Infrastructure in the News: April 6, 2011
Associated Press reported that 24 states, District of Columbia and Amtrak are vying for $2.4 billion in federal aid and New York Times wrote about a budget drama casting doubt on transportation funding bill. Read more about these and other stories in Infrastructure in the News.
New York Times: Budget Drama Casts Fresh Doubt on Plan for Transportation Funding
A new long-term transportation bill is dearly sought by many in the capital -- Democrats, Republicans, business and labor -- but the Hill's spending stalemate is laying bare the political challenge of selling significant new infrastructure investment to a Congress consumed by thrift.
Associated Press: States, Amtrak vying for high-speed rail money
Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak are vying for $2.4 billion in federal aid that became available when Florida's governor canceled a high-speed rail project in his state, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday.
The Hill: LaHood: Use more water transportation
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that making more use of the country's waterways to move goods and people would benefit both the economy and the environment.
The New Republic: A Fast Forward Approach to Transportation Investment
The main theme of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s recent marathon hearings about the future of the federal transportation law was: don’t cut back the program. While there was some attention given to tolls and per-mile user fees another key theme was: We’re still waiting for Washington to figure out how to pay for it.
Associated Press: Rising Oil Prices Beginning To Hurt US Economy
Airlines, shipping companies and other U.S. businesses have been squeezed. The rising prices are further straining an economy struggling with high unemployment and a depressed housing market.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: A Call to Plan Cities for Tomorrow, While Bracing for Transit Cuts Today
USDOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari kicked off the Transportation Equity Network’s “One Nation, Indivisible” conference yesterday with a call to think long-term. By 2050, he said, we can expect the U.S. population to grow by 100 million people, and nearly all of them will live in large urban centers. Problems like crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transit systems, grinding traffic and pollution will be much worse then if we don’t start acting today.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: House Members Make Their Case for Transpo Investment (and Earmarks)
While House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan grabbed headlines with the release of a fiscal plan that would severely constrain the federal transportation program (more on that later), the theme of the day at the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was the desperate need to invest in infrastructure, as members of Congress provided their own proposals to the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Council on Foreign Relations: Infrastructure Investment and U.S. Competitiveness
Most experts agree the United States must address the nation's aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, power grids, water systems, and other public works to maintain its global economic competitiveness. In 2010, President Barack Obama proposed a national infrastructure bank that would leverage public and private capital to fund improvements, and in April 2011 a bipartisan coalition of senators put forward a similar concept.
Autopia: Intelligent Transportation Takes a Baby Step
Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Russ Carnahan (D-Missouri) have introduced landmark legislation authorizing Uncle Sam to choose six cities to test “intelligent transportation systems.” That’s a catch-all phrase for applying many different technologies to our roads, the goal being integrated infrastructure that communicates with cars. We’re talking about things like synchronizing traffic lights and beaming real-time traffic info into vehicles. There’s nothing particularly shocking about this, as a lot of this tech already is used to some degree in industry.
AECOM Technology Corporation: AECOM publishes white paper on U.S. infrastructure: "Ignore the Need or Retake the Lead?"
AECOM Technology Corporation (NYSE: ACM), a leading provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients around the world, announced today that it has released a white paper titled, "U.S. Infrastructure: Ignore the Need or Retake the Lead?" The white paper discusses the current state of U.S. infrastructure and examines the potential benefits of public-private partnerships in addressing project funding needs.
San Francisco Chronicle: Muni dusts off service improvement plan
Muni has a plan to bring riders more frequent service and faster trips on its busiest lines. But it will take nine years and cost $167 million - including at least $150 million the agency doesn't have.
California Progress Report: Fast-tracking a California High-Speed Rail, DesertXpress Link-Up Makes Sense
Word is, the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board has unanimously agreed to apply for the high-speed rail stimulus money Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected - $2.43 billion in all. “The federal government recently announced that states can apply for Florida’s funding. Applications are due April 4,” Sacramento Business Journal Staff writer Melanie Turner wrote. As I understand it, California HSR has $5.5 billion allocated to it already.
Gilroy Patch: Consultant Will Study High-Speed Rail Options in Gilroy
A Berkeley-based consultant will study two options for a High Speed Rail station in Gilroy after the City Council approved their hiring at a cost of $200,000 on Monday.
News Times: Conn. seeks $227M from feds for high-speed rail
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says his administration is seeking $227 million in federal funding to complete the third phase of a high-speed rail project linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Mass.
Transport Politic: Atlanta Transit Expansion Comes Closer as Region Prepares for Tax Referendum
When it was originally proposed in 1965, MARTA was supposed to be the transit authority serving the entire Atlanta region, then splayed out over five counties. Yet the system required funding to be put in place, and when asked to devote some of their sales taxes to the cause, only people in Fulton and DeKalb Counties — the most central of the region — agreed to pony up. So the rail system that began operations in mid-1979 remains constrained to those counties’ borders. Lacking needed funds, the original system plan has yet to be completed.
MSN Money: Maryland applies twice for high-speed rail funding
Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Tuesday that the state has formally sent two applications for funding under the Federal Railroad Administration's High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program.
Grand Forks Herald: MnDOT to unveil 2011 construction projects today
State transportation officials are about to unveil a list of this year's construction projects.
Winona Daily News: Our view: Transportation not an either/or proposition
A Drazkowski-sponsored amendment to a bill would effectively halt the Twin Cities Central Corridor project and send nearly $1 billion back to road and transportation projects in Greater Minnesota. Anyone who’s suffered through tires that prematurely wear out or incessant realignment bills can sympathize with this legislation. But this amendment itself may be on the fast track to hell, if you’ll excuse mixing the metaphors.
Stamford Advocate: NC House hears from advocates for fed's rail money
Legislators who want to put the brakes on federal funds to improve high-speed passenger train service heard Tuesday from recession-battered construction companies who say hundreds of jobs hang in the balance.
WPRI: Why Providence needs a streetcar system
The projected $100 million cost of a streetcar line in Providence is not insignificant – and coincidentally, it is about the same as the projected cost of replacing the Pawtucket River Bridge (which as you may know has been limited for the last five years due to deferred maintenance).
New York Times: Sewage Holding Tank Bursts, and Two Men Are Killed
Two workers died on Tuesday and millions of gallons of largely untreated sewage spewed into a river when a holding tank wall collapsed at a treatment plant in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Associated Press: Cell carriers to roll out "mobile wallets" in Utah
A joint venture between three of the nation's four largest cell phone carriers will soon offer the United States' first commercially available mobile fare payment program to a public transportation system.
“Investing money in our roads and bridges today saves money in the long run. It also builds the foundation for our 21st century economy.”