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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.
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #74
June 23, 2010
- Are Toll Road Companies Getting Guaranteed Profits?
June 14, 2010, 3:03pm
- Highways and Toll Roads: Which Are More Expensive and Better Maintained?
June 3, 2010, 9:00am
- Recognizing the Difference Between Taxes and Fees Is Vital to Our Infrastructure
Why the transportation sector is wrong on the Senate climate change bill
June 2, 2010
- Are Toll Roads Subsidized or Self-Supporting?
June 1, 2010, 5:57pm
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #73
May 23, 2010
- Surface Transportation Innovations #79
US DOT's strategic plan, expanding highway capacity, private funding for rail and more
May 13, 2010
- Fixing the Way We Fund Infrastructure
May 7, 2010, 8:00am
- The Future of Transportation Funding
Four performance-based principles to improve infrastructure funding
May 7, 2010
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #57
Risk-based security for incoming travelers, registered traveler and Midway privatization
May 7, 2010
- Highway, Infrastructure Spending Needs Benefit-Cost Analysis
May 4, 2010, 5:14pm
- Surface Transportation Innovations #78
Highway reauthorization bill and transferring risk in toll road deals
April 30, 2010
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #56
FAA reauthorization, body scanners and slots at LaGuardia and Reagan
April 30, 2010
- Tarmac Delay Rule Will Cause Flight Cancellations
April 29, 2010, 8:40pm
- Volcano Eruption and Air Travel's Economic Importance
April 23, 2010, 1:30pm
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #72
April 23, 2010
- Policy Strategies for U.S. Surface Transportation Funding Reauthorization
Focus on national priorities and restore the user-fees nature of highway taxes
April 20, 2010
- Get the Government Out of Airport Screening
TSA's conflict of interest prevents better, cheaper security
April 12, 2010
- Get Government Out of the Airport Security Screening Business
April 9, 2010, 12:48pm
- Surface Transportation Innovations #77
Tolling Interstates? Greenhouse gas reduction and transportation, highway bottlenecks
March 29, 2010
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #71
Air traffic growth, real-time black box data and GPS
March 29, 2010
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #55
Who should pay for airport security? Airport-Airline relationships, LAX and Branson
March 29, 2010
- New Jersey's Entire Transportation Appropriation Will Be Needed to Cover Debt
March 3, 2010, 5:44pm
- Going Into Debt to Finance Highways
Greatly expanded use of tolling, not availability payment financing, should be the norm
March 3, 2010
- Diverting Gas Tax Money to Sidewalks and Transit Hurts Highways
March 2, 2010, 1:48pm
- Federal Dollars for Federal Roads
Spending the HighwayTrust Fund only on highways, as intended, would produce 25 percent boost in highway investment
March 2, 2010
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #70
Paying for air traffic during economic downturns and user fees
February 28, 2010
- Surface Transportation Innovations #76
Infrastructure funding, monorails, city congestion data
February 28, 2010
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #54
Divided airport security, body scan machines and improving terrorist watch lists
February 26, 2010
- National Infrastructure Bank: Can Congress Structure It Properly?
February 11, 2010, 12:25pm
- A National Infrastructure Bank Is a Good Idea, In Theory
To work, transportation and infrastructure projects need to be funded on merit
February 11, 2010
- High-Speed Rail Doesn't Fix Any of Our Transportation Problems
February 11, 2010, 11:46am
- High-Speed Rail Plans Are Misconceived
What problem are these trains solving? Who will pay the annual operating costs?
February 11, 2010
- Florida's High-Speed Rail Route Is Going to be Very Costly for Taxpayers
January 28, 2010, 5:25pm
- Surface Transportation Innovations #75
Issue No. 75, January 2010
January 27, 2010
- Steps to Fix Airport Security
January 15, 2010, 12:20pm
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #53
Refocusing aviation security, Gwinnett County airport privatization, unionization of TSA screeners, and more
January 7, 2010
- Air Traffic Control Reform Newsletter #69
January 1, 2010
- President Obama on Airport Security Failure
December 29, 2009, 6:12pm
- Flight 253 to Detroit Shows How Our Airport Security Lacks Focus
December 29, 2009, 11:10am
- Are We Going to Get Serious About Aviation Security?
TSA has spent over $40 billion, yet amateurs are still getting on planes with explosives
December 29, 2009
- Air Travel Delays Don't Have to Be Part of the Holidays
December 23, 2009, 2:50pm
- Flight Delays this Christmas?
Holiday flight delays aren’t inevitable. There are proven ways – from revamping air traffic control to congestion pricing – to fix the problems.
December 23, 2009
- Surface Transportation Innovations #74
Road pricing and capacity expansion, congestion relief, private activity bonds
December 10, 2009
- Airport Policy and Security Newsletter #52
Who should run airports? TSA's mission creep, the liquids ban stays with us and more
December 4, 2009
- How Might TSA Screw Up Repair Stations?
December 2, 2009, 5:34pm
- Five Keys Issues Facing Aviation and Transportation Secretary LaHood
December 2, 2009, 5:28pm
- On Aviation, Secretary LaHood Should Look to Plans From the Clinton Era
November 24, 2009, 7:45am
- Banning Laptops In Cockpits Would Be More Congressional Meddling
November 24, 2009, 7:00am
- Aim Your Travel Frustrations at Washington
November 24, 2009, 6:45am
- California 2014 High Speed Rail Business Plan Is Off Track (3/6)
- The Intentionally Unrealistic FY2015 Budget (3/4)
- Shallal's Top-Down Plan for D.C. Schools Hurts Parent Choice (3/3)
- Richmond CARES? (3/2)
- Government Could Improve the Development of Vehicle to Vehicle Communication by Getting Out of the Way (2/27)
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