Infrastructure in the News: July 9, 2012
The Hill: Obama signs highway bill
President Obama signed a $105 billion transportation bill on Friday, bringing to an end a three-year fight over road and transit spending. The bill signing capped a day that began with an unemployment report showing the U.S. economy had added only 80,000 jobs in June, leaving the national unemployment rate unchanged at 8.2 percent.
The Hill: Rep. Mica touts transportation bill on Florida highway
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) touted the recently approved $105 billion transportation bill on the side of a major highway in his district. Perhaps taking a cue from his counterpart in the Senate, Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Mica held a press conference to highlight the passage of the transportation bill at a rest stop on Interstate 4, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.
The Hill: Transportation sector loses 2,000 jobs in June
The transportation industry lost about 2,000 jobs in the month of June as lawmakers labored to approve a $105 billion highway bill last month. Statistics released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed the U.S. economy added only 80,000 jobs in June, but employment in the transportation sector declined slightly from 4.373 million in May to 4,371,100 last month.
New Jersey Star-Ledger: It's over Grover, Part Whatever: Even the pols are tired of Norquist's nonsense
If the gas tax is so bad, why not just eliminate it? Quite obviously, because there would then be no way to pay for roads. Tolls? Don't make me laugh. The per-mile cost of toll roads is more than 10 times as much as roads maintained with the gas tax. But as I noted previously, Norquist is in bed with the toll-road industry and is actively pushing for huge increases in that road tax called a toll. Obviously if you want to have roads, you need to have a means of supporting them. And the gas tax is most efficient way.
Journal Sentinel: Transit is a tool that needs sustainable funding source
But according to another report released this spring, Americans are driving less than at any time since World War II, and young people in particular are looking for alternative modes of transportation. Communities with sustainable and quality transit service can take advantage of that trend and use transit as an economic development tool that can attract young workers as well as get people to jobs.
Smart Planet: 100 inspiring urban infrastructure projects
In the United States it’s easy to get down on the current state of infrastructure projects. But around the world — and in the U.S. — there are plenty of inspiring infrastructure projects. Even during tight financial times, cities are coming up with innovative financing mechanisms like public-priviate partnerships to make these projects a reality more quickly. KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services, released a new report, “Infrastructure 100: World Cities Edition” showcasing some of the greatest urban infrastructure projects from around the world.
Politico: California gives OK to high-speed rail
The California state Senate passed a budget measure Friday afternoon that sealed the deal: High-speed rail is coming to the Golden State. The bill passed with only Democratic support in the upper chamber, 21-16, and authorizes the state to provide $2.7 billion in funds that the Department of Transportation will match with $3.3 billion, a total of $6 billion that will go to funding the initial, 130-mile high-speed segment in the Central Valley region.
Orlando Sentinel: State seeks investors to help foot bill to build I-4 toll lanes
Section 1512 of the recently passed federal transportation bill is filled with technical jargon, but one part is perfectly clear: The law ends a 7-year-old ban on adding tolls to Interstate 4. Now the Florida Department of Transportation wants to entice companies to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to build so-called "Lexus lanes" down the middle of I-4, Orlando's main transit artery.
Huffington Post: Chicago Infrastructure Trust A Model As More Mega-Projects Turn To Private Investors
For cities and states buried under mountains of debt, it has become a tantalizing proposition: invite private financial institutions to put up the money to fix aging schools, dilapidated rail lines and beat-up roads. Offer investors steady returns on the projects. And give the public the modern services its governments can no longer afford.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Amtrak's high-speed Northeast Corridor plan at $151 billion
Amtrak's updated plan for high-speed train travel on the East Coast envisions 37-minute trips between Philadelphia and New York, after a $151 billion redevelopment of the entire Northeast Corridor. Faster service would be phased in gradually, as Amtrak improves existing tracks, signals, bridges, and power lines and then builds a separate high-speed corridor between Washington and Boston to accommodate trains traveling at 220 m.p.h.
“Our common infrastructure is a horizontal thing that so much of our economy rests on. It’s clear now that…our success relies on a robust international digital infrastructure, both wired and wireless.”