More than half of federal transportation spending in fiscal year (FY) 2008 was directed to programs that contain subsidies, according to Subsidyscope, an initiative of Pew’s Economic Policy Group. The analysis comes from a new comprehensive online database on all spending on subsidy programs in the transportation sector. While Vermont received the lowest total amount, it ranked seventh in per capita funding, which was the highest in the Northeast.The project collected and aggregated data from USAspending.gov and other sources and built a searchable database of federal transportation spending; users can query by grant recipient, state, government program and many other parameters. The database includes information from 2000-2008.”Federal transportation subsidies cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year and are surprisingly hard to uncover,” said Subsidyscope project director Marcus Peacock. “At a time when lawmakers are concerned about the growing budget deficit, this information will help leaders make informed choices and set spending priorities.”In addition to creating the public database, Subsidyscope has produced several analyses of the sector. Some of the findings include:More than $45 billion of federal transportation spending in FY2008 was directed to programs that contain subsidies, an increase of around 20 percent since FY2000. The types of subsidies can be broken down into four categories: direct expenditures; tax expenditures; risk transfers; and contracts. Comparing direct expenditures by transportation mode, in FY2008, $30 billion was spent on highways, nearly $9 billion on mass transit, nearly $3 billion on aviation, $1 billion on rail, $387 million on maritime and $126 million was spent on other programs such as pipelines and recreational trails. Spending on tax expenditures and risk transfers totaled less than $4 billion.From fiscal years 2000 through 2008, California received the most transportation funding of any state – more than $38 billion. Vermont received the least, $1.5 billion (7th in per capita at $2,444). However, California received the least transportation aid per resident — $1,038. Alaska received the most money per capita, $8,183, almost eight times higher than California and nearly twice the next highest state (Wyoming $4,552). Higher subsidies per capita were generally found among the least populated states.The biggest transportation tax break is to employees for parking costs. In fiscal year 1998 the government lost an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue through this benefit. By fiscal year 2008, the number almost doubled to nearly $3 billion. By fiscal year 2014, it’s expected to reach almost $4 billion.Over the next several months, Subsidyscope will release spending and subsidy information on additional transportation-related programs, many of which have received little public scrutiny.Please visit www.subsidyscope.org(link is external) for access to all available databases as well as further information on federal subsidies.Subsidyscope is an initiative of Pew’s Economic Policy Group. The project aggregates information on federal subsidies from multiple sources and offers a comprehensive, searchable, open-source database of direct expenditures, which serves as a gateway for press, policymakers, advocates and the public. The project is guided by a broad and bipartisan advisory board of budget, fiscal and transparency experts and is assisted by its technology partner, the Sunlight Foundation.The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org(link is external)) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.Source: Pew Charitable Trust. WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —
2 Jamie Vardy was sent off for diving 2 There was contact but the way the 29-year-old exaggerated his fall to the ground was enough for Jon Moss to reach for his cards, meaning Vardy will miss the Swansea match next week.And West Ham nearly took advantage of their numerical advantage just after the hour mark but Winston Reid’s flicked header rebounded off the post, much to the relief of the Foxes in attendance.However, with six minutes remaining referee Moss made another unpopular decision when he awarded West Ham a penalty after punishing Wes Morgan for holding on to Reid at a corner.Andy Carroll stepped up and sent Schmeichel the wrong way for his fourth goal in three games.And two minutes later the Hammers were ahead when Cresswell picked up the ball on the edge of the area and volleyed it beautifully into the top corner.However, in the 94th minute Jeffrey Schlupp went down and was given a controversial penalty, which Ulloa gratefully converted to steal a point. Leonardo Ulloa’s 94th minute penalty saved Jamie Vardy’s blushes as Leicester snatched a draw with West Ham to move eight points ahead of Tottenham in the Premier League title race.The striker gave the Foxes the lead midway through the first half after a great breakaway move to stun West Ham but Vardy’s day was turned on his head when he picked up a second yellow card for diving.Then West Ham scored twice in the final ten minutes through an Andy Carroll penalty and an Aaron Cresswell screamer to turn the game on its head.But there was yet more drama as the Foxes got a penalty in the final seconds of the game.The King Power stadium was bouncing prior to kick off but West Ham nearly managed to silence it after only two minutes when Dimitri Payet’s whipped free kick was met by Cheikhou Kouyate, who saw his header hit both posts and roll across the line into Kasper Schmeichel’s grateful clutches.At the other end Robert Huth had a golden chance of his own when his header from Shinji Okazaki’s free kick grazed the outside of the post.Then on 20 minutes, the inevitable happened as the Foxes broke rapidly with Riyad Mahrez laying on to N’Golo Kante who found Vardy to smash the ball home and add another chapter to Leicester’s fairytale season.It was the Englishman’s 22nd Premier League goal of the season to level with countryman Harry Kane’s total.After half time Vardy was inches away from doubling the lead but he couldn’t quite reach Okazaki’s dangerous cross.But minutes later Vardy’’s game was over when he was judged to have dived under a challenge from Angelo Ogbonna and was shown his second yellow card of the game.