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Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. O’Toole’s research on national forest management, culminating in his 1988 book, Reforming the Forest Service, has had a major influence on Forest Service policy and on-the-ground management. His analysis of urban land-use and transportation issues, brought together in his 2001 book, The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths, has influenced decisions in cities across the country. In his book The Best-Laid Plans, O’Toole calls for repealing federal, state, and local planning laws and proposes reforms that can help solve social and environmental problems without heavy-handed government regulation. O’Toole’s latest book is American Nightmare: How Government Undermines The Dream of Homeownership. O’Toole is the author of numerous Cato papers. He has also written for Regulation magazine as well as op-eds and articles for numerous other national journals and newspapers. O’Toole travels extensively and has spoken about free-market environmental issues in dozens of cities. An Oregon native, O’Toole was educated in forestry at Oregon State University and in economics at the University of Oregon.

More from Randal O'Toole


Cato Studies

Rails and Reauthorization: The Inequity of Federal Transit Funding

Policy Analysis No. 772. April 21, 2015.

Policy Implications of Autonomous Vehicles

Policy Analysis No. 758. September 18, 2014.

Review of Greenlight Pinellas

Working Paper No. 22. August 14, 2014.


The Streetcar Scam

MI Report. May 31, 2012.

Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

Managing Federal Lands

Testimony. February 9, 2016.

FTA’s Capital Investment Grants

Testimony. December 11, 2013.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act

Testimony. June 18, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Why Government Planning Always Fails

Cato's Letter. Winter 2008.

Book Review: Sprawl: A Compact History

Regulation. Spring 2006.

Money to Burn?

Regulation. Winter 2002.


Downsizing the Federal Government