Infrastructure in the News: July 17, 2012
Congressional Budget Office: Infrastructure Banks and Surface Transportation
An infrastructure bank, which would be federally funded and controlled, would select new, locally proposed construction projects for funding on the basis of a number of criteria, including their costs and benefits, and would provide financing for the projects through loans and loan guarantees. To repay the loans, projects financed through the infrastructure bank would have to include tolls, taxes, or other dedicated revenue streams. Financial assistance could be made to any consortium of partners with an eligible project.
The New Republic: What Would an Infrastructure Bank Really Do?
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released an important analysis on the potential efficacy, need, and impact of a national infrastructure bank (NIB.) While the idea remains stuck in political and policy limbo, the report is still highly relevant. Interest in the idea remains high, helping to inform the policy innovation happening in states like New York and cities like Chicago. The CBO report is, as usual, careful and thorough.
The Hill: Obama touts highway bill as sign of 'modest cooperation' from Congress
President Obama said Monday that lawmakers' recent approval of a $105 billion transportation spending bill was a sign of possible cooperation in the future between him and Republicans in Congress. The transportation bill, which was the first new road and transit spending deal approved since 2005, was signed by Obama earlier this month after months of contentious debate between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Washington Post: Washington to New York City in 60 minutes by train
A small privately owned Washington company is lobbying to develop a high-speed rail system that would take passengers from the District to Baltimore in 15 minutes and to New York in an hour. The Northeast Maglev, a downtown D.C. firm with 30 employees, is working with Central Japan Railway Co. — which operates the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan — to develop a maglev network that would connect Washington and New York, with stops in Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia, including BWI Airport, Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
Switchboard: Great infographic on benefits of public transportation
Last week the Sustainable Cities Collective (recommended) posted a terrific, poster-sized graphic highlighting the benefits of public transportation to individuals and to society. The very well-made display was created, somewhat improbably, by Boris at Credit Donkey, a website whose primary function seems to be to explicate the world of credit cards to consumers. The graphic is based on research by Kelly Teh. The link between an environmental cause and a site primarily devoted to credit cards is, I suppose, household expenses. Taking transit saves household expenses.
National Journal: High-Speed Rail in California
The rest of the country may be putting the brakes on high-speed rail projects, but the concept is alive and well in California. The state Senate recently passed a measure, with only Democratic votes, to put about $8 billion toward initial development of a bullet train to run between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The vote was hailed as a victory by Democrats, who said the project was an economic stimulus for the state.
Transportation for America: Atlanta transportation vote: “You pay it one way or another”
It took three tries in the Georgia legislature for metro Atlanta to win the right to vote itself a regional sales tax to fix its transportation woes, and another two years of a grinding political process to come up with a list of 157 highway and transit projects that just might do the trick. Now comes the really hard part: Convincing the voters likely to show up for the July 31 primary election to vote for it.
DC Streetsblog: Atlanta’s Big Moment
There’s a lot at stake for metro Atlanta on July 31. That day, voters will go to the polls to decide the fate of a proposed one percent sales tax that promises some $8 billion in transportation funding, to be split relatively evenly between transit and road projects over 10 counties. If it fails, experts warn, the only fundable transportation project going forward could be toll roads.
Great Falls Tribune (MT): Historic Two Medicine Bridge project nears completion
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20120715/NEWS01/207150301/Historic-Two-Medicine-Bridge-project-nears-completion?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1A mile east of here, the Two Medicine River has cut a deep canyon where it rushes forth from the majestic Rocky Mountains. For 71 years, a narrow two-lane bridge has spanned this chasm, directing traffic west to Marias Pass and the Flathead Valley beyond, or east toward the vast grasslands of North America. In just a few months, the old Two Medicine River Bridge will be only a memory. A new Two Medicine River Bridge is nearing completion just a few hundred feet downstream from the old bridge.
CBS-DFW (TX): Study: Texas’ Infrastructure Best In U.S.
According to a study by CNBC, Texas’ overall transportation infrastructure is ranked as the best in the country. The CNBC study measured each state’s transportation system by the value of goods shipped by air, land and water. The availibility of air travel and the quality of the roads in each state were also examined. “Texas is making the proper investment in infrastructure and being recognized as a national leader proves we are on the right track,” said Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director Phil Wilson in a press release.
45% of major urban highways are congested.