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Robert Poole is director of transportation policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow at Reason Foundation. Poole, an MIT-trained engineer, has advised the Ronald Reagan, the George H.W. Bush, the Clinton, and the George W. Bush administrations.
In the field of surface transportation, Poole has advised the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the White House Office of Policy Development, National Economic Council, Government Accountability Office, and state DOTs in numerous states.
Poole's 1988 policy paper proposing privately financed toll lanes to relieve congestion directly inspired California's landmark private tollway law (AB 680), which authorized four pilot toll projects including the successful 91 Express Lanes in Orange County. More than 20 other states and the federal government have since enacted similar public-private partnership legislation. In 1993, Poole oversaw a study that coined the term HOT (high-occupancy toll) Lanes, a term which has become widely accepted since.
California Gov. Pete Wilson appointed Poole to the California's Commission on Transportation Investment and he also served on the Caltrans Privatization Advisory Steering Committee, where he helped oversee the implementation of AB 680.
From 2003 to 2005, he was a member of the Transportation Research Board's special committee on the long-term viability of the fuel tax for highway finance. In 2008 he served as a member of the Texas Study Committee on Private Participation in Toll Roads, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry. In 2009, he was a member of an Expert Review Panel for Washington State DOT, advising on a $1.5 billion toll mega-project. In 2010, he was a member of the transportation transition team for Florida's Governor-elect Rick Scott. He is a member of two TRB standing committees: Congestion Pricing and Managed Lanes.
Poole is a member of the Government Accountability Office's National Aviation Studies Advisory Panel and he has testified before the House and Senate's aviation subcommittees on numerous occasions. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Poole consulted the White House Domestic Policy Council and the leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
He has also advised the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, White House Office of Policy Development, National Performance Review, National Economic Council, and the National Civil Aviation Review Commission on aviation issues. Poole is a member of the Critical Infrastructure Council of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation and of the Air Traffic Control Association.
Poole was among the first to propose the commercialization of the U.S. air traffic control system, and his work in this field has helped shape proposals for a U.S. air traffic control corporation. A version of his corporation concept was implemented in Canada in 1996 and was more recently endorsed by several former top FAA administrators.
Poole's studies also launched a national debate on airport privatization in the United States. He advised both the FAA and local officials during the 1989-90 controversy over the proposed privatization of Albany (NY) Airport. His policy research on this issue helped inspire Congress' 1996 enactment of the Airport Privatization Pilot Program and the privatization of Indianapolis' airport management under Mayor Steve Goldsmith.
Robert Poole co-founded the Reason Foundation with Manny Klausner and Tibor Machan in 1978, and served as its president and CEO from then until the end of 2000. He was a member of the Bush-Cheney transition team in 2000. Over the years, he has advised the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations on privatization and transportation policy.
Poole is credited as the first person to use the term "privatization" to refer to the contracting-out of public services and is the author of the first-ever book on privatization, Cutting Back City Hall, published by Universe Books in 1980. He is also editor of the books Instead of Regulation: Alternatives to Federal Regulatory Agencies (Lexington Books, 1981), Defending a Free Society (Lexington Books, 1984), and Unnatural Monopolies (Lexington Books, 1985). He also co-edited the book Free Minds & Free Markets: 25 Years of Reason (Pacific Research Institute, 1993).
Poole has written hundreds of articles, papers, and policy studies on privatization and transportation issues. His popular writings have appeared in national newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and numerous other publications. He has also been a guest on network television programs such as Good Morning America, NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News Tonight, and the CBS Evening News. Poole writes a monthly column on transportation issues for Public Works Financing.
Poole earned his B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and did graduate work in operations research at New York University.
- Funding Transportation and the Future of the Highway Trust Fund
Getting away from the user pays principle could cause new transportation funding problems
October 5, 2011
- Rebuilding and Modernizing Wisconsin Interstates With Toll Financing
Using tolls to ensure the timely reconstruction of the Interstates and Wisconsin's freeway system
October 3, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations #95
Interstate tolling debate heats up, large tunnels moving forward, National Infrastructure Bank's last gasp, feasability of I-90 truck tollway
September 26, 2011
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter: Airport Security 10 Years After 9/11
Taking Stock of Aviation Security Since 9/11
September 9, 2011, 2:54pm
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #71
Taking Stock of Aviation Security Since 9/11
September 9, 2011
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #86
NextGen modernization held hostage to politics, slow progress for ADS-B, LightSquared even worse than you thought
August 30, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations # 94
Truck-only lanes, buses versus Amtrak, creating rail jobs and CAFÉ standards
August 18, 2011
- Setting the Facts Straight on Tampa-to-Orlando High-Speed Rail
August 17, 2011, 6:36pm
- FAA Shutdown And Our Air Traffic Control Funding System Are Absurd
July 28, 2011, 6:15pm
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #85
FAA controller workforce problems, LightSquared GPS fiasco, Datalink for oceanic airspace, Scapegoating business jets (again)
July 26, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations # 93
Performance-based transportation program, mileage-based user fees for trucks, privatizing Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, leasing toll roads
July 26, 2011
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #70
Reforming airport screening, runway pricing for New York airports, TSA budget cuts, St. Louis air cargo boondoggle
July 18, 2011
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #84
Deloitte's case for ATC transformation, DOT and blocking business-jet tracking, coordination and decision-making in ATC reform, remote towers going live in three countries, why not ADS-B/In?
