Infrastructure in the News: August 20, 2012
New York Times: Obama Releases $470 Million for Highway Work
“These idle earmarks have sat on the shelf as our infrastructure continues to age and construction workers sit on the sidelines. That ends today,” Mr. LaHood said. Mr. LaHood said the money was never spent because states completed the projects without the money or the projects were abandoned before any work began. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the nation faces a $2.2 trillion infrastructure backlog. One of every eight bridges is “structurally deficient,” and 85 percent of public transit systems are struggling to carry a growing number of riders, the group said.
Fast Lane: Obama Administration says “We Can’t Wait," tells states to use idle earmarks to improve transportation and put people to work
At DOT, we know that America’s transportation infrastructure is in need of attention, while construction workers across the country remain eager to get back on the job repairing, replacing, and modernizing our roads, rails, and runways. Over the last decade, Congress has set aside $473 million in transportation funds that were never spent. These idle earmarks have sat on the shelf as our infrastructure continues to age and fall into disrepair, and hundreds of thousands of construction workers look for work. That ends today.
Pedestrian Observations: High-Speed Rail’s Role in Decongesting Airports
One common argument for building HSR is that it will help decongest airports, by displacing high-volume short-distance flights. This can result in a permanent reduction in air travel, reducing environmental impact, or a diversion of capacity to longer-distance flights, or perhaps a combination of both. The question is then how much air travel can be diverted. The main source I’m using for this is the Office of Aviation Analysis’s master table of all lower-48 origin-and-destination city pairs with at least 10 passengers per day (table 6, 3rd quarter of ’11).
Fast Company: The Surprising Beauty Of America’s Crumbling Interstate System
It’s hard to oversell the impact of America’s largest public works project, the 47,000 mile Interstate Highway System, which is tied to some of our best and worst attributes as a country. For aerial photographer Peter Andrew, it is something of a muse. Like so many other artists and writers before him, Andrew is fascinated by our sprawling highways. And as someone who hangs out of helicopters with a camera around his neck for a living, he has frequent opportunities to document it.
Contra Costa Times: Bay Bridge crews embark on herculean feat
Raise even one of the 200 uber-strong steel cable suspender ropes too high or too fast and it could twist the decks or throw the 525-foot tower out of plumb. And because it is the world's largest self-anchored, single-tower suspension bridge, no one has ever before performed a load transfer on this scale. The lengths of the biggest self-anchored bridges today -- the Konohana Bridge in Japan and the Yeoungjong Grand Bridge in South Korea -- are slightly less than half the 2,047-foot new Bay Bridge. There's no way around it, of course.
Atlanta Business Chronicle: Four-way competition set to build Northwest Corridor project
Four highway construction teams have made the Georgia Department of Transportation’s short list for consideration to design, build and partially finance toll lanes along interstates 75 and 575. The DOT is inviting the four to submit bids for the Northwest Corridor, a public-private project with the private sector expected to finance up to 20 percent of the estimated $750 million to $850 million price tag.
Detroit News: U.S. close to decision on M-1 streetcar funding
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Detroit's $137 million streetcar project is on track to win federal backing, saying he hopes to make a "very good" announcement on funding soon. In late June, LaHood said the streetcar project up Woodward would not get $25 million in federal support as part of a round of grants announced this summer, adding the government will back the project if it overcomes some key hurdles.
WBTV: City, state take next step for future uptown transportation hub
The state and the city of Charlotte are moving along with plans to build a new multi modal transportation center in uptown Charlotte within the next decade. The N.C. Department of Transportation issued a request for qualifications Thursday from developers with experience in urban mixed-use projects to partner on the future Gateway Station district development in uptown. The state wants to have all candidates for the project's master developer submit their qualifications by Sept. 21.
"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."