Although it is widely claimed that Oregon's economy is dependent on freight movement, economic activity in Oregon has decoupled from physical goods movement. Truck traffic per unit of gross state product has fallen, and even the loss of regular container service to Portland has had no measurable effect on the region's economy.
Oregon's economy has shifted away from freight intensive industries and now depends on knowledge driven sectors (e.g. electronics, software, athletic apparel and footwear professional services) that move very small amounts of freight. In addition freight costs for most output is so small—and declining—that it is a negligible factor in industry profitability and location decisions.
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Abstract: Our speaker for May 14, 2010 is Gill V. Hicks, Director Southern California Operations for Cambridge Systematics, Inc. For more than ten years, Mr. Hicks served as the General Manager of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA). The $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor consolidated harbor-related railroad traffic onto a single 20-mile corridor between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the railroad mainlines near downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Hicks’ responsibilities included overall management of the agency, building consensus, estimating benefits and costs of the project, generating political support, testifying before U.S. Congress, State Legislature, regulatory bodies, city councils, funding agencies and other stakeholders; developing a financial plan, raising funds, coordinating with railroad, trucking, and shipping businesses, and managing contracts for the project.
Mr. Hicks will discuss the major challenges faced by the project, including negotiations with three competing railroads, several municipal governments, utilities, regulatory agencies, contractors, and funding entities. The process for consensus building will be discussed. Major lessons learned will be described, including methods for reducing project risk, keeping on schedule and within budget. Mr. Hicks will also touch on the challenges facing the agency as...Read more
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Abstract: Coal-fired electricity plants account for over 50 percent of the nation’s electricity. These plants can purchase coal from a large number of different locations and, often, can have a number of different transportation options. Normally, however, from the array of different options, they use only a handful. We frame the model as that of a cost-minimization with a large number of input choices, characterized by standard Kuhn-Tucker conditions. Empirically, we estimate a system of input decisions that contain both zero and non-zero levels, using a Multiple Discrete/Continuous Extreme Value model. The payoffs from each choice are a function of costs, coal attributes, and unobserved modal attributes, as well as the increased regulation under the Clean Air Amendment Act of 1990.
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Abstract: Brock Nelson is the Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad. He will give a brief overview of Union Pacific, and how they go about preparing for, and responding to frequent events such as landslides and floods.