Infrastructure in the News: December 9, 2011
BAF IN THE NEWS
Switchboard: Trains, Planes and Automobiles: America's Transportation Funding Crunch
But we must continue to make the case that investing in transportation is a paramount concern and our elected leaders must make it happen. To that end, a bi-partisan coalition dedicated to smart infrastructure investment and reform advocacy has launched an education campaign to spark attention and spur action. Below is the TV ad that Building America's Future is currently airing in key states.
Brookings-Rockefeller Study: Moving Forward on Public Private Partnerships: U.S. and International Experience with PPP Units
In a time of constrained public budgets, leveraging private-sector financial resources and expertise to deliver a range of infrastructure projects has growing appeal. However, these public/private partnerships (PPPs) are often complicated contracts that differ significantly from project to project and from place to place. In the United States, many states lack the technical capacity and expertise to consider such deals and fully protect the public interest. To address this problem, countries, states, and provinces around the world have created specialized institutional entities— called PPP units—to fulfill different functions such as quality control, policy formulation, and technical advice.
Progressive Railroading: Bipartisan coalition urges Obama to support six-year transportation bill
U.S. Reps. John Carney (D-Del.), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) have sent a letter to President Obama urging him to support a “fully paid-for” six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. More than 111 other House members also signed the letter, including 62 Democrats and 49 Republicans, according to a press release from Carney’s office. The letter states that short-term extensions of the legislation “fail to recognize that meaningful, large-scale transportation projects take years to plan, approve and implement.”
Transportation Issues Daily: Senate Republicans Outline How to Pay for Transportation Bill (Updated)
The Senate’s proposed highways/transit bill is about $12 billion short of being fully funded, due to declining gas tax revenue. Some combination of spending cuts, funds transfer, or tax/fee increases would be required. Finance Committee members and staff have been working behind the scenes to identify a bipartisan solution.
DC Streetsblog: Combating the Myth That Complete Streets Are Too Expensive
Are complete streets really too expensive? According to Norm Steinman, planning and design manager for the Charlotte Department of Transportation, design elements to turn an incomplete street into one that accommodates all users are usually a very low percentage of the total cost of street planning, design, and construction.
DC Streetsblog: Ray LaHood Gives Go-Ahead to Portland’s Sprawl-Inducing Mega-Bridge
You don’t need to look too hard to find signs that the ground is shifting when it comes to highway construction. Around the country, state DOTs are running out of money. Headlines ask “Are Freeways Doomed?” Overall vehicle miles traveled are down in the Pacific Northwest. But many state and regional transportation agencies continue to operate as if it were still the 1980s, when highway budgets were flush, gas was cheap and the destructive impacts of auto-centric planning were less well understood.
Washington Post: McDonnell proposes spending more money on transportation, but without raising taxes
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday that he wants to increase the amount of money Virginia spends on the state’s clogged roads, but not with a tax increase. Instead, he wants to increase the percentage of year-end surpluses that are spent on transportation, spend the first 1 percent in revenue growth over 5 percent each year on transportation and increase how much of the sales tax goes to transportation.
Residential buildings account for 20% of energy use.