June 24, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations # 92
New report shows BRT advantages, managed lanes pricing, ports and waterways in reauthorization, "inter-operable" electronic tolling
June 10, 2011
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #69
Airline crew screening alternatives, rethinking Europe's airport slot system, implementing Trusted Traveler
June 7, 2011
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #83
NextGen held hostage by politics, obstacles to facility consolidation in Europe, more on controller fatigue
May 27, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations # 91
Assessing infrastructure bank proposals, more states opting for PPPs, risk transfer and toll concessions, electric car dreams
May 23, 2011
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #68
How to reform TSA's opt-out screening program and high-speed rail's threat to airlines.
May 10, 2011
- Advocates Calling for More Transportation Spending Need to See the Big Budget Picture
The national debt and deficits at all levels of government mean the landscape for infrastructure funding has changed significantly
May 4, 2011
- Why Air Traffic Controllers Fall Asleep on the Job
They have the last word on their work schedule, including the notorious 2-2-1
Langhorne Bond and Robert Poole
April 29, 2011
- TIFIA Is a Powerful Tool In Financing Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects
Program helps user-funded public-private partnerships get built
April 26, 2011
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #82
Insufficient controller fatigue decision, Equipage Fund makes progress, SESAR challenges in Europe
April 26, 2011
- Time to Separate the ATO from FAA Safety Regulation
Shifting air traffic management and aviation safety regulation into two separate and organizationally independent entities
Robert Poole and Langhorne Bond
April 26, 2011
- Airport Policy and Airport Security Newsletter #67
Trusted traveler and screening airline belly cargo
April 12, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations #90
Interstate tolling, high-speed rail in the Northeast corridor and highway rest areas
April 7, 2011
- Opposing View: Fast Train to Nowhere
Would truly high-speed rail work in the USA?
March 30, 2011
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #81
Lessons from sleeping controller incident, comparing ATC reform performance worldwide, contract towers, concerns over GPS vulnerability
March 26, 2011
- Sleeping Reagan Air Traffic Controller Shows FAA's Failures
March 25, 2011, 12:42pm
- Airport Policy and Airport Security Newsletter #66
Backscatter x-ray machines, TSA outsourcing and liquids ban
March 18, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations #89
Federalism and reauthorization, transportation and oil dependence, cutting GHGs via smart growth
March 17, 2011
- Interstate 2.0
Why fiscal conservatives should support rebuilding America’s federal highway system
March 7, 2011
- Florida Supreme Court Rules With Gov. Scott, Tampa-Orlando High-Speed Rail Appears to be Canceled
March 4, 2011, 2:41pm
- Wishful Thinking Won't Make Florida High-Speed Rail a Wise Choice
March 1, 2011, 3:12pm
- LaHood Gives Florida Gov. Scott Yet Another Week to Take Rail Money
February 28, 2011, 9:09am
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #80
Rising air traffic controller errors and air traffic forecast
February 28, 2011
- Surface Transportation Innovations #88
A dissent on the transportation budget proposal, Pew report on GHG reductions, further thoughts on high-speed rail, do more jobs justify infrastructure investment?
February 22, 2011
- Florida Gov. Scott Rejects Federal Funding for Flawed Orlando to Tampa High-Speed Rail Plan
February 16, 2011, 4:59pm
- Automating HOT Lanes Enforcement
As high-occupancy toll lanes become larger and more complex, effective enforcement becomes even more difficult
February 16, 2011
- The Year 2010 in Toll Roads, HOT Lanes, Infrastructure Finance
Surface Transportation Chapter of Annual Privatization Report 2010
Robert Poole and Leonard Gilroy
February 11, 2011
- Privatization of Airports, Air Traffic Control and Airport Security
Aviation Chapter of Annual Privatization Report 2010
Robert Poole and Leonard Gilroy
February 10, 2011
- Transportation Mega-Projects and Risk
What we can learn from Boston's Big Dig to improve future major infrastructure projects
Robert Poole and Peter Samuel
February 9, 2011
- Rethinking the FAA Budget
February 7, 2011, 2:20pm
- TSA Blocks Private Screeners Despite Success and Good Reasons to Outsource Airport Security
January 31, 2011, 12:13pm
- Surface Transportation Innovations # 87
Elections impact on federal transportation policy, rethinking ports and waterways funding, emission-reducing highways
January 25, 2011
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #79
January 24, 2011
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #64
Conservatives and PFCs, body scanner cost-effectiveness, support for Trusted Traveler program, and more
January 8, 2011
- The Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Rail Project
A Florida taxpayer risk assessment
Wendell Cox and Robert Poole
January 6, 2011
- Rethinking the Politics of Freeway Congestion Pricing
Getting the details right is key to the future of congestion pricing
January 5, 2011
- Keep Highway Spending Within Our Means
January 3, 2011, 12:49am
- Transportation Policy in a New Fiscal Era
Don’t mourn Build America Bonds
December 29, 2010
- Human Rights Watch Exposes Injustice of Plea Bargains and Mandatory Minimums (12/6)
- Southwest Struggles As Legacy Airlines Establish Solid Business Models (12/6)
- Texas Families Show Strong Demand for More School Choice (12/5)
- TSA Behavior Detection Blasted by GAO (12/5)
- Privatization & Government Reform Newsletter #2 (Dec 2013 edition) (12/3)
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