Infrastructure in the News: August 10, 2012
BAF IN THE NEWS
Politico: Group emphasizing infrastructure for presidential debate
Presidential debates rarely touch on transportation issues — but a bipartisan group of political heavyweights wants to change that. Building America’s Future is pushing to make infrastructure front and center in the much-anticipated first debate, according to a letter sent Wednesday and obtained by POLITICO. President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney will square off Oct. 3 in Denver to debate domestic policy issues. In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the trio of BAF founders — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) — argue that with transportation’s strong ties to overall U.S. economic health, infrastructure should be one of the six key issues discussed.
Politico Morning Transportation: LET'S TALK TRANSPO
MT sure wants the presidential candidates to talk about transportation - and now we've got some big names on our side. Building America's Future co-chairmen and political heavyweights Michael Bloomberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ed Rendell asked the presidential debate commission to make infrastructure one of the six key issues discussed at the inaugural debate in October. In a letter (http://bit.ly/MCwOfe ) obtained early by MT, the trio - an independent, a Democrat and a Republican - pointed to transpo's bipartisan history, noting that Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both saw the value of the investment even though they "may not have agreed on much." There's much more in the Pro story, a Team MT production: http://politico.pro/MUyGLN
The Hill: Transit advocates look to future votes to rebound from Atlanta rejection
A Washington, D.C.-based smart growth advocacy group said Thursday that transportation supporters can rebound from a recent defeat in Atlanta with upcoming transit funding elections in other places. Smart Growth America spokesman Tom Madrecki said in an email to supporters that the defeat of a proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) in Atlanta was disappointing to transportation supporters everywhere. But he also said that there is another vote upcoming in Memphis that was just as important.
Transportation Nation: Highway Expansions Are Only A Short-Term Solution: Expert
When the express lanes projects on the I-495 Beltway and I-95 in northern Virginia are ready for commuters, they will be designed to serve a dual purpose: encouraging carpooling by giving HOV-3 vehicles a free ride, and reducing congestion by also giving motorists the option of paying a premium toll to escape the usually jammed non-toll lanes. The first of those goals is attainable. But the second is not, according to an expert on drivers’ behavior, who says expanding two of the busiest highways in the Washington metropolitan region will produce the unintended consequence of more congestion in the long term.
Switchboard: Building a mega freeway in LA: What's the cost?
Yesterday, I attended a public hearing on the I-710 expansion in Long Beach. Just to refresh everyone’s memory, this project plans to expand the approximately 18 miles of road from around East Los Angeles/Commerce down to Long Beach. Currently, the majority of this road is 8 lanes, and the proposed project will likely add 6 additional lanes. The impacts of the project are immense ranging from acquisition of homes, to increased noise, to construction impacts for seven years.
Miami Herald: Passenger trains to run from Miami to Orlando
It’s full-speed ahead on a privately financed, $1 billion plan that will launch fast, hourly passenger rail service between downtown Miami and Orlando by 2014, Florida East Coast Industries officials said. The All Aboard Florida project promises not just to revolutionize travel between the two cities — there will also be intermediate stops in downtown Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — but to transform a long-vacant piece of downtown Miami.
Atlanta Business Chronicle: Agency to study Atlanta-to-Columbus high-speed rail
The Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking a consultant to study the feasibility of building a high-speed rail line linking Atlanta and Columbus, Ga. The state agency put out a request for proposals Thursday seeking bids for the study, which also will be overseen by the city of Columbus and the Federal Rail Administration. A recent study commissioned by the Georgia DOT and state transportation agencies in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky found high-speed rail feasible in the Southeast, a region long considered problematic for passenger rail because of the distance between major cities.
Bloomberg: Rahm Emanuel on Upgrading Chicago's Infrastructure
Emanuel often takes the train to work, chatting with constituents. Devin Leonard goes along for the ride and talks with the mayor about his planned upgrade of the city’s infrastructure. How often do you take the train? I probably do it twice a week. That’s the average, but there are weeks like this week, because of my schedule, it was once. It would have been on Monday, but Amy and the kids were leaving, so I wanted to stay and see them off.
The Lane Report: $2.6 Billion Ohio River Bridges Project Brings More Than Jobs, Contractor Cash
Work on a major Kentucky transportation project decades in the making to alleviate severe traffic congestion and improve safety in Louisville’s city center began last month as construction crews demolished several buildings to make way for a new downtown bridge over the Ohio River. The six-lane bridge will be part of the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, which also includes modernization of the Kennedy Interchange in downtown Louisville and the construction of a new East End Crossing into Indiana.
Houston Star Chronicle: Houston Metro receives $188 million for light rail construction
The expansion of Houston Metro got another boost from the federal government with the allocation of $188 million in additional construction funding for the North and Southeast light rail lines. Congressman Gene Green, the Houston Democrat who is dean of the metropolitan area’s House delegation, said the money is part of Houston Metro’s full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration.
“Federal investment in infrastructure is the necessary catalyst for future economic growth and to enable the private sector to effectively compete in the global economy. This investment is long overdue.”