,000 new transit riders transitioned from driving, that would still leave over 1.2 million drivers, mostly driving solo, on the roads. This does not include the expected population growth of 1 million new residents in the Tampa Bay area in the next 25 years or so, the vast majority of whom will still be driving.

If we can't keep up with roads, the odds are we won't keep up with transit, especially when we "treat public transit like an afterthought."

But will transit riders reduce their commute time?

First we need to determine the average commute time for transit riders, then compare that to driving. This requires some simple math some the ACS data.

Transit times average over 15 minutes longer than driving in Tampa Bay.
Source: Calculated from ACS tables B08136 and B08301
It takes over 15 minutes longer to commute via transit than driving in Tampa Bay. This is actually better than many municipalities, but that's not saying much. If you want to reduce commute times, transit is not the answer.

This is not surprising, as even municipalities with "better" transit than Tampa Bay have longer commute times via transit.
For New York metro residents who take public transportation, a door-to-door commute averages about 51 minutes. That’s much longer than the 29 minutes typically spent by those who drive alone. Similar discrepancies exist around Los Angeles, where despite the region’s traffic woes, drivers arrive at work an average of 22 minutes faster than public transportation riders. In nearly every metro area, driving to work remains far quicker than using a bus or train, taking less than half as long in some places.
[Emphasis mine]

This chart shows the difference in several metro areas.

Average commute times: Driving vs. Public transportation
https://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-transit-driving-times.html
Transit will not offer any relief, as it really has not helped reduce commute times over driving anywhere else in the U.S., so it most certainly will not help in Tampa Bay.

What to do?

Hillsborough County passed the All for Transportation 1 cent sales tax to solve their problems. Initial plans are rolling in. Will those plans help? They include:
·                     $34.9 million to develop and construct enhanced crosswalks, bike paths, sidewalks and other features along 32 streets throughout the county. This is part of the “complete streets” initiative — a nationwide effort to make roads safer for cars, bikes and pedestrians. In Tampa, the largest amounts would be spent on Twiggs Street, 22nd Street and New Tampa Boulevard.
This won't help, as there are so few pedestrians and bicyclists compared to drivers, and even transit riders, and they already have the shortest commute times. We'll take on the "complete streets" and "safety" issues on another day (which we've addressed before).
·                     $7.4 million to design plans for a more modern Tampa streetcar and extend it to Palm Avenue — and to study additional expansion to Seminole Heights or other locations.
This is a waste of money. Again, few riders, which are not even paying any fares for the streetcar, and transit takes longer than driving or biking or walking.
·                     $4.8 million to resurface roads in five neighborhoods: North Bon Air, North Tampa, Terrace Park, University Square and West Shore Palms.
Basic maintenance. You are paying a 30 year sales tax to maintain what you got?
·                     $8.2 million to rehabilitate the Brorein and Cass street bridges.
Again, more maintenance that should have been planned with existing revenues.
·                     $5.5 million to restore bus routes that the county’s transit agency cut two years ago. The money also would increase frequency on routes along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, 22nd Street, 30th Street, Columbus Drive, in South County and between Westshore and the University of South Florida.
Transit won't help with reducing commute times. Besides, these routes had low ridership before, so that won't change.
·                     $41.2 million to buy 66 electric and compressed natural gas buses and 10 vans for the county’s transit agency.
May reduce the greenhouse gas emissions for HART, which are worse than driving. But will do nothing to reduce commute times.
·                     $29.3 million to develop changes to 25 intersections throughout the county, including adding and lengthening turn lanes, constructing medians, syncing traffic signals, and adding options for bikes and pedestrians. Intersections include Bloomingdale Avenue and Pearson Road, Habana and Sligh avenues, Lumsden and Valrico roads, and County Road 39 and Lithia Pinecrest Road.
This can help, depending on the details on the plans.
·                     $19.8 million to develop plans for additional lanes to Gibsonton Drive, Lutz Lake Fern Road, Orient Road and Sligh Avenue.
This can help a little in those ares, as these roads are over capacity today, butt they are not even arterial roads.

But the "experts" have already decided it's a great plan.
“This is very transformative,” Tampa’s Director of Transportation Jean Duncan told the committee, which was created to help guide how the tax is spent. “This is just the first year of the 30-year tax. If you can imagine 30 years from now, it’s going to be like the Jetsons. It’s going to be wonderful.”
Great. I'll finally get my flying car and jetpack.

There you have it. 8 projects. Maybe 2 of the projects will help reduce some localized congestion and reduce commute times. The rest wont help a bit. And the experts love it.

