Infrastructure in the News: December 13, 2012
BAF IN THE NEWS:
Metro Magazine: Rendell urges creation of a commission on infrastructure needs
Edward G. Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor and co-chair of Building America’s Future, spoke at a POLITICO transportation summit in Washington, D.C., about the need for a commission to develop a long-term and strategic infrastructure investment plan.
Construction Digital: American infrastructure overhaul needed, summit agrees In the wake of Hurricane
Sandy, genuine concerns around the state of American infrastructure to deal with disaster has been raised once again
The Morning Call: Rendell talks U.S. Transportation Secretary post
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who seems to have a million jobs these days, brushed aside - as only a politician could - a question about him serving in the Obama administration cabinet as the next U.S. Transportation Secretary.
Politico: Morning Transportation
By Adam Snider and Burgess Everett, Featuring Kathryn A. Wolfe
Grover come over: We asked Virginia DOT Secretary Sean Connaughton if he would break with Grover Norquist, who told Virginia legislators that indexing the gas tax to inflation would, yes, violate his pledge. Connaughton said Gov. McDonnell is still formulating a $500 million transportation package — and meeting with stakeholders (including Norquist) to figure out a funding method. Ed Rendell’s take: “Nobody ever voted for Grover Norquist. … It’s about time we told him to pound sand.” http://politi.co/XTxscl
‘Get real’: Rendell, who co-chairs Building America’s Future, said it’s time we “get real” about fixing up the country’s infrastructure, highlighting our decreasing advantages moving goods and people. “We are spending far too little as a country on our infrastructure and our infrastructure is going to hell in a hand basket,” Rendell said. http://politi.co/RpBPdn
Politico Pro: Ed Rendell: Tell Norquist 'to pound sand'
By ANDREW RESTUCCIA and CAITLIN EMMA
Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and co-chairman of Building America’s Future, offered a few choice words for anti-tax activist Grover Norquist as states try to defend themselves against cuts to infrastructure spending.
“Nobody ever voted for Grover Norquist,” Rendell said during a transportation policy luncheon hosted by POLITICO. “He is in my judgment the Wizard of Oz and it’s about time we told him to pound sand.”
But based on comments at the luncheon by Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell isn’t ready to write off Norquist.
McDonnell has said he’d like to boost yearly transportation spending by $500 million — though he hasn't specified from what source. On Monday, Norquist wrote to Virginia legislators that one possible revenue source — indexing the gasoline tax to inflation — would violate the anti-tax pledge that many lawmakers have signed.
McDonnell “is out there meeting with all the stakeholders, including Mr. Norquist and others,” Connaughton said Wednesday. But he added that the governor will make the final decision.
Connaughton noted that the gas tax hasn’t been raised in Virginia since 1986.
Politico Pro: Ed Rendell on infrastructure: ‘We’ve got to get real’
By ANDREW RESTUCCIA
Former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell took federal policymakers to task Wednesday for not showing leadership on infrastructure spending — though he says President Barack Obama “has tried.”
“Nobody has done what needs to be done and we’ve got to confront it and we’ve got to get real,” Rendell said during a transportation policy luncheon hosted by POLITICO Pro.
Rendell called on Obama to organize a “Simpson-Bowles-type commission” to make short and long-term recommendations for addressing the country’s infrastructure problems.
“We are spending far too little as a country on our infrastructure and our infrastructure is going to hell in a hand basket,” Rendell said.
Rendell was careful not to put too much blame on Obama.
“The president has done more than almost anybody else,” he said, while noting that he has not taken action on a “sufficient-enough scale.”
Wall Street Journal (Associated Press Re-Print): After Sandy, NYC eyes moving power gear higher
December 12, 2012
NEW YORK — A major push is on to move New York City's electrical infrastructure to higher ground or upper floors after Superstorm Sandy sent seawater pouring into low-lying substations and skyscraper basements and plunged half of Manhattan into darkness for four days.
The effort, likely to be enormously costly, will center partly on two old weaknesses brought into sharp relief by the surge: power distribution stations built just yards from the water's edge, and electrical components located in vulnerable basements.
