Thursday, February 23, 2012
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: February 23, 2012


The Hill: Barletta: Restoring our economy starts with infrastructure
American motorists drove almost 3 trillion miles in 2011. That’s like driving from the Earth to the sun and back almost 13,500 times. The average American family drives 22,500 miles a year going to work, to the store, to visit friends and relatives, or to go on vacation. Sadly, more and more of those trips are made on roads and bridges that are disintegrating.

Transportation Nation: Transit Officials Offer New Reason to Oppose HR7: Bond Ratings
Public transit officials are using the congressional recess to regroup in their battle against a Republican-backed House transportation bill. And the new voices joining the choir of transit-focused opposition to HR7 are bringing new lines of argument against the legislation. The most vocal opposition to the bill has been in defense of transit funding. As written HR7 would stop funding mass transit through a federal gasoline tax for the first time in about three decades. Instead it would provide mass transit with a one time grant that would need to be approved by Congress each year to be extended.

The Hill: Chamber to members: Tell Congress to make passing highway bill job No. 1
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging its members to write letters to Congress calling for lawmakers to pass new legislation for transportation funding. The business group has said it does not agree with all provisions of either the House's $260 billion transportation bill, which would tie infrastructure spending to increased domestic oil drilling, or the Senate's $109 billion bill, which is shorter and relies on more traditional revenue sources for transportation such as the federal gas tax.

Streetsblog Network: Top 10 Reasons to Oppose the House Transpo Bill
Congress is in recess this week, but that doesn’t mean the furor surrounding the House transportation bill has died down. And that’s in addition to the bad stuff we already know: how the bill would eliminate dedicated funding for biking, walking and transit, draw funds from oil drilling revenues, and so on. There’s only one place for a bill like this: the trashcan. Let’s hope that’s what happens when Congress gets back to work next week.

DC Streetsblog: House Bill Delayed, But Transit, Biking, and Walking Aren’t Safe Yet
Congress is in recess, and the House’s atrocious transportation bill has been dismembered and delayed, but if you want to preserve funding for transit and active transportation, don’t let your guard down yet. There’s still plenty to watch out for as the House and Senate attempt to reauthorize federal transportation programs. As we’ve reported, there are some stark differences between the House and Senate bills. But what is scariest may be their similarities.

Emergency Management Blog: A Failing Infrastructure
The current edition of Emergency Management Magazine has its cover story on the fragile and declining state of our nation's critical infrastructure and then in Governing there is another article The Luxury of Upkeep which is about balancing the need for new facilities while trying to maintain the existing infrastructure.


Stateline (IA): Public still wary of gas tax hikes
Proposals to raise Iowa’s gas taxes by up to a dime a gallon are divisive at the state capitol, but Iowa’s residents seem to have reached consensus: They are firmly against the idea. Two out of three Iowans say they oppose the increases, according to The Des Moines Register. Iowa is not the only state where the public remains unconvinced of the need to hike gas taxes. Recent polls from Michigan and Maryland show similar levels of opposition, an obstacle for governors in both states.

Transportation Nation: NY State, Chicago, Selling Transpo Equipment on Ebay to Raise Cash
In the past two days New York state and the Chicago Transit Authority have both announced plans to sell transportation related holdings to raise money. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement: “By selling unneeded equipment and supplies, New York State will reduce operating costs and cut back on excess spending and inventory.” Nearly 500 vehicles will be made available at the newly created, and still not quite live, website, starting in April.

Greater Greater Washington: Feds, Maryland examine widening Balt.-Wash. Parkway
Widening the Baltimore-Washington parkway would let it carry more vehicles, but would not make traffic any better. That's the conclusion from a federal study that looked at adding a third lane in each direction. The study, by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), looks at widening the parkway between Route 50 and the Baltimore Beltway. FHWA will be sending the results of the study to Congress soon.

Minnesota Star Tribune: Dayton: St. Croix bridge plan has March deadline
With action on a new St. Croix River crossing stalled in Congress, Gov. Mark Dayton issued an urgent warning. Tuesday that time is running out on federal approval for the long-sought project. Setting a March 15 deadline, the DFL governor wrote to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Republican House author of a bill granting the necessary environmental clearances, requesting "immediate action."

Transportation Nation: NY Gov Considering Tappan Zee Greenway Proposal
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is considering turning the existing Tappan Zee Bridge into a “greenway” instead of demolishing it when a new adjacent span is built. Officials have said a new bridge carrying the NY Thruway between Rockland and Westchester counties would cost $5.2 billion, with rail lines and bus lanes costing billions more if added to the project — something transit advocates have been advocating fiercely for, even running radio ads to pressure Cuomo. The current plans for the replacement bridge, supported by Governor Cuomo, has no mass transit option.

WCBD (SC): Jobs are on the way in Berkeley County
Berkeley County leaders said plans to develop the Sheep Island interchange will bring 18,000 jobs to the Lowcountry. “We have to get the infrastructure in place or this will just pass us by,” County Supervisors, Dan Davis, said. In a special meeting in January, the State Infrastructure Bank allocated $15 million to widen Interstate 26 between Summerville and Jedburg.  Davis said with the widening project, the county is able to lure big business to the rural area.


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