Infrastructure in the News: February 25, 2011
Infrastructurist argues that raising the gas tax would lower the economic vulnerability of the US and the Engineering News-Record reports that America's airports will require about $80 billion over the next five years to upgrade and expand. Find out more in this Infrastructure in the News.
Engineering News-Record: Airport Capital Needs Pegged at $80B Over Five Years
Airports will require an estimated $80.1 billion in capital projects over the next five years to upgrade and expand runways, terminals and other infrastructure, the Airports Council International-North America says in a new survey.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: The Economist: "Rock-Bottom" U.S. Gas Tax Makes Gas Cheaper Than Water
Gas prices are up to $3.23 a gallon this week, according to AAA. But before drivers complain about “pain at the pump,” they should compare U.S. gas prices to those in the rest of the developed world. A liter of gas costs about 80 cents. A liter of Fiji bottled water costs about $4.00.
Infrastructurist: Raising the Gas Tax Would Lower U.S. Economic Vulnerability
Few people listened when the deficit commission suggested raising the gas tax 15 cents by 2015. But if Congress is to authorize a transportation program anywhere near President Obama’s $556 billion budget request, the money will have to come from somewhere.
Transportation Nation: Florida Governor’s Decision Disappoints — and Enrages (More coverage in State News)
Earlier today the governor told a local Fox News affiliate: “I’m very thankful that the federal government cares about our infrastructure” and “I’m not convinced this project is a good project.” And bipartisan denunciations condemning his refusal to move forward with high-speed rail are rolling in.
Huffington Post: Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' Blasts US For Resisting High-Speed Rail (VIDEO)
During an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Nye claimed hyperbolically that "every other country in the world" had high-speed rail, before explaining his belief that it was a development the United States had failed to replicate due to the "political" problems surrounding the issue. "If I may, you should be embarrassed," Nye said. "We gotta get it together."
DOT Blog: It's simple: Rail means jobs
I’ve been pretty vocal about the economic benefits of moving forward on American high-speed rail. And yesterday was no different, when I was honored to speak at the Indiana Rail Summit. In addition to being the crossroads of America, Indiana is also the heartland of America’s emerging rail manufacturing industry. And these manufacturing jobs are proof that high-speed rail is already creating jobs and providing economic benefits.
NWI Times: LaHood: Rail means jobs
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made an impassioned pitch Thursday to 300 Northwest Indiana business leaders to become partners with the Obama administration when it comes to high-speed rail.
Americans for Energy Leadership: A New Approach to Passenger Rail
Florida’s rejection of $2.4 billion of federal rail money last week brings to light a new truth of federal projects: the federal government cannot simply act like a charitable foundation. Under such a foundation model, in which states choose whether or not to compete for grants and governors can pull out at a whim, we may end up with one high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco and another connecting New York City to Buffalo. It’s difficult, however, to see how this system will produce a national passenger rail system. Luckily, there are a score of other strategies to pursue.
The New York Observer: A Timid Budget Bodes Ill for Nation's Resources
Apart from its myriad spending reductions and freezes, the budget includes increasing funds for specific projects that are intended to increase employment while enhancing the productive capacity of the domestic infrastructure.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research: Build Roads, Save Money with Private Investors
President Barack Obama's proposal to invest $53 billion in high-speed rail reflects the administration's belief that U.S. transportation policy needs an overhaul. Few would disagree that our infrastructure needs significant investment. Roadways are deteriorating, highways are congested and funding is both scarce and politicized.
Open Market: Obama's Transportation Agenda Continues to Get Worse
Over at the National Journal’s Transportation Expert blog, Fawn Johnson asks whether or not the Obama administration’s transportation agenda, as laid out in its FY 2012 budget, makes sense. In his budget, Obama proposes replacing the Highway Trust Fund with a new Transportation Trust Fund, which would add a high-speed passenger rail account and an account for his proposed National Infrastructure Bank, in addition to the existing Highway and Mass Transit Accounts. This is bad on so many levels, but I’ll focus on two.
Tri-State Defender: President needs help to shore up infrastructure and create jobs
Over the last several years, bridges across the U.S. have collapsed, gas lines have exploded and streets have deteriorated to unsafe levels. The President proposes that we shore up our infrastructure and put Americans to work at the same time. How? By spending just over $50 billion to build a high-speed rail system and by investing slightly more than $330 billion in our nation’s highways. Obama’s advisors estimate the plan would create more than five million construction jobs and 10 million additional jobs in related industries.
California High Speed Rail Blog: Californians Still Strongly Support High Speed Rail
In California, a whopping 70% of respondents support state and federal funding for high speed rail, with 21% opposed.
LA Times: Union Station sold: L.A. County transit authority buys Union Station for $75 million
Los Angeles County transportation officials approved an agreement Thursday to buy historic Union Station in downtown L.A. for $75 million — a purchase that will clear the way for the expansion of transit operations and new development on the property.