Ever since Thomas Edison built the world's first central power station in a Manhattan seaport district in 1882, central elements of the island's electrical infrastructure have been located along the waterfront. Ten of Con Edison's 101 transmission and distribution substations sit in flood zones.
And in skyscrapers built within a fisherman's cast of the sea, transformers, circuit panels and other electrical components are almost always in the basement, where they are sitting ducks in any flood. About 250 big buildings suffered enough damage to their basement-level electrical systems during the storm to knock the power out for weeks. Nearly 40 remained without power this week.
Moving all that equipment isn't going to be cheap. Consolidated Edison, the city's main power utility, made a preliminary estimate that it would cost $800 million to rebuild its flood-zone substations in a way that would put sensitive equipment out of the water's reach in a storm like Sandy.
Reconfiguring the city's high-rises to move electrical equipment out of vulnerable basement areas will cost many millions of dollars more, and that's just in construction costs. Building owners will also lose large amounts of revenue when rentable floors are converted into mechanical space.
In the past, maybe all of those costs would have been considered prohibitive, but Sandy — coming on top of years of warnings about global warming and the threat of rising seas — changed a lot of minds.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently asked Congress for $2.7 billion to help pay for statewide improvements in energy infrastructure.
Numerous skyscraper owners in the financial district and other waterfront areas have already begun moving as much electrical infrastructure as they can out of basements to avoid a repeat of the damage, said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York.
"It's not even a question anymore," he said.
Yes, the lost rent revenue will hurt, Spinola said. But not as much as having a building knocked out of service and tenants with hundreds of employees displaced for weeks or months.
"There is no doubt in anyone's mind that I have spoken to," Spinola said. "They don't want to have to go through this again."
There is also already talk, he said, about changing building codes and zoning rules in ways that might make it easier to move certain equipment all the way to the roof, in buildings where there is now insufficient space on lower floors.
Richard Lambeck, a clinical associate professor in construction methods and technology at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, said there might be ways to design watertight vaults for electrical transformers, although he noted that encasing that equipment would pose a ventilation challenge.
Engineers at Con Ed began examining the system's vulnerability almost immediately after the crisis phase of the recovery began to wane, Miksad said.
Even before the storm, the utility had resolved that any new substations would be elevated enough to be untouched in either a Category 2 hurricane or the type of flood the Federal Emergency Management Agency expects to occur only once every 100 years.
It isn't clear yet whether older stations in flood zones should be rebuilt to also raise them out of the flood zone, said John Miksad, Con Ed's vice president of electric operations.
The utility is still studying the issue. But even if they are not, some key components could be raised on platforms, or surrounded by higher flood barriers to offer better protection.
In one of the more dramatic developments of the storm, the flood barriers at a key substation on the East River proved to be a few feet too short. Water cascaded into the station, causing an electrical arc that lit up the sky and plunged a huge part of Manhattan into darkness.
Meanwhile, the equipment in a new substation built on the ground level of 7 World Trade Center, one of the towers reconstructed after the 9/11 attacks, sat just high enough to stay mostly dry. That allowed the lights in Manhattan's waterfront Battery Park City neighborhood to stay on, while streets for miles around were dark.
Con Ed pledged Thursday to spend at least $250 million on short-term improvements at its facilities, such as installing better flood barriers and pumps.
The utility is also looking at reconfiguring its electrical networks so neighborhoods in flood zones can be isolated from the rest of the city, Miksad said. That would prevent flood-related blackouts from extending to dry sections of town, as they did during Sandy.
Much of New York's power distribution system is already underground, sealed off in cables designed to be fully submersible. The bigger problem in major storms is usually the overhead wires that still serve the more suburban and coastal sections of the city.
City officials have talked for years about burying those lines to protect them from the wind, but Miksad said Con Ed estimated the citywide cost at $60 billion.
Huge swaths of Long Island and New Jersey also lost power during the storm, due to the vulnerability of overhead power lines, but there has been little serious discussion of burying them in either state due to the high cost.
Other types of upgrades, though, are getting a closer look.
The New Jersey utility PSE&G is evaluating whether it can build better flood defenses into substations in tidal areas. Of the 294 switching stations and substations on its system, 108 were affected by the storm surge, with some taking on four to eight feet of water, according to the company.
