Infrastructure in the News: August 2, 2012
BAF IN THE NEWS
Governing: What The Georgia Vote Means for the Future of Transportation
But Kerry O’Hare director of policy at Building America's Future, is skeptical of Atlanta-area voters who raised questions about accountability. She says it would be difficult to imagine getting a more detailed list of projects than what was released by the regional districts. “For people to say ‘we don’t know what the money going to go to,’” O’Hare says, “is not a real argument.”
Politico: Two tales about TIGER grants
TIGER grants launched with a roar three years ago, heralded as a clever way to dole out money to states and cities with innovative infrastructure plans. But now, the program, which delivered $3.1 billion nationwide in four rounds of funding, has hit a turning point. Republicans want to kill the grants, which they say have been overly politicized by the Obama administration. The House voted to nix future funding earlier this year. And a six-month extension of current spending laws means it won’t become clear until after the election whether TIGER will survive.
Transportation Issues Daily: Three Keys to Success With Next Federal Transportation Bill
Whether you love it, hate it, or have mixed feelings about it, the U.S. Congress has finally passed a reauthorization bill establishing ground rules for our nation’s transportation policy until October 1, 2014. So what’s an advocate to do now? While it’s tempting to sit back and relax (or fume), with just over two years to go until the current bill expires your voices are needed more than ever. Once you’ve made your way through the 599 page bill and know for sure whether you’re pleased or outraged, focus on the following three keys to building success for the next time around – because it’s coming sooner than we might think.
DC Streetsblog: White House Transportation “Champions” Didn’t Get There By Car
Every week, the White House honors leaders and innovators in a chosen field, and yesterday was transportation’s turn. Their choices of honorees spoke volumes about this administration’s principles around transportation. “We’re not talking about the past,” Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood said at yesterday’s ceremony. “We’re not talking about building more roads and bridges. We’re talking about building new and creative communities with innovative and creative ways of getting people around those communities.”
Silicon Valley Mercury News: Richmond's novel transportation program receives new funds
A fledgling alternative transportation program targeted at low-income residents has been awarded $343,000 in new grant funding, and residents and city leaders want to raise awareness about the program's availability. The grant, accepted Tuesday by the City Council, comes from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which identified "Easy Go Richmond" as a program that helps ease congestion and improve air quality while providing improved transportation options for low-income communities.
Atlanta Journal Constitution: No revote, no gas tax hike, Deal says
The governor declared he will not turn to voters again on transportation funding and said he does not support an increase in the gas tax or a hotel/motel tax to fund transportation projects. Deal's comments at the groundbreaking for Baxter International's $1 billion plant near Covington came the day after voters in metro Atlanta overwhelmingly rejected a one-cent sales tax for transportation. Asked if he would support a second referendum with a re-jiggered project list, Deal was unequivocal.
DC Streetsblog: Atlanta’s Bad Traffic Situation Is About to Get Worse
The proposed one-cent sales tax hike to support $7.15 billion in spending on transit and roads was roundly defeated Tuesday, with 62 percent opposing. Though approved by Atlanta city voters, none of the 10 counties considering the measure gave it the thumbs up, according to unofficial results. The defeat “leaves the Atlanta region’s traffic congestion problem with no visible remedy,” wrote Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Ariel Hart. “It marks [a] failure not only for the tax but for the first attempt ever to unify the 10-county region’s disparate voters behind a plan of action.”
Kansas City Star: Downtown streetcar plan passes, but fewer than 500 people vote
Kansas City’s streetcar plan got the green light Wednesday, as downtown voters approved a special taxing district to help fund the project. City officials said they’ve also found a way to close a $25 million gap in federal funds for the project, and they’re now confident they can raise all the money necessary for a $100 million, two-mile streetcar system from River Market to Crown Center. “This project is a go,” City Councilman Russ Johnson told an enthusiastic crowd of transit advocates who gathered at Union Station. “We are on schedule for 2015 and we will be riding streetcars in 2015.”
Reuters: Massachusetts lawmakers finalize major transport bill
Massachusetts lawmakers on Tuesday finalized a $1.39 billion bill for transportation infrastructure projects, including highway and bridge repair and railway expansion. The bill was completed late on the final day of the legislature's two-year formal session and sent to Governor Deval Patrick on Wednesday. The bill authorizes $685 million in borrowing for highway and public transportation projects, which will be matched in part by federal funds.
ABC: Minnesota I-35 Bridge Collapse Anniversary: How Safe Are Drivers Now?
Five years ago today more than 100 cars were traveling over a bridge on I-35W during a Minneapolis rush hour when it suddenly collapsed, dropping cars from the interstate into the 15-foot-deep Mississippi River below, trapping many passengers inside. Before they could escape or emergency help arrived, 13 people died and another 145 were injured one of the worst bridge disasters in U.S. history.
Wall Street Journal: Tappan Zee's End
The aging Tappan Zee Bridge will be demolished when its replacement is completed, a federal study released Wednesday said, dashing hopes that the older span would have a second life as a majestic park stretching over the Hudson River. Despite the urging of some locals for an elevated park, and what had seemed like an encouraging nod of support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the study said the existing bridge will be torn down once the new span opens, expected in 2017 or 2018.
“There’s never been a better time to build….”