Thursday, December 17, 2009
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: December 17, 2009

Boston Globe wrote that rail stimulus funds will bypass Northeast and according to News Ledger New Jersey pushed nearly $70 million in routine repairs onto a trust fund that is nearly bankrupt. Read more about those and other stories in this Infrastructure in the News.


National News

Greenwire: House's Jobs Package Creates Cash,' Room for Real Debate' on Next Highway Bill
The jobs package the House passed yesterday would give $36 billion to the nation's roads and rails -- but that wasn't its only gift to the transportation community... The legislation (H.R. 2847 (pdf)) would also extend the current highway and transit law through the end of September 2010, something many in the sector hope will shift lawmakers' attention away from recent clashes over a series of shorter extensions and toward getting down to work on the next full, multiyear bill.

CNN Money: Stimulus Phase 2: Infrastructure and jobs
... When asked why President Obama was pushing for more infrastructure spending to create jobs, when the impact of the upcoming year of infrastructure spending has yet take place, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said more spending would compliment those existing stimulus programs that have proved popular and have drawn too many applications.  He denied the call for more spending is a second stimulus proposal and called the new push for spending on infrastructure and programs to help homeowners make homes conserve less energy "targeted."

Daily Show: Ray LaHood, Jon Stewart discuss infrastructure jobs and high-speed rail (video)


State News

Boston Globe: Rail stimulus funds to bypass Northeast
The railroad tracks from Boston to Washington - the busiest rail artery in the nation, and one that also carries America’s only high-speed train, the Acela - have been virtually shut out of $8 billion worth of federal stimulus money set aside for high-speed rail projects because of a strict environmental review required by the Obama administration.  Because such a review would take years, states along the Northeast rail corridor are not able to pursue stimulus money for a variety of crucial upgrades.

Journal Star: Nebraska gas tax to rise by almost half a cent
Nebraska's total gas tax will rise by almost a half-cent per gallon Jan. 1, to 26.8 cents per gallon for highway related funding.  The 0.4-cent increase will cost the average Nebraska driver $2.40 a year (based on 12,000 miles at 20 miles per gallon).  The increase is the result of automatic changes built into the state fuel tax law.

St. Petersburg Times:  Crist signs rail bill in Tallahassee, Tampa
Gov. Charlie Crist signed the rail bill (HB 1B) into law Wednesday morning at ceremonies in Tallahassee and Tampa.  Crist gathered with local lawmakers for the signing in a symbolic spot near a bus station in downtown Tampa — property owned by the Department of Transportation that is designated for a rail stop.  "The real message here today is jobs, jobs, jobs," Crist said. "During this economy particularly, we need to do everything we can to provide jobs for the people of Florida. Keep fighting for them every day to make sure they have opportunity for a brighter future."  A handful of protesters picketed near the area, criticizing the bill as a waste of taxpayer money and comparing Crist to President Barack Obama.

News Ledger: Cash-strapped N.J. pushes off $70M routine transportation repairs onto nearly bankrupt fund
New Jersey can’t afford to inspect bridges, repair drainage systems or even fill potholes so it’s pushing off nearly $70 million in routine repairs onto a trust fund that is nearly bankrupt.  Last week that fund agreed to borrow another $1.2 billion for its work, raising even more concerns about the state’s record debt and the tax money needed to pay it off. 

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