The utility says it also might be able to shorten the duration of outages by installing "smart meters" that can pinpoint which customers have lost power. Right now, it relies on phone reports. Installing the meters just in PSE&G's coverage area could cost $600 million, which has caused some ratepayer advocates to question whether they would be worth the expense.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a speech Thursday that his administration would independently assess what it would take to make the electrical system, and other vital networks — such as natural gas, phone and cable — capable of withstanding at least a Category 2 hurricane.
"No matter what we do, the tides will continue to come in, and so we have to make our city more resilient in other ways, especially when it comes to our critical infrastructure," he said.
But he also noted that the city's resources for those modernization projects aren't unlimited.
"We have to live in the real world and make tough decisions based on the costs and benefits of risk-avoidance investments," Bloomberg said. "Saying we're going to spend whatever it takes just is not realistic."
New York Times: Maps App for iPhone Steers Right
It was one of the biggest tech headlines of the year: in September, Apple dropped its contract with Google, which had always supplied the data for the iPhone’s Maps app. For various strategic reasons, Apple preferred to write a new app, based on a new database of the world that Apple intended to assemble itself.
Washington Post: Senate Democrats quickly put together $60.4 billion Superstorn Sandy aid package
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Wednesday finished cobbling together a $60.4 billion disaster aid package for New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Superstorm Sandy in late October.
The Hill: Shuster names new GOP members of House Transportation Committee
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has named 10 new Republican members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The Hill: Blumenthal joins Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is joining the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Democratic leaders announced on Wednesday.
American Rivers Blog: Investing In Resilient Infrastructure After Superstorm Sandy
When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in early November, it wreaked unprecedented destruction.
Politico: Morning Transportation
By Adam Snider and Burgess Everett, Featuring Kathryn A. Wolfe
MICA’S LAST STAND: Today the House T&I committee holds its final hearing of the year and the last with Chairman John Mica holding the gavel. His chairmanship ends right where it began — talking about the Northeast Corridor and Amtrak. Mica told MT his main focus will be ways to speed up Amtrak’s 30-year high-speed rail plan. “It’s still 30 years and $150 billion. They’re not going to get that. People aren’t going to wait that long and they’re not going to get that kind of money,” he told us yesterday in the Speaker’s Lobby. “Private money would be quicker. But my question would be, ‘How are they going to speed it up?’” The chairman said he thinks “you could have high-speed service in that corridor in 10 years.” But just because it’s his last hearing with the T&I gavel, don’t think the inquisition is over: “I’m going to keep plugging, chairman or no chairman.”
All Aboardman: Amtrak head Joe Boardman, who will testify at the hearing today, told MT he plans to say that it’s “critical” that speeds be improved on the corridor. “To that end I want to replace the Acela equipment rather than add to it,” he wrote. Boardman plans to talk about a preliminary schedule on that effort, which could help boost train speeds on the popular corridor that includes four of the country’s 10 largest metro areas. The T&I briefing memo has more: http://1.usa.gov/VWOqWS
Mica praying: We asked Mica if he’d be the chairman of the railroads — or another — panel next year. His reply: “I don’t know what I’m going to be. I go to bed, put another dollar under my pillow and pray for the tooth fairy to bring me something.” Incoming Chairman Bill Shuster had no subcommittee juice for us last night — even when we asked if there was a Mica-specific assignment.
SENATE DEMS NAME COMMITTEE ROSTERS: Joe Manchin, Elizabeth Warren and freshman Heidi Heitkamp will join the Banking panel in charge of transit issues. Richard Blumenthal got a seat on the Commerce Committee that oversees aviation, rail and safety. Sherrod Brown and Michael Bennet will join Finance, responsible for funding transportation bills. The EPW committee, responsible for the bulk of the surface transportation bill, did not add any new members.
Au revoir: Bennet is off Banking and Tom Udall is off of Commerce as they land on Finance and Appropriations, respectively.
