Infrastructure in the News: June 19, 2012
Associated Press: Lawmakers try to save transportation bill, their best bet for passing a jobs bill
House and Senate leaders are making a last-ditch effort to revive stalled legislation to overhaul federal transportation programs — Congress’ best bet for passage of a major jobs bill this year — but prospects for passage before the November election are dimming. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as well as two key committee chairmen, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., are scheduled to meet Tuesday to try to reach an agreement on how to handle a collection of sensitive policy and financing matters still in dispute.
National Journal: Streamlining is Major Sticking Point
The writing is pretty much on the wall. Lawmakers may say they're holding out for a conference transportation bill, but, let's face it, June 30th is fast approaching with no sign of a coming compromise.
Senate Democrats are calling on House Republicans to pass a bill; House Republicans accuse Senate Democrats of being unwilling to negotiate. No one's suggesting a bill is imminent. One of the key hurdles to compromise, House Republicans say, is finding common ground on their environmental streamlining measures.
Transportation Issues Daily: Script, Audio of Radio Ads Urging Passage of Transportation Bill
Representatives James Lankford (R-OK) and Steve Southerland (R-FL) were targeted “because this is the first time they have been involved in negotiating a transportation bill.” Dave Camp (R-MI), and Pat Tiberi (R-OH) were targeted because they serve on finance and tax committees and are in a position to help ensure the federal transportation program has adequate funding.”
Evansville Courier Press: EDITORIAL: Transportation bill will stay stalled in current Congress
The Surface Transportation Act, called the highway bill for short, is the basic measure funding the nation's roads, bridges and mass transportation systems. A bill may last for four to six years, allowing for planning by state transportation officials. The last bill expired in 2009. Congress has temporarily extended it nine times since, most recently in March. That extension expires June 30. So much for long-term planning. With May's jobs report showing a loss of 28,000 construction jobs, you would think renewing the act would be a priority. Clearly, you are not a member of Congress, specifically not a Republican backbencher whose role seems to be to make GOP House Speaker John Boehner's life miserable.
Patriot Ledger: COMMENTARY: Congress must not ignore key route to recovery
Our economist friends estimate that every billion dollars invested in transportation infrastructure yields 25,000 jobs. Early this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 69,000 new non-farm jobs were created in May, about one-third the average monthly gain for the first three months of the year. Mainstream economists were expecting something on the order of 150,000 new jobs.
Florida Times-Union: Transportation secretary: Tolls are road to Florida's future
Ananth Prasad knows Jacksonville well from his time working as an engineer in the Florida Department of Transportation's Lake City office. So Prasad, now the state's secretary of transportation, expected mixed feelings when the state announced last week it would widen three sections of Interstate 295 and turn those new lanes into tolled express lanes.
Boston Globe: Public transit ills called a health issue
Massachusetts has made modest improvements in services to keep residents healthy, such as providing better bikeways and walking paths, but serious financial problems with its mass transit system could undermine those gains, warns a report by a coalition of health and community advocates. The report, to be released Tuesday, finds small gains in seven of 14 key health factors in Massachusetts over the past year, no change in six others, and a decline in one critical area: public transportation.
Greater Greater Washington: McDonnell admin. drops another transit funding bombshell
The McDonnell administration has suddenly decided to revamp the way it handles transportation funding, sending Northern Virginia cities and counties into a last-minute and potentially expensive scramble. The reason appears to be politics and a desire to wrest power from Northern Virginia, which is politically not aligned with the governor.
Repairing existing roads and bridges creates 9% more jobs per dollar than building from scratch.