LA Times: Congressional transit leaders meet with Villaraigosa in Westwood
In a rare joint House-Senate hearing, the L.A. mayor pushes for innovation in financing mass transit projects, including his own 30/10 plan. Lawmakers from both parties appear receptive to his ideas.
The Business Journal: Rail workshop covers business opportunities
More than a dozen business representatives showed up at the Fresno Chamber of Commerce today to learn how they can do their part to make California's proposed high-speed rail system a reality.
NPR: A Call To Slow Down California's High-Speed Rail
Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin have turned down billions of federal dollars for high-speed rail. But California is moving forward with its high-speed rail project and welcomes the federal money the other states left behind.
Santa Maria Times: Fast train, big drain, slow pain
The problem for Scott is that many Floridians are clamoring for the rail link between Tampa and Orlando. The governor, a staunchly conservative Republican who campaigned on a smaller-government platform, believes there are too many strings attached to the federal funds, and in the event high-speed rail doesn’t prove to be an irresistible attraction for commuters, Florida taxpayers will be stuck with a huge debt, plus the cost of operations.
The Connecticut Mirror: Has the time come for the 'infrastructure bank'?
At first blush, it would seem the stars have finally aligned for a long-stalled bill creating a national "Infrastructure Bank," a proposal pushed for years by top Connecticut lawmakers.
Transportation Nation: Florida High Speed Rail, Like ARC Tunnel, Dead Again
Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott is sticking to his decision to kill the Tampa to Orlando high speed rail.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: Trainwreck: Rick Scott Keeps On Killing Florida HSR
Somehow, every time a governor makes a really bad decision that denies appropriate transportation options to his constituents, he gets chance after chance to take it back. And somehow, they never do.
St. Petersburg Times: Gov. Rick Scott is done with high-speed rail; advocates explore court challenge
An intense last-ditch effort to save high-speed rail in Florida collapsed Thursday with Gov. Rick Scott rejecting the plan, and then angry lawmakers accused him of overstepping authority and threatened legal action.
Orlando Sentinel: Scott's rail decision based on bogus report
As the leading organization advancing high-speed rail in America, the US High Speed Rail Association must respond to Governor Rick Scott's unfortunate decision to cancel the Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail project. We have strongly advocated for this worthy project that would generate local jobs, boost economic development and provide a much needed transportation alternative for residents of Central Florida.
Chicago Tribune: LaHood talks up high-speed links in NW Ind. stop
LaHood spoke Thursday at a luncheon of rail interests in the northwest Indiana city of Chesterton. He says high-speed rail could help bring public transit to areas that do not have access to airports or other means of public transportation.
Inside Indiana's Business: Transportation Secretary Talking Rail in Northern Indiana
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will keynote “The Rail Summit” luncheon Thursday, February 24 at Sand Creek Country Club (1001 Sand Creek Drive South, Chesterton) to address the critical role of freight, commuter, passenger, and higher-speed rail transportation in the current and future Northern Indiana economy. LaHood will be joined by Congressman Peter J. Visclosky and Dr. Dane Miller, Founder of Biomet, Inc.
Tri-County Times: Potholes cost each Michigan motorist $370 a year
A new online system will make it easy for the public to report and avoid potholes during the dreaded pothole season, which began with warmer temperatures this weekend.
Webster-Kirkwood Times: Lots of Hurdles For High Speed Rail In Missouri
Amtrak passenger service turned a corner in 2010 with on-time records and ridership increases. Is Amtrak's passenger service through Kirkwood set to turn another corner soon with an upgrade to high-speed rail?
Grist: High-speed train to Las Vegas probably a better use of your money than Las Vegas
DesertXpress, a planned high-speed rail project between the L.A. area and Las Vegas, was supposed to be built entirely with private funding. As it turns out, developers will have to take out a federal loan, and there's some question as to whether the project can make enough money to pay it back.
New York Times: Trade Center Transit Hub's Cost Now Over $3.4 Billion
The birdlike glass-and-steel transit center, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Caltrava and intended as a connection point for PATH and subway trains, is now expected to cost $3.44 billion, allowing for the steeply increased cost of the steel framework, Port Authority officials said.
KFOR: Okla. governor, transportation officials urge US House committee to ease federal restrictions
Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma transportation officials are asking congressional leaders to help reduce federal regulations that they say often slows road projects in the state.
Alva Review/Courier: Okla. governor criticizes federal road needs
Oklahoma could dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of road and bridge projects across the state if not for cumbersome federal regulations like those that require environmental impact statements, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin and her transportation secretary told a panel of federal lawmakers Thursday.
The Washington Examiner: W.Va. lawmakers US 35 funding option
A plan to fund upgrades to a western West Virginia roadway has passed muster with the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old questions from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.”