The facts are transit use is declining, as it takes too long. Many transit riders shift from transit as their economic prospects improve. Transit in Tampa Bay is way behind the curve regardless. It is a decade or two away, even with the All for Transportation tax, from any impact, which will be minimal based on the early plans. Especially given the forecasted population increase of more than 1 million new residents in the area, the vast majority of whom will be driving. The urban density crowd still has not figured out where those people are going to live, so new master plans with higher density to "live, work and play" in walkable communities is just a fantasy.

That just leaves us with driving cars and roads. Referring to the "typical morning commute in Tampa" map above, it is clear that roads are jammed county wide. Localized transit and streetcars will offer no relief. Only systematic county-wide plans improving the primary mode of transportation - cars on roads - will improve commutes.

The new residents will be new drivers. If we don't invest aggressively in the road infrastructure throughout the area, it will be massive gridlock before we know it. Sure, we can't pave over everything, but we have more room than we have time to make many needed improvements.

Otherwise, just sit back in more and more traffic and wait for the misery.

Or take transit to understand how much worse it can get.

Posted by EyeOn TampaBay at 5:00 AM 

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Identity Politics Hurting Dems 2020 Chances




Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer








By Jim Bleyer
The conventional wisdom—that earlier this year projected the 2020 political demise of Donald Trump and Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives—lies in tatters.
Democrats themselves,  are responsible for dashing those high, if unrealistic expectations.  The majority of Americans abhor identity politics but major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination employ that questionable strategy and their supporters have picked up on it to the tenth power.
”Identity politics” is defined a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.
It is believed identity politics has its roots in late 18th century Western Europe, triggered by animosity towards the Enlightenment’s universalistic values and human solidarity.  More recently—in the 1960s and 1970s—identity politics dovetailed with victimhood, the emerging moral authority.
The practice boils down to pandering instead of addressing the many burning issues afflicting the majority of Americans.  The narrowness of identity politics shunts aside broad-based political movements that strike a chord with large voting blocs.
Elizabeth Warren wants transgender illegal aliens to bypass detention protocols and released upon their arrival.
”We must end unnecessary detention and enforce strict standards to keep trans migrants and asylum seekers safe—and I’ll continue holding our government accountable when they fail to do so,” she tweeted.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has worn his religion, youth, and gayness on his sleeve as he pursues a coalition that makes him competitive in the primary season.  His centrism and chumminess with Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg seem to be campaign afterthoughts.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Cory Booker stress and that they favor legalizing marijuana and removing pot-related convictions from criminal records.  The two also oppose the death penalty and cash bail.
They are positive racial appeals and are considered noble by many but the pair have pigeonholed  themselves instead of addressing the worries of a wide swath of the electorate.
Sen. Kamala Harris, apparently unaware that identity politics has historically proven to be a net minus, was unapologetic about using it.
“I have a problem, guys, with that phrase, ‘identity politics’,” Harris told a progressive gathering ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. “Because let’s be clear, when people say that, it’s a pejorative. That phrase is used to divide, and it is used to distract. Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us. It is used to try and shut us up.”
Is it any coincidence that her polling has gone from 15 percent to single digits?
Candidate Andrew Yang appears to be the lone Democratic voice rejecting identity politics. “I understand the impulse, but identity politics are a great way to lose elections,” he said. “We need to bring people together.”
Many post mortems of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 campaign point to the overemphasis on identity politics.  Clinton is viewed as having spent too much time trying to appeal to people based on race, or gender, or sexual orientation instead of discussing issues vexing the electorate: health care, jobs, education, climate change, economic disparity.
She invoked terms such as “white privilege” and “Black Lives Matter,” while marginalizing pocketbook issues.
Identity politics makes the insulting assumption that blacks, Hispanics, Asians, LGBTQs and women are only concerned about group issues and that they don’t share the concerns of other Americans.
As preposterous as the Democratic candidates have been, their adherents have taken identity politics to the precipice.  The Democratic footprint on social media is rife with ageism, racism, sexism, and less-than-subtle anti-Semitism.
A sampling:
“No more old white men.”
”We need a woman in the White House.”
”I’m not against Jews but they have too much influence.”
Comments of this type are frequently found on Facebook pages such as Progressive Nation, Democrats Stronger Together, Blue Revolution,
Prominent Democrats and their acolytes by and large are promoting divisiveness, not unity.  It is not only a moral outrage but a losing strategy.
Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat
This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.



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Sunday, October 27, 2019

How Did You Get into The HOA Mess?

Florida’s Feudal Kingdom Law

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by:  Eugene Webb PhD
Author:
In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.




