Infrastructure in the News: July 2, 2012
New York Times: Editorial: At Last, a Transportation Bill
Thanks to the stubbornness of the Senate’s political odd couple — the liberal Barbara Boxer of California and the conservative James Inhofe of Oklahoma — Congress approved on Friday afternoon<x-apple-data-detectors://1> a serviceable transportation bill. And in the nick of time, too. The current program was due to expire Saturday night<x-apple-data-detectors://2>, potentially disrupting highway and mass transit projects at the height of the construction season and jeopardizing 2.9 million jobs.
National Journal: Transportation Bill: An Early Christmas Present or a Lump of Coal?
The 599-page bill reduces the number of highway programs by two thirds. The controversial coal ash and Keystone XL provisions House Republicans pushed for were dropped, but the streamlining provisions they wanted made it in, including exempting from environmental review certain emergency infrastructure replacements and programs that receive less than $5 million in federal funds. The cuts aren't as deep as many conservatives wanted and the concessions went too far for some Democrats.
The Hill: Lawmakers in House and Senate exhale after heavy lift on transportation bill
Lawmakers and transportation advocates breathed a sigh of relief on Friday after passage of the first multi-year transportation bill in seven years. The House and Senate on Friday both approved a bill to spend $105 billion on road and transit projects over the next two years. The passage of the measure averted a 10th extension of a highway bill that was initially supposed to expire in 2009.
Transportation Issues Daily: Cheat Sheet for MAP-21, New Federal Transportation Bill
This is based on an initial skim of the bill (which is expected to pass Friday or Saturday) and information gathered from others. We’ll have more details on most of these aspects in the coming weeks. Part Two coming later today.
Forbes: Spending Cuts Threaten U.S. Water Infrastructure
A House subcommittee on Thursday approved a 53% cut to the federal program that makes low-cost loans to cities to build infrastructure to prevent water pollution. Next it will go to the full House for a vote. Nationwide, 250,000 water lines burst a year, or about one every two minutes, flooding and closing streets, interrupting water service, and requiring residents to boil water for safety, wrote New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg in a special series on water issues.
Streetsblog Network: Which States Do the Most (and the Least) to Support Biking and Walking?
The transportation bill is upon us — and with it came some bad news for people who want to make streets safer for biking and walking. Not only does the bill reduce the overall amount of dedicated funding for programs like Safe Routes to School, it allows states to transfer some of these funds to other uses. Which makes advocating for safer streets at the state level all the more important. Today, Matt Wempe of the League of American Bicyclists brings us a look at how states put their funding for biking and walking to use.
San Francisco Chronicle: California bullet train up for contentious vote
Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious plan to start building the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line is set for a pivotal vote by the Legislature this week with some state lawmakers still skeptical about spending billions in the Central Valley. The Democratic governor is pushing lawmakers to authorize $2.7 billion in voter-approved state bonds for construction on the first 130-mile stretch of high-speed rail from Madera to Bakersfield. Brown has made the massive infrastructure project one of his priorities for the year and says the state has to act fast in order to capture billions of dollars in additional federal support.
Government Computer News: Georgia project uses 'roadbots' for highway repair
Once the kinks are straightened out, the Georgia Department of Transportation may soon use robotic technology to automatically detect and seal highway cracks, improving worker safety and saving the state time and money. The Georgia Tech Research Institute, which developed the prototype in conjunction with the agency, recently released a case study on the project, which began in 2003.
Tulsa World: Oklahoma tribes' funding helps road projects across state
Oklahoma tribes, 44 in total, received almost $67 million in 2011 through a multi-agency federal agreement that administers road funding to all tribes in the U.S., according to U.S. Department of Transportation reports. The Osage Nation, located in Osage County, receives about $4.7 million each year in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and rebuilds several miles of roadway each year in the tribal nation, said R.J. Walker, director of the Osage Nation roads department.
The port of Shanghai has as much container capacity as all US ports combined.