GARAMENDI REJOINING T&I: Democratic Rep. John Garamendi will rejoin the T&I committee after a two-year absence, and Dems will gain one seat as the committee grows to 60 seats. Hank Johnson is another eligible former member that has first dibs — but as ranking member Nick Rahall told MT: “Hank told me he wasn’t interested.” Garamendi is on because “he was on it before, and he got chopped so he had first dibs.” Nine spots remain, but Rahall pleaded ignorance on when they will be announced: “I’m not on the steering committee. … I haven’t got any official list.”
Departing Dems: Here’s why there’s nine open seats still to fill, in MT-sanctioned list form. Jerry Costello and Heath Shuler are retiring; Bob Filner was elected mayor of San Diego; Tim Holden, Russ Carnahan and Jason Altmire lost their primaries; Leonard Boswell and Laura Richardson lost in the general election; and Mazie Hirono was elected to the Senate. Unlike on the GOP side, no Dems so far are leaving T&I to jump to one of the “A” committees.
SCHEDULING ERROR: Corrine Brown told us a few minutes after our event yesterday that there wassupposed to be a group photo notice sent out to all T&I-ers on Wednesday — but only Republicans got the invite. Rahall said the issue was that someone “forgot to hit the send all button” which means “Democrats weren't invited.” He said it’s since been rescheduled but recounted his conversation with Mica: “Only the GOP showed up. And I said, ‘What’s going on?’ He went back and checked and found out his staffer forgot to invite the Democrats.” Mica rebutted: “That wasn’t my fault. We have a copy of the email passed last Friday to the Democrat staff and they kind of missed it,” he said. “I’m not here to pick on them, but we’ll reschedule it. That would be a funny photograph” without the Democrats, he added with a laugh.
TRANSPO BRAIN DRAIN: The transportation staff dominoes keep falling. In the past few weeks, longtime staffers for transportation committees in both chambers have retired or otherwise moved on, taking with them multiple decades worth of transportation policy experience combined. Of course, any time there are changes to a committee’s leadership, staff is sure to follow. But professional staff members on transportation committees in particular tend to stick around longer than others. The latest to leave is Sharon Barkeloo, House T&I’s expert on budget issues, particularly when it comes to aviation. Barkeloo, who had served in that job since 2007, had her last day on Friday. “Moving back to Ohio to be closer to family. Farewell D.C.,” she said Wednesday in an email to POLITICO. Kathryn has the Pro story: http://politico.pro/Z0TDPb
Mica talks ‘crap’ and ‘funny weed’: The chairman is sick of getting hit for not running a bipartisan committee, we-thinks. “Don’t anybody give me this ‘not bipartisan’ crap,” Mica said right around the time Brown said the Congress was “stuck on stupid.” After Jim Oberstar suggested a gas tax increase needed to be in the cards, Mica unlocked one of MT’s old favorites: “You’re smoking the funny weed if you think it’s going to pass.” http://politi.co/SdXc1n
APROPOS OF APPROPS: Senate appropriators have released their Hurricane Sandy supplemental bill, which could hit the floor later this week. For transportation, there’s $10.8 billion for transit, including $5.4 billion for mitigating future disasters. Also in the package: $921 million for highway repairs, $336 million for Amtrak to repair Northeast Corridor infrastructure, $274 million for the Coast Guard and $30 million for the FAA. Text: http://1.usa.gov/UD89nC
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DATA: NHTSA publishes a notice of proposed rulemaking in today’s Federal Register to mandate the installation of EOBRs in most light autos made after September 2014. The specs of the “black boxes” — what data they collect and how it’s formatted — were set in a 2006 regulation. The new notice doesn’t change those standards but adds the installation mandate. Transportation groups and the public have 60 days to comment — and expect a lot of them. AAA is already raising privacy concerns and pushing to ensure drivers keep ownership of any black box data, as MT reported yesterday. Read the FedReg entry: http://bit.ly/VAmAd7
Coasting: And over on the Senate side, the upper chamber signed off on the Coast Guard bill (H.R. 2838; final text: http://1.usa.gov/UEELx8) that had been ping-ponging between the two chambers. That measure now heads to the White House.
Politico Pro: Departures of transportation staff continue
By Kathryn A. Wolfe
The transpo staff dominoes keep falling.
