Friday, February 17, 2012
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: February 17, 2012


Politico: Opinion: Re-imagining U.S. infrastructure
President Barack Obama took the first step toward re-imagining U.S. infrastructure when he promised an executive order to reduce the red tape that frequently delays or derails building projects. But to address our nation’s infrastructure crisis and create more jobs, we need to go far beyond just repairing our aging legacy infrastructure. We must re-imagine it.

NPR: House Republicans Mull Ways To Fund Public Transit
It's estimated the nation faces a $3 trillion backlog in unmet road and transit needs. Since the Reagan administration, public transit has been funded from the same revenue stream as roads and bridges. Now there's a movement to fund public transit with revenue sources other than the gas tax.

Transportation Nation: House Transpo Bill Stalled In a Frenzy of Fingerpointing
House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair John Mica says the house transportation bill isn’t moving forward because there aren’t earmarks – “people aren’t being bought off for projects.” He’s telling Florida reporters that “bureaucrats in ivory towers in Washington,” just don’t understand Florida’s needs. Congressman Bob Turner, a New York City Republican, says party leaders pressured him to support the bill as written – and that he won’t, unless transit provisions are restored.

Streetsblog Network: H.R. 7: Is John Boehner Serious?
But did he seriously think this proposal would pass? That he could pillage all the funding for transit, walking and biking, get approvals for oil and gas drilling on some of the nation’s most sensitive lands, and strike a blow to public pensions all in one fell swoop? Or was this whole proposal more of a political statement, a fancy way of saying “no” while appearing to say “yes” to transportation investment?

DC Streetsblog: Flashback: Ronald Reagan Touts Gas Tax Hike, Transit Funding as Job Creators
On January 6, 1983, the icon of the modern conservative movement, Ronald Reagan, signed legislation to raise the gas tax for the first time in more than two decades, devoting a portion of the revenue to transit. We’ve been reading about this moment a lot, as the current GOP leadership in the House tries to undo Reagan’s legacy by eviscerating dedicated transit funding.


Atlantic Cities: In San Francisco, Buses Become the Police
For transit-only lanes to operate effectively within a city, they must remain clear for the next transit vehicle. But many drivers, frustrated with the crowding of the car lanes, drift into a roomy transit one out of either ignorance or contempt. The problem requires a lot of manpower to enforce, and therefore often goes unenforced. The result is lost time and money for the transit agency, which in turn can lead to service cuts or higher fares and less confidence in public transit.

CBS Chicago: First High-Speed Train Leaves Union Station
High-speed rail service has arrived in Chicago. As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, a high-speed train pulled out of Union Station Wednesday morning and headed off to Kalamazoo, Mich. It is the first time outside of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor that trains running at 110 mph are running. The first high-speed trains in the Midwest are only running to Indiana and southwest Michigan, but eventually will likely be expanded to St. Louis, Detroit and the Twin Cities.

Frederick News Post: Brinkley bill would lock transportation funds
State lawmakers will slap a padlock on funds for much-needed road and bridge projects if several legislators from Frederick County have their way this session. Maryland Sen. David Brinkley is seeking to amend the state constitution in an effort to protect the transportation trust fund, a pot of money fueled by gas and car titling taxes, as well as fees and other revenue sources. In past years, the state has siphoned dollars from the fund to bolster the general fund, a practice Brinkley said needs to stop.

Boston Globe: MBTA Advisory Board proposes 25 percent fare hike, alternatives to steep service cuts
MBTA fare increases would be limited to 25 percent and other state agencies as well as major nonprofits, universities, and public attractions would be asked to aid the T under a proposal presented today by the MBTA Advisory Board. The board, which represents cities and towns served by the T, offered the plan as an alternative to steep fare hikes and deep service cuts proposed by the MBTA last month.

FOX2 St. Louis: Amtrak Sets Sights on High Speed Rail Service in St. Louis
Amtrak customers throughout the Midwest are enjoying train rides of more than 100 miles per hour.  The same might be true for St. Louis residents in just a few years. Right now, only customers in Indiana and parts of Michigan are enjoying those high speed trips and shorter commutes.  Chicago was recently added to the list of stops.

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