Infrastructure in the News: June 20, 2012
Chicago Tribune: Lawmakers fail to break US transport bill deadlock
U.S. congressional leaders failed on Tuesday to break a deadlock on a long-stalled transportation funding measure, and Republicans now may need to find a new legislative vehicle to carry their plan to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. With a June 30 deadline for new transportation funds looming, many lawmakers and aides now see it as inevitable that the controversial Canada-to-Texas pipeline provision be removed to make way for a short-term extension of current transportation law.
Transportation Nation: Leaders to Negotiators: Make One Last Push on Transportation Bill
Congressional leaders told negotiators involved in faltering transportation bill talks to bear down and make an agreement. That was the message transmitted by lawmakers emerging from a meeting at Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol offices on Tuesday afternoon. Chief GOP negotiator Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told lawmakers to “redouble our efforts” to try and reach an agreement by the end of this week.
Next American City: URBAN NATION: Cities Losing Out in Transportation Bill Debate
This is not the outcome transportation and smart growth advocates dreamed of when Democrats were in control of Congress. Back then, they harbored fantasies of addressing our massive infrastructure deficit with a larger investment and a shift in priorities toward projects that were evaluated on efficiency and environmental impact. But they would rather have the Senate bill than the alternatives. At least a two-year bill would give cities some breathing room to undertake projects. When the law is only extended for a three or six months at a time, it hamstrings local governments. Major road and rail projects take years, and cities cannot begin a project if federal funding might dry up in a matter of months.
Reuters: Why not enact an ‘intelligent’ national infrastructure plan?
As with all previous highway bills, proponents generally wrap their arguments in projections for new jobs, or rhetoric that links fresh infrastructure spending to unclogging the arteries of commerce. For the president, a highway bill fits his campaign theme of getting America back to work. In a recent speech in Cleveland, the president issued a call to “rebuild America” and to do “some nation-building here at home.” The main obstacle remains how to pay for new spending and investment.
New York Observer: Wasted Money, Wasted Time: U.S Lags Behind on Infrastructure
The U.S. slowed down to from fifth to 24th in a ranking of infrastructure quality on a global level, according to a report released by the Council of Foreign Relations. And quality is not the only thing slowing down. Time and fuel wasted in traffic congestion cost the country $101 billion—or $713 per commuter in 2010. The percentage of economic growth in 2011 would have been .2 percentage points higher had the necessary infrastructure maintenance and improvements been made, according to the report, which was the first first installment of the Renewing America Report and Scorecard series.
Sacramento Business Journal: Sacramento gets $15M boost for train station
The intermodal project at the Sacramento railyard is receiving a $15 million boost in federal funds. The money, which will be matched by local funds, will be used to help rehabilitate the historic Sacramento Valley train station. The money is from the U.S. Department of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, which helps projects that promote smart growth, economic development, job growth and transient oriented developments. It comes on the heels of a rail line relocation project scheduled to be finished this year.
San Francisco Chronicle: Don't miss high-speed train to future economy
A population's mobility is a key to promoting thriving businesses and job creation. California's transportation system was once the envy of the world, and we reaped the economic rewards of that system for decades. Today, that same system is hopelessly gridlocked. By 2035, California's population will hit 50 million, straining our current system even further. Development of high-speed rail is desperately needed to meet these demands.
Boston Globe: Mass. Senate OK’s $49m MBTA bailout
The state Senate agreed Tuesday to tap $49 million from a little-known state surplus to help the MBTA close its deficit for the coming year, avoiding steeper fare increases and wider service cuts than those scheduled for July 1. The plan, approved by a 26-9 vote after lengthy debate, largely falls in line with a measure approved by the House last week and appears destined to receive Governor Deval Patrick’s signature before a June 30deadline.
Detroit Free Press: Detroit light rail won't get U.S. funding - yet
As U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made clear Tuesday, he’s a fan of the proposed Woodward Avenue streetcar line and would love to help fund it, as long as state legislators, local officials and investors can convince him that millions of dollars in federal aid would be well spent on the project. That may be harder than it sounds, however, with LaHood’s letter to the investment group behind the $137-million, 3.3-mile line calling for “a credible plan” for covering operational costs — suggesting its 1,200-page initial proposal didn’t measure up.
81% of Americans are willing to pay more in taxes to rebuild American infrastructure.