In the past few weeks, longtime staffers for transportation committees in both chambers have retired or otherwise moved on, taking with them multiple decades worth of transportation policy experience combined.
Of course, any time there are changes to a committee’s leadership, staff is sure to follow. But professional staff members on transportation committees in particular tend to stick around longer than others.
But recently, even those transportation aides have begun hanging up their hats, particularly with impending changes to two of the big transportation committees’ top leadership — namely, Republicans on the House Transportation Committee and on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
One House member involved with transportation policy lamented that in a chamber where practically a majority of elected members have been around for as many years as can be counted on one hand, losing experienced staff members is a really hard blow.
The latest to leave is Sharon Barkeloo, the House Transportation Committee’s expert on budget issues, particularly when it comes to aviation. Barkeloo, who had served in that job since 2007, had her last day on Friday.
“Moving back to Ohio to be closer to family. Farewell DC,” she said Wednesday in an email to POLITICO.
Joyce Rose, another longtime House Transportation aide in charge of the railroads subcommittee, recently left to take over as president and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit dedicated to improving safety at railroad crossings.
Even bigger names are also on the way out. Ruth Van Mark, Republican staff director for Senate EPW, is retiring and moving back home to Wyoming. She first started with EPW in 2003 and before that had worked for House Transportation starting in 1994.
And Jim Coon, the staff director for the House Transportation panel, is also leaving for the private sector. He will serve as vice president in the government affairs division of the National Air Transportation Association.
New York Times: ‘Daily Show’ Is Policy Forum for Newark’s Mayor
While many mayors suffer in relatively anonymity, there is a good chance that you have heard of Cory A. Booker of Newark. If you, say, turn on a television, or are on Twitter, you have probably heard that he spent the last week eating burned sweet potatoes while on his food-stamps diet, that he pulled a woman from a burning building, that during snowstorms he shovels out perhaps every snowbound car in his beleaguered New Jersey city.
NPR: New York Planners Prep For A 'New Normal' Of Powerful Storms
It will take tens of billions of dollars to repair the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy. But scientists who study climate change say repair is not enough. As the climate warms, ice sheets and glaciers will melt, raising the sea level. That means coastal storms will more likely cause flooding.
FastLane: DC-Dulles Silver Line a gold star project by any measure
When it comes to transportation, there is no time like the present to invest in the future. Transportation projects take time to complete, and they endure for generations. Because the impacts of these projects extend so far into the future, the infrastructure choices we make today have huge consequences for our nation’s ability to reduce oil consumption, increase safety, preserve air quality, improve public health, and keep more money in people's wallets.
FastLane: Charlotte Streetcar another step forward in modern transit
This morning, I wrote that, for transportation, there is no time like the present to invest in the future. One city that understands that quite clearly is Charlotte, NC. And today I was delighted to be back in the Queen's City to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Charlotte Streetcar Starter Line.
News Observer: Orange County approves transit sales tax, fees
CHAPEL HILL The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted 5-1 Tuesday to start collecting a half-cent sales tax April 1 to pay specifically for expanded bus service and a future light-rail system.
Transportation Nation: Report: National Weather Service Says NJ Transit Didn’t Ask About Flooding
The National Weather Service says New Jersey Transit didn’t call. The Star-Ledger is reporting the agency never consulted the National Weather Service, which predicted storm surges of up to 11 feet.
The Telegraph: Nashua mayor, picked for Gov.-elect Hassan’s transportation transition team, shares commuter rail goal
NASHUA – When Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan takes over for Gov. John Lynch next month, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau will be part of the team that sets her sights on the state’s transportation priorities.
Trentonian: State admits jet fuel went to local gas stations
NEWARK — The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today confirmed that approximately eight tankers of jet fuel were mistakenly delivered to six gas stations last week in four New Jersey counties; this fuel was sold to motorists last week before the stations were shut down
The Arizona Republic: Transit riders could face fare hike, light-rail stoppage in 2013
Valley transit riders will likely face fare hikes in March, service changes in January and may have to navigate a light-rail strike as early as New Year's Day.
