Infrastructure in the News: August 3, 2012
The Hill: Transportation sector adds 7,000 jobs as unemployment rate ticks up
The transportation sector added 7,000 jobs in July as the over U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent. Statistics released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed an increase of 163,000 jobs in the month. The report showed employment in the transportation sector increased from 4,369,800 million in June to 4,376,700 last month.
Fast Lane: Highway grants keep Americans moving forward
Each year, vehicles on America's highways travel more than 2.9 trillion miles. Trillion. That means our nation's roadways are handling an incredible load--they are helping us get where we need to go, and they are absolutely essential to our economic competitiveness. The critical role our highways serve also means we must do what we can to make them as safe and efficient as possible. And as you can see from the crews across the country widening lanes and building new bridges this summer, that's a lot of work.
Transportation Nation: DOT Doles Out $363 Million in Highway Funding
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced more than $363 million in grants to fund a wide variety of highway improvements, from interstate rehabilitation and reconstruction to technologies that result in improved safety and reduced construction congestion. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited states, cities, tribal governments and local planning organizations to apply for federal funding from 12 grant programs. Nearly 1,500 requests poured in from every state, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. totaling approximately $2.5 billion. Grant funding was made available through enactment of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II.
Christian Science Monitor: Why California and the Northeast need High-Speed Rail
The past week has seen two major developments in America’s development and deployment of high speed rail. First, last Friday, the California Senate approved $4.6 billion in funding for the construction of the first section of the state’s HSR. This would allow $3.2 billion in federal stimulus funding to be released to the state. Second, on Tuesday, Amtrak released its updated proposal (pdf) to upgrade its Northeast Corridor (from Washington DC to Boston) to true high speed rail, capable of cruising at 220 miles per hour.
DC Streetsblog: Governors Get on Board With Smart Growth
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of six governors and ex-governors celebrated the new support of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities – the collaboration of HUD, DOT, and EPA — for the Governor’s Institute. This kind of collaborative work, among federal agencies and with the states, is “common sense writ large,” said U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari at the event. “But it wasn’t done in the past.” States are where the rubber hits the road, he said, and the federal government needs to help them take smart action.
The New Republic: What’s Next for Transportation in Atlanta
When it comes to transformative infrastructure, there’s no bigger tool for metro areas than local referendums. And that’s exactly what makes yesterday’s vote in Atlanta so troubling for that region’s future. Presented with the opportunity to levy a 1 cent sales tax increase--and infuse the region with roughly $7.2 billion in new revenues--Atlanta’s residents made a clear statement: We’re not ready to pay more for better infrastructure. So this begs a natural follow-up question: what does Atlanta want to do about its transportation challenges?
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Why 3 Georgia regions voted for T-SPLOST
Voters across a large swath of Georgia's midsection, stretching from Augusta in the east to Columbus in the west, decided Tuesday to tax themselves to improve their regions' roads. Unlike metro Atlanta voters, they determined that the tax's benefits are worth the cost. While only three of the state's 12 special transportation regions passed so-called T-SPLOSTs, supporters crowed Thursday that the $1.8 billion to be raised over the next decade provides an economic opportunity unavailable to Atlanta, Savannah or Macon.
“Public transportation is a vital component of the nation’s total transportation infrastructure picture, and with ridership expected to grow, dependable public transportation systems will be vital to the transportation needs of millions of Americans.”