Thursday, January 26, 2012
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: January 26, 2012



Port Strategy: Tampa bucks trend for US ports

Andrew Fobes, from Tampa Port Authority, said to Port Strategy: “We have been able to retain our solvency and continue to develop the port in spite of the economic factors. Moreover, it is becoming more difficult on the whole to maintain this type of status with ratings agencies.” This result is even more impressive when it's considered that US ports are currently suffering a crisis in port development - as expressed by the maritime coalition, Building America's Future Education Fund.




Washington Post: Long-term transportation funding likely to be delayed

With Congress riven by partisan politics and facing a truncated election-year schedule, the chances are slim that it will pass a long-awaited bill to fund the nation’s highways, mass transit and ports, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday. LaHood’s gloomy forecast came two days before House Republicans are expected to begin circulating their five-year transportation blueprint, a $260 billion bill that may be introduced as early as next week.


The Hill: House to introduce five-year, $260 billion highway bill

The new federal highway bill that will be taken up by the House of Representatives next week will be a five-year, $260 billion proposal, a House Transportation Committee aide said Thursday. The vote on the measure, which funds the Federal Highway Administration and authorizes the collection of the federal gas tax, among other things, will take place a week from Thursday, according to the aide.


Transportation Nation: LaHood: Politics Means No Surface Transportation Bill This Year

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn’t think there’s much chance Congress will pass a surface transportation spending bill this year. The bill is on its way to being three years late — it was supposed to be reauthorized in September, 2009. “Given the politics, the number of days that remain, the differences between what the Senate and House are looking at — I think its very unlikely we will have a surface transportation bill during this year of Congress,” LaHood told a gathering of transportation professionals at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting.


The Hill: Chamber of Commerce mobilizes behind highway bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign Wednesday to push for passage of a new long-term highway bill. The Chamber will spend roughly a half a million dollars on Web, print, radio and television ads calling for passage of the legislation that will run in Washington and at least nine states. The “Make Transportation Job #1” campaign will also include grassroots action by the Chamber and other groups.


Streetsblog Network: SOTU: Is Obama Retreating on Infrastructure?

Being an election year, last night’s State of the Union Address carried an extra bit of gravity, at least according to the favored media storyline. Transportation observers watched this speech with interest, because in past years Obama has made infrastructure spending a centerpiece. This year however, those straining their ears for word of some dynamic new program or spending package were disappointed.


Transportation Nation: LaHood: Still Our Goal To Connect 80 Percent of Americans to High Speed Rail by 2036

The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, still wants to connect 80 percent of Americans to high speed rail by 2036.  That’s the goal that President Barack Obama laid out in last year’s state of the union.  But since then, the governors of Florida and Ohio followed Wisconsin’s governor in halting their states’ projects, and congress made no new allocations of high speed rail funds going forward. The President made no reference to high speed rail in his 2012 State of the Union address Tuesday night.


International Business Times: High Speed Rail: 5 Things to Know About Proposals To Install it in the U.S.

President Barack Obama is on record as proposing a high-speed rail system that will, within 25 years, serve 80 percent of Americans. And Washington's 2012 budget shows the the president is putting his money -- or at least taxpayer money -- where his mouth is. Obama called his initiative, which he proposed in April 2009, the nation's largest investment in infrastructure project since the Interstate Highway System, and he initially provided $10.1 billion in Recovery Act funds towards the goal.


CoDesign: Infographic Of The Day: Could Twitter Help Us Create Smarter Transit Routes?

Traditional city maps visualize just one aspect of urban design--the city’s intended structure, full stop. But add in a layer that visualizes how people actually use the city, and then the map becomes much more interesting. Eric Fischer did exactly that when he used Twitter’s API to collect tens of thousands of geotagged tweets and map them onto the streets of New York, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay area.




Sioux Journal Online: State identifies $50M in possible transportation savings

Iowa's transportation chief has provided Gov. Terry Branstad with a list of $50 million in proposed savings and efficiencies the state Department of Transportation wants to implement. The move would free up dollars to fund highway and bridge upgrades and push the possible need for a state gas tax increase into future years. The recommendations in a 15-page report DOT Director Paul Trombino III issued Tuesday include $33 million in annual savings and $17 million in one-time savings by taking various steps.

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