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Wendell Cox: Wikis


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Wendell Cox is an international public policy consultant. He is the principal and sole owner of Wendell Cox Consultancy/Demographia, based in the St. Louis metropolitan region and editor of three web sites, Demographia, The Public Purpose and Urban Tours by Rental Car. Cox is a fellow of numerous conservative think tanks and a frequent op-ed commenter in conservative US and UK newspapers.

Cox opposes prescriptive planning policies in the field of transportation and urban planning (such as 'rationing' of land) which are popular with many authorities worldwide. Instead, he favors responsive planning, wherein the role of public planning is to facilitate the lifestyles as revealed in household preferences (the market). He advocates road transport and criticises what he feels is waste in many public transport schemes, even those considered successful by their proponents.[1][2] He is an expert on rail privatization.



Cox was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission by Mayor Tom Bradley, and during his 1977 to 1985 service was the only member of the Commission not an elected official. His amendment to the 1980 Proposition A transit tax measure provided all of the local funding for Los Angeles urban rail projects, including the Blue Line light rail and the Red Line subway. Additional local funding was not obtained until a later 1990 referendum. Nonetheless, he has often opposed urban rail systems because he claims that they have not reduced traffic congestion, which he claims is the principal justification that has been used for their construction.

He was appointed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to fill the unexpired term of former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman on the Amtrak Reform Council, and served from 1999 until the Council issued its final recommendations in 2002. He is vice president of CODATU, an international organization dedicated to improving urban transport in developing world urban areas. He is also a member of the steering committee of the International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport, which will hold its 10th conference in Australia in 2007.

Cox is a visiting fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, a senior fellow at the conservative-oriented Heartland Institute, senior fellow for urban policy at the libertarian Independence Institute (Denver) and holds similar titles in a number of additional conservative think tanks.

He has an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA in Government from California State University, Los Angeles. He was Oregon state high school mile champion in 1963 and cross country champion in 1962.

Urban planning

Cox has also emerged as an opponent of smart growth, especially urban growth boundaries, impact fees, and large lot zoning, claiming they have a tendency to raise housing prices artificially and suppress economic growth. Wendell Cox, as paid consultant, has authored studies for the American Highway Users Alliance, a group that lobbies for more highways. He has been employed by various conservative and road building groups over the years.[3]

He has also criticized land use policies in the Portland, Oregon area, noting that the area expanded its urban growth boundary to its intended 2040 area 38 years early due to political pressure.

Demographia publishes the 'Demographia International Housing Affordability Ratings' and Rankings early each year.[4] The survey has been criticised. [5]

Demographia is also publisher of the world's most comprehensive listing of urban area (agglomeration) population and densities. An edition published in December 2005 includes all agglomerations with 500,000 or more population.

Urban transport

Cox believes that the goal of public transportation systems should be to provide mobility to those who do not have access to a car, and not to reduce traffic congestion.[6] As such he believes agencies should seek to obtain maximum value for every dollar of taxes and fees expended, using whatever transportation choices maximize ridership. He believes competitive approaches (principally competitive contracting and competitive tendering) are most effective in this regard.

Cox's transport site "The Public Purpose" claims it is not opposed to urban rail, though many of Cox's opponents would strongly disagree. It instead argues that it is opposed to waste. The site claims that it would cost less to lease every new light-rail rider a luxury car than to build light-rail projects themselves; this has entered the planning lexicon as the "Jaguar Argument." He has suggested a correlation between personal mobility and income. He calls public transportation a welfare service that does a "good job of getting people downtown and serving the low-income poor moving around the core, but it can't do any more than that." In response, representatives of the Sierra Club have called Wendell Cox an "itinerant anti-public transportation gun-for-hire."[2]

His more recent transport activities oppose the claim that road congestion reduction is obtained from improving urban mass transit. Among other things, he claims his aim is to improve urban mobility through performance programs that obtain the greatest reduction in travel-delay hours for the public funding available. Cox claims to be "'pro-choice' with respect to urban development", asserting that "people should be allowed to live and work where they like," consistent with the Lone Mountain Compact, of which he was a signatory.

Professional activities

Cox has completed projects and made presentations in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. He has served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France. He has lectured in numerous locations, such as the University of Sydney, the University of Toronto, the University of Paris and the Institute of Economic Affairs (London). He participated in a debate on land use and transport with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer at a national RailVolution conference in 2001, and debated Andres Duany on land use policy at the first American Dream Conference in 2002.

His commentaries have appeared in numerous publications, such as the Daily Telegraph (London), the National Post (Canada), the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, La Stampa (Turin) and the Australian Financial Review.

The National Journal has twice honored his Public Purpose website as "one of the Internet's best transport sites".

Cox's critics claim that he has worked as a lobbyist for the roadway industry[7]


External links

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