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) supports the recent decision by the United States government to give the European Union (EU) more time to implement a science-based approval system for biotech-derived agricultural products, but warns of dire consequences for European livestock industries if the EU doesn’t speed up its approval process.”ASA supports the decision of U.S. trade officials to temporarily suspend action to withdraw concessions for the failures of the European Union to bring its biotech approval process into compliance with the WTO panel ruling,” said ASA First Vice President Johnny Dodson, a soybean producer from Halls, Tenn., who is the Chair of ASA’s Biotechnology Working Group.In May 2003, the United States filed a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against the EU’s failure to implement a timely, science-based approval system for food and feed products enhanced through biotechnology. Numerous other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Uruguay joined the United States in the complaint because they also want to ensure that science-based determinations are applied to regulatory decisions. On September 29, 2006, the WTO ruled the EU had failed to meet its WTO obligations of implementing a timely, science-based system for the approval of biotech-enhanced agricultural products. The decision finalized a preliminary WTO ruling made in February 2006.”ASA has been in close contact with the U.S. Trade Representative urging this course of action,” Dodson said. “This is only a temporary suspension to allow the EU to demonstrate through action that it is making its system timely, and that decisions are being made on the basis of science, not politics.”The continuing failure of the EU to bring its biotech approval system into compliance not only will result in massive retaliation on EU exports to the U.S. market, but also will result in devastating consequences for the EU livestock and feed industries that are dependent on imported oilseeds and feedstuffs.The EU’s own agriculture department (DG Agriculture) produced a report in July 2007 that warned of the potential damage to the EU livestock and poultry industries unless its biotech approval process is speeded up. Numerous EU stakeholders, such as FEFAC, the European feed association, have campaigned strongly on this issue, pointing out the damage that could be caused if the EU is legally barred from importing crops already approved elsewhere but have not received European approval.”We hope the EU will respond quickly and positively to this latest gesture from the United States,” Dodson said.Currently, Bayer’s LibertyLink® soybean (LLS) and Monsanto’s Roundup RReady2Yield™ (RR2Y) soybean have been fully approved for cultivation in the U.S., and are going through the EU approval process. These soybean varieties, along with Pioneer’s Optimum® GAT® soybean (also going through the EU approval system) are targeted for commercialization in the U.S. in the spring of 2009.”These three varieties are only the start,” Dodson said. “Over the next 10 years or so there are likely to be more than 20 other varieties coming forward for commercialization. To avoid disruption of trade and resulting negative impacts on EU livestock production, the EU and its Member States need to provide timely and science-based approval of these soybean events.”The EU process is at least a year behind the U.S. and many other countries, such as China and Japan. It is an intolerable situation that must be rectified to allow trade to continue uninterrupted. So far, despite tremendous efforts by the European feed industry, farmers, the biotechnology industry and U.S. soybean growers, Europe’s politicians have yet to wake up and see the huge crisis developing around them.”Applications for both RR2Y and LLS in other major markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico and others either already have been approved by regulatory authorities or are moving ahead in a timely manner,” Dodson said. “It is the EU process that is out of step with the rest of the world, and as such, does a disservice not only to the EU farm industry, but also to consumers who can scarcely be blamed for being confused when the EU’s own scientists say a product is safe, but politicians hesitate over whether or not to agree with the scientific assessment.”With a full pipeline of new soybean events making their way toward commercialization over the coming years, ASA formed a Biotech Working Group in 2007 to provide a forum for U.S. soybean organizations to consult with biotechnology companies on their commercialization, domestic and international regulatory approvals status, and stewardship plans. ASA’s goals are to bring these new soy technologies to farmers just as quickly as possible, while at the same time safeguarding important export markets. To gain support among industry stakeholders, ASA has also been conducting advocacy missions to the EU to educate and motivate key livestock, feed industry, EU and Member State officials about the soy events now being developed.”Some EU officials and Member States are finally beginning to speak out publicly against the EU’s ill-functioning biotech approval system,” Dodson said. “ASA’s Biotech Working Group is serving an important function because we are finding stakeholders and officials that are very unaware of the issue and its possible consequences for the European feed and livestock industries. They have expressed appreciation for the briefings and asked for the continued support of U.S. soybean growers.”