Thursday, February 24, 2011
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: February 24, 2011

Infrastructurist has an article on the top 15 metro areas for transportation in America, and Fast Company looks at the smartest transportation cities in the country. Read more in this Infrastructure in the News.

National News

Fast Company: America's Smartest Cities for Transportation Still Aren't Very Smart
Ambitious high-speed rail plans aside, most of the U.S. is lacking in the public transportation arena. That's why the NRDC has chosen to highlight fifteen small, medium, and large cities that are supposedly getting transportation right: Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; New York; San Francisco;  Washington D.C; 

Infrastructurist: America's Top 15 Metropolitan Regions for Transportation
In a recent issue of the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell made a convincing case that ranking systems — in particular the college rankings created by U.S. News, but really all rankings — are utterly meaningless.

The Journal of Commerce: Trains in the Storm
It was the first hearing under new chairman John Mica, R-Fla., and his rail subcommittee chief, Bill Shuster, R-Pa. Both criticized how the Department of Transportation has doled out huge amounts of stimulus money and "high-speed rail" grants for slow-speed Amtrak operations. They prefer a privatized bullet train service in Amtrak's Northeast Corridor linking Washington, New York and other big cities.

Streetsblog Capitol Hill: Puppies and Peanut Butter: Brookings on State Transpo Mistakes
As transportation advocates adapt their messaging to a new, more conservative Congress, the language of fiscal conservatism has become the mother tongue of the movement. Smart Growth America and the Bipartison Policy Center have recently used the fiscal responsibility argument to urge policymakers to invest more strategically, especially as infrastructure budgets shrink.

Grist: Do you live in one of the nation's 'smartest regions for transportation'?
You might not see much similarity between Yolo County, Calif., with its open farmland and small cities, and the densely packed streets of New York City. But both are on the Natural Resource Defense Council's list of "America's Smartest Regions for Transportation."

California High Speed Rail Blog: Is HSR Incompatible With American Politics?
Michael Byrne has a provocative argument about high speed rail: it’s incompatible with modern American politics. In a country without a unitary federal government and with short-lived administrations, Byrne argues, we may not be able to do anything big or significant.

DOT Blog: Streetcar revival means more mobility, more American jobs
But the TECO Line is just one part of a wave of streetcar projects sweeping across the nation, and last week the Community Streetcar Coalition held their 2011 Streetcar Summit to assess the promising achievements of the previous year and plan for the next 12 months. The CSC includes more than thirty local governments, transit authorities, engineering firms, and rail car manufacturers.  And they are all rightfully excited about the future of streetcars in America.

Business Report: Basic Infrastructure gets R663bn
Infrastructure projects in this category included power plant construction, transport network expansion and upgrades, and the provision of new sanitation and water infrastructure.

News Observer: GOP leaders: Spend $100 million more for road paving and maintenance
In their proposal today for LESS state spending -- more than $2 billion less than Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's proposed budget -- Republican legislative leaders mention one area that deserves MORE spending: highway maintenance and repaving.

Hudson Valley Press: Biden announces plans for high-speed rail
Vice President Joe Biden has announced a comprehensive plan that will help the nation reach President Obama’s goal of giving 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years, as outlined in his State of the Union address.

SYS-CON Media: More Than a Third of Americans Aware of High Speed Rail Projects in Their State
The Harris Poll conducted an online survey among 2,566 adults between January 17 and 24, 2011 to gauge awareness, intention to use and position on funding for high-speed rail. At the time of the survey, there were ten proposed high-speed rail corridors across the United States(a). To-date, projects in California and Florida have been the most visible.

State News

Streetsblog Los Angeles: Goodbye, 30/10. Hello, Fast Forward America.
Congressman John Mica (R-FL) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) brought their road show to Los Angeles earlier this morning to get feedback and elicit testimony on how to improve the federal transportation bill.  While Boxer was on her “home turf,” it was Mica who sounded like a local finding time to complain about traffic, needle Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa about transit connections to LAX and repeatedly honor Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) who was attending her last public event as a Member of Congress.

Los Angeles Times: Villaraigosa seeks innovative ways to finance mass transit
Promoting a signature initiative on his home turf, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged Congress on Wednesday to adopt innovative new ways to help finance mass transit projects nationwide.

Bakersfield Now: 1-on-1: Rep. McCarthy talks high-speed rail, other hot topics
Congressman Kevin McCarthy is proposing the widening of Highway 99 from four to six lanes between Sacramento and Bakersfield.

Orlando Business Journal: Maitland formalizes support for high-speed rail
The city of Maitland passed a resolution in support of the still-uncertain Orlando-to-Tampa high-speed rail project.

Transportation Nation: Florida High-Speed Rail: Talks Ongoing, Gov. Remains Unconvinced
With two days left to broker an agreement on high-speed rail in Florida, talks are ongoing — but Governor Rick Scott remains unconvinced.

My Web Times: High-speed rail study begins
The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration recently began a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement to study the impacts of potential additional improvements along the Chicago to St. Louis high-speed rail corridor.

Transportation Nation: Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel Seen As Pro-Bike, Pro-Transit
Chicago — America’s third largest city — is getting a cyclist Mayor.  And one who’s interested in transit funding,  large-scale bike-share, car-share, and the nitty gritty of bike lane design.     (And one who has some atoning to do for something he neglected to say – but you’ll have to read to the end of the post to find out what.)

Streetsblog Capitol Hill: Road Interests Crowd Reauthorization Panels in Indiana and Chicago
Road interests continued to dominate the discussion as members of Congress wound their way through Chicago and Indiana this weekend, gathering feedback for the six-year transportation reauthorization bill.

Streetsblog New York City: What Does the Future Hold for New York's Infrastructure?
Last night, the Museum of the City of New York hosted a panel discussion about the future of large-scale transportation projects in the region. Hosted by New York Times reporter Michael Grynbaum, the panel — the RPA’s Jeff Zupan, MTA Capital Construction’s Michael Horodniceanu, the General Contractors Association’s Denise Richardson, and the Pratt Center’s Joan Byron — engaged in a wide-ranging conversation, which covered everything from the demise of the ARC tunnel to the high cost of transit projects and the question of whether New York’s transit system is too focused on Manhattan and rail.

Streetsblog Capitol Hill: Highways Take Center Stage at Columbus Transpo Field Hearing
In a conversation that focused heavily on roads and highways, Ohio leaders implored the federal government to reduce restrictions so that the state can turn around meaningful projects quickly.

Streetsblog Capitol Hill: Let Them Drive Cars
It was no secret that he had some unusual ideas, his fanatical opposition to passenger rail being one of them. But who’d have thought that very same man, just a few months into his governorship, would be catapulted into the national spotlight as his state legislature devolved into chaos?

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