Infrastructure in the News: July 24, 2012
Fast Lane: $787 million in transit grants to add jobs, increase safety and reliability
Today, we’re excited to announce a significant round of funding from the Federal Transit Administration that will achieve both of those important goals. Through the FTA’s State of Good Repair and Bus Livability programs, we’re providing a total of $787 million dollars to support 255 different projects in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For the third year in a row, FTA is providing funds to help transit agencies around the country build, repair, and modernize their transit systems.
The Hill: Road builders want transportation plank in party platforms
The Washington-based American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is calling on the Democratic and Republican parties to include language about transportation construction in their platforms when they convene in Charlotte and Tampa for their conventions. In letters to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schutlz (D-Fla.), ARTBA President Peter Ruane said it made sense for both parties to support transportation in their respective platforms.
National Journal: The Long Haul To a Road User Fee
With some two years to play with until the highway trust fund runs completely dry, policymakers have a chance--but not too much of one--to act on what Blumenauer sees as a fundamental truth: "Transportation reform is what we have to do." That means the gas tax is going to have to go away and be replaced with a "road user fee"--a more sophisticated way of charging people to drive on the roads based on mileage rather than gas usage.
GAO: Financing Program Could Benefit from Increased Performance Focus and Better Communication
Projects that received credit assistance through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, administered by the Department of Transportation (DOT), tend to be large, high-cost highway projects. As of April 2012, DOT has executed 27 TIFIA credit agreements for 26 projects with project sponsors such as state DOTs and transit agencies. Overall, DOT has provided nearly $9.1 billion in credit assistance through 26 loans and one loan guarantee.
DC Streetsblog: The Projections Fallacy
We spend billions every year in this country on our transportation network, large percentages of it based on traffic projections. This despite the fact that we have a long record of not being able to accurately project traffic. The answer isn’t better projections but a better transportation system, one that is robust to modeling error.
All Alabama: Transportation bill eliminates designated source of funding for Northern Beltline, but keeps it on track
The federal transportation bill enacted earlier this month eliminates the separate, designated source of funding that was to be used to build a 52-mile interstate beltline north of Birmingham. But at the same time, it includes incentives and directives aimed at keeping the project on track. Opponents of the $4.7 billion Northern Beltline say the change takes away one of the proponents' main arguments -- that money designated for the project can't be spent on other more pressing transportation needs. Now beltline spending will compete with transportation priorities statewide.
Michigan Radio: Detroit area leaders hail federal transit grant as "model for joint cooperation"
Bus riders in and around Detroit will enjoy some updated buses, thanks to a federal grant. Leaders officially announced a $30 million grant for regional transit systems Monday. It was the third-largest amount dispensed to any metro area nationally from the US Transportation Department’s State of Good Repair grant fund. Detroit has two major bus systems. One is the city’s own system, run by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT). The, other larger one, is run by the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART).
Connect Tristates: Mo. highway projects: Where is the money going to come from?
The State of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Transportation are looking to the future of having no new money for highway construction projects. So now a blue ribbon committee is hearing from residents across the state on ways the state could fund new construction. That committee made a stop in Hannibal and heard from about 30 local leaders.
“It's been proven time after time: investments in our national infrastructure create jobs and opportunities. Americans can and must build great things – not just in spite of enormous economic challenges but also as the means of overcoming them.”