Infrastructure in the News: April 18, 2012
Politico: Transit funding: GOP plan appears squashed
Almost everything about the House’s transportation bill seems up in the air except this: The changes to transit funding that Republicans originally proposed have been squashed. It’s a measure of how effective the transit lobby was at marshaling opposition to the original bill and how ingrained in communities transit has become regardless of politics or location. But it also suggests a fundamental political miscalculation with the Highway Trust Fund that’s ended up costing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team a significant amount of time and credibility, which they can ill afford, particularly considering that the Senate, though usually coy, has already passed its own bill.
The Hill: White House threatens veto of highway bill over Keystone pipeline provision
The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto House legislation to extend transportation programs because it contains GOP language that mandates approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. The House is slated to vote Wednesday on the bill that keeps the transportation programs funded through September, the end of the fiscal year.
Fast Lane: Business leaders send the message: There's transportation work to be done
This is a critical time for transportation. To a person, everyone in Congress says our priority must be jobs. Well, according to the business leaders I met with in Minneapolis, these extensions are not creating jobs; they are holding back job creation. We are right at the beginning of the construction season, and the fact that states cannot plan ahead beyond the next 74 days means that thousands of workers cannot get to work on the big projects America needs.
DC Streetsblog: Visionary Transpo Bureaucrats, Part 2: Keith Parker and Mike McKeever
This is the second part in Streetsblog’s series profiling 11 officials who are bringing American cities and towns into the 21st century when it comes to transportation and planning policy. Read the first three profiles in part one.
Holland Sentinel: Abandoning America’s infrastructure
Investing in infrastructure used to be a political no-brainer. Politicians of nearly every ideological stripe supported government spending on everything from school buildings to bridges. The more conservative pols would typically favor highways, the more liberal preferred mass transit. But nearly all elected officials considered quality infrastructure essential. Businesses simply couldn’t thrive, even conservatives understood, without it.
Transportation Nation: D.C. Brings Back Potholepalooza
They come in a variety of shapes, are several inches deep, and can cost hundreds of dollars in car repair bills: potholes, the bane of every driver’s commute. In an effort to eliminate some of them, the District of Columbia is launching its annual Potholepalooza. Along one stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the Anacostia neighborhood of southeast D.C., the road looks like it used to be riddled with potholes but has been patched up with globs of asphalt. It’s not a smooth ride, but resident Anthony Johnson says it’s a minor improvement.
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Transit hub gets traction
It’s been talked about for decades, so there’s much precedent for skepticism, but a MultiModal Passenger Terminal in the downtown “Gulch” between CNN and Underground Atlanta is closer to happening than ever before. The Georgia Department of Transportation has contracted with a trifecta of developers to incubate a master plan, and the main players have begun taking their mission public.
Bond Buyer: Chicago Eyes Mayor's Plan for an Infrastructure Trust
Despite pleas from some aldermen to slow down, the Chicago City Council is expected Wednesday to take up Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to establish an infrastructure trust that would serve as a vehicle to leverage private investment in public works projects.The trust, which would aid the city and its sister agencies, cleared the council’s Finance Committee Monday in an 11-7 vote after more than five hours of debate, during which council members concerned about oversight and accountability issues grilled chief financial officer Lois Scott.
New York Times: Did Someone Order an Instant Bridge? (MA)
The River Street Bridge here is normally unremarkable, the kind of structure people drive over every day without a thought. When it fell into disrepair, state officials knew that replacing it would normally involve two years of detours and frustration for local drivers. Instead, they did it over a weekend. By using “accelerated bridge construction” techniques, a collection of technologies and methods that can shave months if not years off the process of building and replacing critical infrastructure, Massachusetts is at the forefront of a national effort that is aimed at putting drivers first.
Minnesota Post: Twin Cities’ rail-transit proposals could be on a collision course
Within the next year or two, there’s the potential for a three-train pileup at the state Capitol. Local officials from the southwest, northwest and east could be converging simultaneously at the Capitol seeking $100 million or more in state funding for each of three possible light-rail transit (LRT) lines – in the Southwest, Bottineau and Gateway corridors. That could be mission impossible if Republicans retain control of the Legislature in this fall’s election. In the current legislative session, both houses have resisted providing even a $25 million down payment on the state’s share of the cost for the proposed $1.25 billion line in the Southwest Corridor between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie.
Springfield News-Leader: Missouri highways- Infrastructure needs attention
On April 3, the Missouri Transportation Construction Coalition held a legislative drive-in in Jefferson City. More than 50 leaders from companies around the state of Missouri met with 77 legislators to support adequate investment in Missouri’s road and bridges to provide a transportation system supporting the safety and economic prosperity Missouri citizens deserve.
Americans will spend at least 160 hours each year in traffic by 2035.