Reasons for HOAs
In existence since the 1960s, HOAs were developed for a multitude of reasons, including the following: They helped developers by allowing them to transfer the day-to-day operations of their properties to an association of the property homeowners once a certain percentage of homes were sold.
By Jake Mitchell of Credit Donky: 23 Reasons Why Homeowners Associations are Good
Florida Statute 720 is the primary guiding law for the establishment and operation of Homeowners and Condo associations.
720.302 Purposes, scope, and application.—
(1) The purposes of this chapter are to give statutory recognition to corporations not for profit that operate residential communities in this state, to provide procedures for operating homeowners’ associations, and to protect the rights of association members without unduly impairing the ability of such associations to perform their functions.
(2) The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best interest of homeowners’ associations or the individual association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of homeowners’ associations. However, in accordance with s. 720.311, the Legislature finds that homeowners’ associations and their individual members will benefit from an expedited alternative process for resolution of election and recall disputes and presuit mediation of other disputes involving covenant enforcement and authorizes the department to hear, administer, and determine these disputes as more fully set forth in this chapter. Further, the Legislature recognizes that certain contract rights have been created for the benefit of homeowners’ associations and members thereof before the effective date of this act and that ss. 720.301-720.407 are not intended to impair such contract rights, including, but not limited to, the rights of the developer to complete the community as initially contemplated.
COMMENTS ABOUT HOAs FROM MEMBERS
Disclosure: Comments here are presented without individual references for obvious reasons. They are taken from social media, Reddit, Facebook and other similar sources.
I've never heard of someone having a good experience with an HOA. I understand they were originally to keep property values up but I've heard lately they can bring them down because people don't want to deal with the HOA. So why do they still exist? Is it possible to live in a neighborhood and disband one?
My neighborhood had one and decided to do away with it and right after that one of my neighbors started a pig farm in his yard. So things like that could be a reason.
That said, I like the pigs better than the HOA.

There’s probably a reason why “Two-thirds of people who live in the jurisdiction of a homeowners association” have a negative opinion of them“19% have been in what they call a ‘war’ with their HOA““54% of respondents said they’d rather live with a ‘sloppy neighbor’ than deal with an HOA”“78% of those responding to the poll said they might consider NOT buying a home because it would be under the jurisdiction of an HOA”

Because HOAs have a tendency to devolve into petty tyrannies run by busybodies who arbitrarily limit the esthetic choices of someone who ostensibly owns a home and the land it's on. Which usually leads to bland, soulless, cookie-cutter neighborhoods with 3 or 4 different shades of brown and beige trim and all the same fences, sourced from the HOA president's brother-in-law, who happens to be the only authorized fence installer.

HOAs can also become feifdoms, with power-hungry cliques taking over control of a neighborhood through HOA board seats. HOAs can be the source of much drama and nepotism. As HOAs are private organizations, they are not subject to the same open meetings laws and rules that municipalities employ in their governance. They can suck the joy out of home ownership all in the name of "preserving property value".

But the problem is not just the board members and their petty authoritarianism that we so frequently hear about. Those folks are just the public front, and often puppets. There is an entire industry of property managers, specialized attorneys, and other vendors that has come into existence to feed off of home owners, because the law is so incredibly weighted against the home owners in H.O.A. corporations that the home owners are essentially powerless.

HOAs suck because they have almost limitless power and aren't required to provide any sort of due process. Living under a powerful HOA that's out to get you is like living under a totalitarian regime that has the power to ruin you financially with arbitrary fees and liens. I will never again in life purchase a property that's under the jurisdiction of an HOA, even if it means living in the middle of a swamp. Give me liberty or give me a lease!

From Kathy Price-Robinson. “Two-Thirds ‘Annoyed’ With HOA, Survey Says” Two-thirds of people who live in the jurisdiction of a homeowners association are "annoyed" by them, or worse, and 19% have been in what they call a "war" with their HOA. This is according to a survey of more than 3,000 customers by Service Magic.

On the upside, 24% responded positively about HOAs. However, while a primary purpose of HOAs is to force neighbors to keep up the appearance of their homes, 54% of respondents said they’d rather live with a “sloppy neighbor” than deal with an HOA. Here are the results to this question:

What is your opinion of homeowners associations?

They’re great 8%
They’re okay 16%
Minor annoyance 21%
Major headache 48%
No opinion 7%

Plus, 78% of those responding to the poll said they might consider NOT buying a home because it would be under the jurisdiction of an HOA.

End of Comments


I personally have never been in a conversation about HOAs when someone bragged about how wonderful their HOA is.

