Infrastructure in the News: April 27, 2012
Forbes: Infrastructure Trust Falls With Emanuel
At this point, private backing of city projects have been one-off numbers—a highway, a recycling center, a water treatment plant, a fleet of parking meters, say. With the Trust, Emanuel is taking an enormous step. He’s essentially institutionalized this lever. Now any city project can conceivably become a public-private one. Each investment structure will be unique, which makes speculation that the Trust will make or break the city just that.
The Hill: Highway bill conference committee schedules first meeting
The panel of lawmakers tapped to hammer out an agreement on a new federal transportation bill will hold its first meeting next month, a key member of the committee said Thursday. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the transportation conference committee would meet Tuesday, May 8.
The Hill: Lawmakers call for removal of rail provision during highway bill conference
A bipartisan pair of lawmakers is calling for the panel of lawmakers tapped to negotiate an agreement on a new federal transportation bill to remove a provision dealing with high-speed rail from the Senate's version of the measure. Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) said Thursday that lawmakers should remove a provision in the $109 billion transportation bill that was approved by the Senate earlier this year that allows federal funds to be spent on train locomotives that are only capable of running at 110 miles-per-hour.
Reuters: Pension plans launch $20 billion infrastructure fund
One of Canada's largest pension plans teamed up on Thursday with Japan's pension funds and some of its major conglomerates to help raise $20 billion for the world's largest infrastructure fund to invest in assets such as roads and airports. While a handful of the world's biggest pension funds have the capacity to lead their own investments in infrastructure assets, the initiative represents an unprecedented effort to cut out asset managers as middle men in infrastructure investment.
Bloomberg: Mitsubishi Plans to Invest $2.5 Billion in Infrastructure Fund
Mitsubishi Corp. (8058), Japan’s biggest trading house, said it plans to invest as much as $2.5 billion in infrastructure projects in North America and Europe as part of a fund alliance. The trader, which owns assets ranging from coal mines to wind farms, will join the Global Strategic Investment Alliance, a group that seeks to raise $20 billion, Mitsubishi said in a statement. The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, a Canadian pension plan, is leading the alliance, Mitsubishi said.
Broken Sidewalk: How To Use Walking & Bicycling as a Transportation Solution
Lakeside Swim Club is a huge complex of swimming pools in the Highlands of Louisville. The club draws people like a grocery store or small college, but it does so without car parking lots. How do they do it? Unusually for Louisville, Lakeside has meaningful policies and infrastructure that strongly encourage bicycling and walking.
Brookings: Contracting for Railcars and Jobs in Los Angeles
On the other hand, Siemens proposes to use their existing manufacturing facility in Sacramento, meaning that all the cars will be built, assembled and tested in the United States Additionally, Siemens has committed $12 million towards building a Los Angeles-area manufacturing plant (in ZIP code 90063), a permanent test track, and has established partnerships with local labor and community organizations. Siemens has also pledged $5 million to training and a technical learning center.
Denver Business Journal: Denver unveils ‘Airport City’ plan to guide DIA commercial development
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday unveiled a master plan for commercial development at Denver International Airport. The “Airport City Denver” plan plots out potential uses for some 9,400 acres of DIA property not needed for airport expansion over the next 30 to 50 years.
Miami New Times: Port of Miami Deep Dredge Clears Final Hurdle As Environmentalists Drop Lawsuit
After a five-month legal standoff over a controversial plan to deepen the Port of Miami using explosive charges, environmentalists have relented. Three groups opposed to the project have dropped their lawsuit in exchange for legal fees and the establishment of a $1,310,000 trust fund to mitigate effects of the deep dredge.
Idaho Press-Tribune: Education, infrastructure among local candidates’ top priorities
“Right now we’re not even keeping up with our maintenance (with) our bridges and our roadways,” candidate for District 12 Senate Todd Lakey said. McKenzie, a candidate in District 13, also emphasized education and infrastructure, but he added technology to that mix, stating that digital resources need to be available to more Idahoans.
Chicago Sun-Times: Rep. Bobby Rush: I’ll stop Metra ‘in its tracks’
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is threatening to stop Metra “in its tracks” unless more African-Americans firms get work from a massive railroad construction project in his congressional district called the “Englewood Flyover.” “There is no way that this contract will fly,” Rush told me in an interview.
The Architects Newspaper: Well Practiced; PennPraxis celebrates ten years transforming Philly planning.
For over 30 years, Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront was considered a corrupt wasteland of opportunity where RFP followed RFP but nothing got built. Then, suddenly, a master plan materialized and was adopted by City Council last month. The success of “A Civic Vision for Central Delaware” is credited by many to PennPraxis, the nonprofit consultancy arm of PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania. Praxis is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
Washington Post: Metro board approves fare hikes
Pleas from riders Thursday could not hold off an across-the-board increase in Metro’s parking fees and bus and rail fares, as the board of directors adopted increases to help overcome a deficit in the transit authority’s next budget. The increase for rail passengers averages about 5 percent, although the actual amounts would vary greatly depending on distance. Bus fares increase by a dime for those who use electronic SmarTrip cards, rising to $1.60.
"There is no reason why the world's best infrastructure should lie beyond our borders. This is America. We've always had the best infrastructure. This is work that needs to be done."