Friday Roundup: Adding airport capacity, boosting postsecondary education, BNSF challenges state EIS, tech generates more hope than fear

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Seattle Times (editorial): Alaska Airlines’ commitment is a step to fulfilling Paine Field’s potential

THE Puget Sound region’s need for a second large, commercial airport is increasingly clear as Sea-Tac International Airport approaches capacity and population grows outside Seattle.

Paine Field in Everett is the clear choice. Years of legal challenges by surrounding communities are coming to an end, and development of a new passenger terminal is progressing.

Even so, the biggest affirmation of this vision for Paine Field came this week when Alaska Airlines announced that it will begin providing regional service there in 2018.

New York Times: Free Tuition? Tennessee Could Tutor New York

Just a decade ago, Tennessee’s higher education outlook was bleak: A 2007 report card on state education initiatives, commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, gave the state an F in several categories, including “academic achievement of minority and low-income students” and “postsecondary and work force readiness.”

Under Mr. Haslam’s immediate predecessor, Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, the state changed its higher-education funding formula to reward colleges for, among other goals, successfully shepherding more students toward graduation.

In 2013, Mr. Haslam unveiled a multipronged initiative, “Drive to 55,” to increase the number of state residents with a college degree or certificate to 55 percent, from 32 percent, by 2025. That initiative eventually included the Tennessee Promise, which fills the gap between any aid students receive, such as federal Pell grants or merit scholarships, and their tuition and mandatory fees at the state’s community colleges or colleges of applied technology.

The Daily News: BNSF Railway challenges state’s review of Longview coal dock

BNSF Railway has appealed a final environmental review of the Longview coal project, arguing the state and county overstated or miscalculated the risk of cancer for people living near the rail line to the terminal site…

But BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said there are “no credible scientific studies” suggesting that locomotive diesel emissions substantially increase cancer risk for Washington residents who live by a rail line.

E21: Emerging Technologies Generate More Hope Than Fear

Although he is on the cutting edge of new technology, Tesla founder Elon Musk has been sounding the alarm on artificial intelligence for some time. A recent survey from the World Economic Forum found a steady increase from 2013 to 2016 in media stories asking whether we should fear AI technologies. People relying on Musk and such coverage could understandably worry about the emergence of these new technologies.

Despite the dark narrative, the World Economic Forum finds that most people are optimistic about new technology. For each of the twelve emerging technologies included in the survey, respondents perceive that the benefits will outweigh any associated costs. Relatively few respondents believe these emerging technologies needed better governance. Furthermore, better governance does not necessarily mean more stringent regulation–it could entail a more stable and transparent regulatory framework that reduced the uncertainty facing entrepreneurs in these fields.

The relative lack of fear might be because concerns about massive job loss due to automation and new technology have not been borne out. A recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that the problem is not too much labor churn, but too little.