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Mass Audubon wants more state spending on open space

Mass Audubon president David O'Neill at Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Mattapan.Steven Senne/Associated Press


Mass Audubon wants more state spending on open space

Environmental group Mass Audubon distributed a call to action to its 140,000 members on Wednesday to contact their local state senators and urge support to increase funding for open space acquisition and restoration, from the state’s budget surplus and federal stimulus funds. The House set aside $300 million for land acquisition and restoration costs in its version of an economic development bill last week but the version the Senate leadership unveiled earlier this week included only $125 million. Mass Audubon is lobbying to support a bill amendment filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge that would add $75 million, bringing the amount up to $200 million. (The final differences between the House and Senate bills will likely be resolved in conference committee negotiations later this month.) The Senate leadership’s economic development bill does spend more on environmental infrastructure overall than the House, according to a Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analysis, once items such as electric-car chargers are factored in. But Mass Audubon president David O’Neill said it’s important to spend money on open space preservation in particular, even while supporting the other environmental causes. — JON CHESTO



Demand down, even with the recent price drop

US gasoline demand remains below where it was this time two years ago as historically high prices keep more drivers off the road than COVID-19 did in the summer of 2020. A small week-over-week rebound in demand last week was not enough to top the same period in 2020. On a seasonal four-week rolling average — which smooths out weekly fluctuations — consumption is just above the same time two years ago, but below every other year going back to 2000, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. Stalling demand in the middle of summer suggests the recent drop in pump prices has not been enough to entice drivers back on the road. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Lyft to close car-rental business

Lyft will shutter its car-rental business and cut about 60 jobs as the ride-hailing giant grapples witha labor shortage and a fall in its stock price. The layoffs impact less than 2 percent of Lyft’s roughly 4,600 total employees and are concentrated within the rentals unit. The news, which Lyft confirmed on Wednesday, was previously reported by the Wall Street Journal. Lyft had said in May that it would slow hiring and trim expenses in parts of the company, which has been especially hard hit by a technology stock rout this year. Its shares have lost more than two-thirds of their value in 2022. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Driver, not Tesla, largely responsible for fatal crash

A jury in Florida has found Tesla just 1 percent negligent in a fiery crash that killed two teens, for disabling a speed limiter on the electric car. Tuesday’s verdict placed 90 percent of the blame on the driver, Barrett Riley, and 9 percent on his father, James Riley, who brought the lawsuit against Tesla. It’s the first known case involving a Tesla crash that has gone to trial, said Michael Brooks, acting executive director at the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. Barrett Riley and his friend Edgar Monserrat Martinez were about to graduate from their private school in South Florida when they died in the May 2018 crash near Fort Lauderdale Beach. A backseat passenger was ejected and survived. The National Transportation Safety Board determined he was driving at 116 mph in a 30 mph zone, and the most likely cause of the crash “was the driver’s loss of control as a result of excessive speed.” — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Home sales were down again in June

Sales of previously occupied US homes slowed for the fifth consecutive month in June as higher mortgage rates and rising prices kept many home hunters on the sidelines. Existing home sales fell 5.4 percent last month from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Even as home sales slowed, home prices kept climbing in June. The national median home price jumped 13.4 percent in June from a year earlier to $416,000. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999, NAR said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Egg prices could remain high

Egg supplies are likely to remain tight even as one of the worst-ever bird flu outbreaks shows signs of slowing, according to Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the biggest US producer. Prices for large eggs in the United States have surged to a record high of over $3 a dozen after an outbreak of avian flu beginning in January resulted in the deaths of more than 30 million commercial and wild birds. While there have been no bird flu outbreaks in commercial flocks since early June, “outbreaks may recur, and supply is expected to be lower until the flocks are repopulated,” the company said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Boeing gets another big contract for the 737 Max

VietJet Aviation confirmed a deal for 200 Boeing 737 Max jets, giving the planemaker another boost at one of the industry’s biggest events. The first 50 aircraft will be delivered to Thai VietJet, the Vietnamese budget carrier’s affiliate in Thailand, the company said in a Tuesday release issued during the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK. The carrier said in a separate statement the order is worth around $35 billion, including associated engine engineering services, and would bring around 200,000 jobs to the United States. Sticker prices for jets are generally significantly reduced in large deals. VietJet, known for its bikini-clad flight attendants, agreed in 2018 to double its order for Max jets to 200 after it signed an initial deal in 2016 during a visit to Vietnam by then-President Barack Obama. The carrier’s announcement reaffirms that accord. The agreement will also help Boeing shrug off nervousness over the 737 Max, which was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



After street sweeper dies, no road cleaning if it’s over 102.2 degrees

Madrid’s city council and the companies that clean Spanish capital’s streets have agreed to health and safety guidelines for high temperatures after a street sweeper died from heat. Manual street cleaning will be eliminated during afternoons when temperatures rise above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit and the shifts will start at 5 p.m. instead of 2:30 p.m. to avoid the most intense conditions, according to a deal reached late Tuesday with unions. The new rules were prompted by the death of a 60-year-old who was hired by Urbaser, a waste-management company owned by Platinum Equity, a private equity firm founded by US billionaire Tom Gores. The street sweeper collapsed last week while working in a Madrid neighborhood as Spain suffered brutal conditions that sparked wildfires across the country. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



More than half of US workers say they don’t make enough

In the face of decades-high inflation, nearly six in 10 US workers are concerned their paycheck is not enough to support them and their family, a poll released Wednesday showed. The tally was even higher among parents with children under 18, millennials, and Hispanic workers, according to the American Staffing Association report. Among those employed, 58 percent said they plan to cut back on expenses in the next six months. — BLOOMBERG NEWS