Houston Chronicle: Washington Avenue gets its parking district
The Houston City Council on Wednesday formed a special parking district along Washington Avenue, intended to ease the woes associated with the bustling corridor's mix of bars, restaurants and residential streets.
Washington Post: Local officials call for ‘huge infusion’ of transportation funding from Maryland
About 150 local officials and transportation advocates converged on Annapolis on Wednesday to underscore what they said is an urgent need for hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding from the Maryland General Assembly in its coming session.
Washington Post: Dulles Airport seen as potential engine for revenue
Reagan National Airport is the region’s smallest commercial airport. Boxed in by the Potomac River and Arlington County, it is popular with carriers and travelers, but it has no room to grow.
The Baltimore Sun: Transportation summit pushes for new revenue
By Michael Dresser
December 12, 2012
Business leaders, elected officials and transportation advocates gathered in Annapolis Wednesday to push Gov. Martin O’Malley and the General Assembly to take action next year to raise vital revenue for the state’s roads, bridges and transit systems – even in the face of public opposition.
Participants in the Transportation Funding Summit packed a hearing room near the State House to brainstorm over strategies to persuade legislators to do what they refused to do earlier this year – increase taxes on gasoline to provide the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to sustain a transportation program that does more than just maintain what it already has.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said the General Assembly needs to act in 2013 rather than “kick the can down the road.”
"Those of us at the local level, we can’t kick it nowhere,” he said, noting that 2014 is an election year, when lawmakers are reluctant to vote for new taxes.
Some summit participants believe the what the governor needs to do is make a more sustained, consistently hands-on push for a tax on gasoline than he did last year. Others think he needs to come up with an alternate approach.
So far, the O’Malley administration has been mum on its plans. Spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said the governor’s staff is still formulating his legislative program.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said he’s willing to make a new push for revenue but said it would require the governor’s direct involvement in rounding up votes. House Speaker Michael E. Busch, meanwhile, said officials need to see what happens in the federal negotiation over the so-called “fiscal cliff” before making a decision on what can be done.
According to the state Department of Legislative Services, the state’s traditional revenue sources for transportation –among them the 23.5-cent-a-gallon gas tax, titling taxes and registration fees – are no longer producing enough money to meet the need to build significant new road or transit capacity to relieve congestion. By 2018, analysts project, the entire Department of Transportation capital spending program for highways will go to “system preservation” – with nothing left over for design and construction of new projects.
That is the state of the system even without taking into account the projected costs of building three major transit systems the state now has in its plans – Baltimore’s Red Line, the Washington suburbs’ Purple Line and Montgomery County’s Corridor City Transitway. With application deadlines for federal funds for the Red and Purple lines as close as next year, Maryland has yet to identify a source of funds for the state’s share -- more than $1 billion for each project.
Meanwhile, road projects all over the state are taking a hit as the costs of transit systems chew up more slices of the transportation pie. During the last budget year transit spending – mostly on operations – took up 48 percent of the budget compared with 23 percent for roads. Just five years before, spending on was roughly even.
The sad state of the state’s Transportation Trust Fund is old news in Annapolis. Before the 2011 session, a blue-ribbon commissionadvised the General Assembly the state needed about $850 million a year in additional revenue to meet its needs and recommended a series of revenue-raisers including a 15-cent-a-gallon increase in the gas tax. Lawmakers said no that year.
Early this year, O’Malley proposed a 6 sales tax on gasoline that would have raised about $613 million a year and have added 18 cents to the price of a gallon of gas. The measure didn’t even get a committee vote as legislators wrangled with several higher-profile issues – same-sex marriage, casino gambling and an income tax increase.
Many lawmakers say there is little chance the result would be different if the governor were to return with a variation of either of the gas tax proposals. The resistance from their constituents is just too strong, they say.
The dilemma of Del. James Malone, who represents Baltimore and Howard counties, shows how heavy a lift any transportation revenue package would be. He’s a Democrat, vice chairman of the subcommittee that oversees transportation policy and a self-described “big transit guy,” but he took a constituent survey last year and found his voters were “adamantly opposed to the gas tax.” He said his “gut feeling” is that their minds haven’t changed and that the votes won’t be there.
45% of major urban highways are congested.