I will continue our trip through Florida Statute 720 in the next post.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Disclosures:

Please comment below.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Lies, Damned Lies and CO2 Statistics


Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

The Tampa Bay Times recently published yet another misleading editorial blaming cars for all that ails us.
The best thing Tampa Bay leaders can do to fight climate change is simply get more cars off the road. But that’s a hollow hope in a region that still lacks meaningful mass transit, and where building more toll roads is seen as progress. A sense of urgency in solving the transportation problem is no longer just about convenience and economic competitiveness — it’s also now about global warming. Tampa Bay is particularly vulnerable to every aspect of climate change, from sea level rise to more powerful hurricanes. That’s something to ponder while stuck in another gridlock on the Howard Frankland Bridge.
Cars are the problem. Transit will help. Are you sure about that?

The article cites a New York Times analysis, which in turn cites data collected by Boston University. The NYT has this cool looking map.

NYT map of a years worth off CO2 emissions for Tampa metro
This map shows the overall emissions in Tampa metro have increased 55%, and 4% per person since 1990.

It's that 4% that has given the Tampa Bay Times the vapors. Sounds horrific.

The original source of this data is DARTE Annual On-Road CO2 emissions, which includes the on-road CO2 emissions from ALL modes of road use, not just cars. That means transit buses and trucks CO2 emissions are tracked in this database in addition to cars.

For starters, Tampa metro population growth (which the Times never mentions), assuming Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco as indicated in the above map, was 1.92 million in 1990, and 2.905 million in 2017, for an increase of 47%. Most of that growth was in Hillsborough (68% growth) and Pasco (86% growth) in that period. Population growth is the biggest contributor in this analysis which the Times ignores.

But cars are much more fuel efficient these days.

US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center
https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10562
As more fuel efficient vehicles increase market share, vehicles contribution to CO2 emissions and other pollutants will decrease, as they burn less fuel. This is largely confirmed by the Hillsborough Environmental Planning Commission, who reports overall improving air quality over the years despite the growth in Hillsborough.

But for now, CO2 emissions are increasing slightly faster than the population increase in the Tampa Metro area. Why is that?

The Times cites additional increase nationally of 46 percent in driving since 1990, again without any compensation for population growth (which has increased about 30% since 1990 nationally) to get to a per person mileage, or locally, which would actually be relevant. Again, the biggest factor in driving mileage increase nationally is population growth resulting in more people driving.

The Times does not state the impact to individual commute times. Tampa MSA mean commute time from the American Community Survey increased from 25.5 mins in 2010 to 27.6 mins in 2018, 2.1 minutes, or an 8% increase. The likely factors for this is increase in congestion or further commutes.

The Times avoids the elephant in the room. 87.9% of Tampa Bay commuters drive to work.  The next largest is worked at home at 7.3%. Transit is 1.3%. More people walked (1.4%) than rode transit. Road capacity clearly has not kept up with the population growth, therefore commute times increase, which in turn increases the CO2 emissions. The lack of road capacity increases commutes and idle time, which overtakes the improved efficiencies and reduce CO2 emissions with the newer vehicles.

The Times blames cars and cows too(!) for an increasing commute time and increase in CO2 emissions. The Times answer? Transit, of course.
Sure, cows and coal-fired electric plants may be bad for the environment. But transport is the single worst source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States today, and our cars, trucks and SUVs are the major culprit. Nationally, we drove 46 percent more miles in 2017 than in 1990.
Until Tampa Bay leaders embrace real mass transit, this problem will only get worse.
But transit buses are worse when it comes to emissions.

US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center
https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10311
This chart shows average per-passenger fuel economy of various modes of travel. Bet you did not know that "transit buses are not very efficient at their current ridership rates, where, on average, a given bus is less than 25% full" according the US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Therefore, transit buses, which are the predominant form of transit (but only 1.3% of commuting according to the 2018 American Community Survey) in Tampa Bay now and for the foreseeable future, are nearly 25% worse for CO2 emissions for on a per-passenger basis than either cars or light trucks.

Or, another way to look at the data is every bus rider is contributing 25% more CO2 emissions than if they drove a car. Perhaps fewer (and continually decreasing as current transit ridership trends indicate) transit riders is a blessing for Tampa Bay.

Let that sink in.

Clearly transportation is a big emitter of CO2 emissions, as is electricity generation.

US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center
https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10802
[Cited from the source] This graph displays the breakdown of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (in million metric tons CO2 equivalent) by economic sector. GHG emissions from the transportation sector have increased 22.2% from 1990 to 2017. Transportation emissions have also increased from 24.0% of total emissions to 28.9%, the largest increase in percentage points of any sector. The electricity generation sector has seen the greatest emissions reductions from 1990 to 2017, down 1.9 percentage points overall.

