Friday, January 13, 2012
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: January 13, 2012


DC Streetsblog: APTA: How to Talk to a Detractor of High-Speed Rail
But their primary intended audience was the American people, and, according to the American Public Transportation Association, there has been a “well-oiled campaign” (pun probably intended) to make sure their message was repeated, and loudly. Or, as Building America’s Future co-founder Ed Rendell said recently to an audience in Jacksonville, when it comes to infrastructure, “You can pay now, or you can pay later.”

Port Technology: US port infrastructure ranked behind Iceland and Estonia
The condition of port infrastructure in the United States was further realized this week with claims that its port development is falling behind countries including Iceland and Estonia. The subject was at the forefront of a recent policy forum attended by a coalition of elected officials from the Building America’s Future Educational Fund (BAF) and Jacksonville’s Chamber of Commerce, the JAX Chamber, to highlight the need for continued investment in the country’s port infrastructure.


The Hill: Rep. Shuster: Pipeline safety bill shows benefit of ‘putting infrastructure before politics’
A recently approved bill to improve the safety of pipelines that are used to transport natural gasoline shows what can happen when lawmakers “put infrastructure before politics,” the sponsor of the measure argued Thursday. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in the Washington Times that the passage of the pipeline bill was a “major accomplishment” that brought “Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen our economy and create jobs,” which Shuster wrote was a rare occurrence.

Progressive Railroading: Amtrak outlines infrastructure renewal, fleet and other priorities for 2012
Among the highlights: manufacturing the first electric locomotives and single-level cars under contracts with Siemens and CAF, respectively; advancing Northeast Corridor (NEC) planning efforts; upgrading NEC infrastructure; and rolling out electronic ticketing to all trains. Following another year of ridership gains in fiscal year 2011, Amtrak will proceed with investments “that yield a more efficient and reliable Amtrak” despite the uncertainty of future federal funding, said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman during a press conference held yesterday.

Bloomberg: Toll-Road Woes Show Risk of Loans Lawmakers Aim to Expand
Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are united in pushing an eightfold boost to a loan program designed to attract private highway funding, even as revenue gaps in existing projects may cause taxpayer losses. Of the six open highways backed by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, one reorganized in bankruptcy at an upfront cost to taxpayers of $79.5 million; a second probably needs its debt restructured; and the rating on a third is six notches below investment grade, according to Fitch Ratings reports and government records.

Streetsblog Network: Fracking to Take a Heavy Toll on Roads
Contaminated water and earthquakes have been found to follow the trail of injection sites — which are concentrated over a large natural gas deposit, known as the Marcellus Shale, in the inland regions of the Northeast, spreading as far west as Ohio. And if that wasn’t bad enough, add one more con to the list. According to a document leaked from the New York State Department of Transportation, fracking is going to be caustic for area roads.


Atlantic Cities: A Sculpture of Our Transportation Future
Metropolis II is the new installation opening this weekend at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Created by artist Chris Burden, the piece is a massive mini-city of towering buildings interwoven and surrounded at all heights by tiny street-like tracks that carry 1,100 toy cars quickly and noisily around, like blood cells in a network of veins.

Marietta Daily Journal: Lance Lamberton: Try market-based approach on transportation woes
If there is one thing everyone in the Atlanta region can agree on it is that traffic congestion is a serious problem. It is an impediment to economic growth, where prospective new employers and businesses consider the cost of doing business in Atlanta verses other cities where traffic congestion is less problematic. It also deters prospective new employees from coming to Atlanta, who understandably do not relish the thought of spending untold hours stuck in our infamous traffic jams.

Land Line Magazine: Georgia, Alabama governors offer transportation plans
Talk about transportation funding is underway at state capitols around the country. Two governors in neighboring Southern states have announced their plans to address infrastructure needs.In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal used his State of the State speech to call for improvements to the state’s transportation network that promote efficiency.

Associated Press: Democratic leaders highlight construction plans, while GOP criticize tax proposals
Maryland’s Democratic leaders outlined their proposals for boosting construction and jobs before a panel Thursday, while Republicans criticized tax proposals and slow-movement on allowing drilling in western Maryland’s Marcellus Shale.



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