Further analysis confirms most of the electricity generation sector emissions reduction occurred from 2010 to 2017, a decrease of 23%, due primarily from converting from coal to natural gas as the primary fuel.

Next, consider vehicle miles traveled in the US and its overall impact to emissions.

US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center
https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10315
[Cited from the source] This chart shows trends in total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the United States (expressed as a moving 12-month count) from 1971 through 2018. The long rise in the number of vehicle miles traveled has seen three periods of flattened growth or decline, triggered by the oil price spikes of 1974, 1979, and 2008. The VMT flattening that started in 2008 continued long after oil prices recovered, largely because of an economic recession. However, in recent years, VMT has seen substantial rises largely because the U.S. economy recovered and petroleum prices remained relatively low.

Yet more further analysis confirms a 51% increase in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from 1990 to 2018, while the population grew 30%. Note above "[t]ransportation emissions have also increased from 24.0% of total emissions to 28.9%, the largest increase in percentage points of any sector." First of all, this is a statistical misunderstanding of the data, since overall GHG emissions have been on a significant downward trend since 2007, while transportation's contribution to emissions have actually been only slightly down since then. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) also states "GHG emissions from the transportation sector have increased 22.2% from 1990 to 2017". But looking even more closely confirms CO2 emissions from transportation is nearly flat since 2010, and slightly decreased from 2007, while electricity generation was declining rapidly. Despite the VMT increase and the population increase, the most surprising aspect is that CO2 emissions from transportation is not much greater, a testament to the improved efficiencies, and thus per mile CO2 emissions reduction, of motor vehicles over the last 38 years. 

The Times also notes that this was the "the first year in which cars, trucks and SUVs began to spew more carbon dioxide than electric utilities across the nation". They forgot buses "spew" CO2 as well. 
Utilities are cleaning up their act and reduced emissions each year in the five years leading up to 2017, the last year for which the EPA has records. But vehicle emissions rose every year in that period.
The Times conveniently cherry picks the data to suit their narrative. As illustrated in the chart below, electric utilities have a downward trend on emissions from 2007 with a couple of exceptions. While there has been a slight increase in transportation emissions in the last 5 years, transportation emissions in 2017 are still lower than every year from 2000 to 2008.

Derived from US Dept of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center
https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10802
But there's more! Another relevant data point over this time period is US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or the primary metric of the economy. It might be interesting to compare the GDP vs. GHG Emissions (mash up from the US Federal Reserve GDP data and AFDC GHG emissions data). Energy consumption is highly correlated with economic growth, as well as GHG emissions, at least in the past.

Mashup of US GDP and GHG emissions
While the GHG/CO2 emissions data has been relatively static from 1990 to 2017, and on a downward trend since 2007, the US GDP has more than tripled! On a per person, GHG per GDP $, or vehicle miles traveled in those CO2 "spewing" cars, we are on track for reducing CO2 emissions.

That sounds like a success story that we need to keep up.

But according to the Times, the end is near unless you give up your cars.

Also, the Times neglected to mention the electric utilities reduction in CO2 emissions is largely due to their large scale conversion from coal to natural gas fuels, which has about 1/2 of the CO2 emissions of coal.  This reduction is definitely not due to wind and solar electricity generation which are still minimal contributors to power generation.

This CO2 reduction since 2007 is confirmed by U.S. Energy and Information Administration, although there was slight increase in 2018.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook
A colder winter and increased economic growth drove some of the emissions growth. More normal winters are forecast as well as some reduced economic forecasts. 

This is a relevant fact, since Tampa Electric is meeting some resistance in their plan to convert part of Big Bend Power Station to natural gas generation, reducing costs and reducing a major CO2 emitter in Tampa Bay. Hillsborough County commissioners Kimberly Overman, Pat Kemp, and Mariella Smith have come out against Tampa Electric's plans, while they also stymie needed road projects to relieve congestion, which will decrease CO2 emissions from vehicles. 

If the Times and the BOCC commissioners cared about reducing CO2 emissions, they would support the Big Bend Power Station conversion to natural gas.

The increase in natural gas and reduction in coal are the primary drivers in the reduction in emissions. Tampa Electric has been coal dependent for too long.

From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.
...
Studies have shown that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide increase photosynthesis, spurring plant growth.
So we may have more green space to enjoy while stuck in traffic.
Posted by EyeOn TampaBay at 5:30 AM 

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

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