Infrastructure in the News: March 02, 2011
The Associated Press discusses state governments that are considering private sector partnerships to help them meet transportation needs, and the Journal of Commerce discusses freight rail. Read more in this Infrastructure in the News.
Associated Press: Governments consider controversial building deals
Public-private partnerships are being considered for dozens of new projects: a new bridge in Detroit, an approach to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, a road to the Jackson, Miss., airport, a traffic loop around Baton Rouge, La., and railroad projects in Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. The governors of Virginia and Connecticut have both pointed to such partnerships as a way to meet their states' transportation needs.
Washington Examiner: Obama busts the budget for Amtrak and 'livability'
That pretense, however, apparently doesn't extend to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, whose department is seeking an 84 percent increase in spending over 2010 levels. Jumping from $58 billion to $107 billion, transportation spending would grow more than 10 times faster than would all federal spending over the period.
Associated Press: Manufacturing growing at fastest pace in 7 years
The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to 61.4 in February, up from 60.8 the previous month. That's the highest reading since it reached the same level in May 2004. The ISM's index bottomed out at 33.3 in December 2008, its lowest point in nearly 30 years.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: Mica on the Next Transportation Bill: Size Matters
What I hope to do is have four measures of value. One would be what’s in the trust fund and stabilizing that. The second would be any money that we can find that hasn’t been used in any previous authorizations or appropriations and move that. The third would be looking at programs where we could leverage funds, like public private partnerships, bonding – and the fourth area that I would like to count would be speeding up the process.
New York Times: Dowd: Have You Driven A Smartphone Lately?
They are on the cusp of a system featuring the futuristic avatar Eva, the vaguely creepy face and voice of a woman on your dashboard who can read you your e-mail, update your schedule, recite articles from newspapers, guide you to the restaurant where you’re having lunch and recommend a selection from your iPod. Ford’s working on a Web browser, which would be locked while driving.
Transportation Nation: Spending Detente Results in Transportation Cuts
Republicans and Democrats locked in a spending fight on Capitol Hill appear to have averted the specter of a government shutdown, for now. But the deal that sidestepped the showdown dealt some blows to transportation funding.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: GAO: Trucking the Least Efficient Mode of Freight Shipping
Freight transportation, which accounts for nearly a quarter of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, doesn’t get as much attention as passenger transportation because most people don’t feel it affects them as much. But more than 15 million trucks deliver 70 percent of the goods this country consumes – and the GAO says that’s a mistake.
The Journal of Commerce: Loving the Freight Rails
It should be clear by now that the Obama administration and those planning its transportation policies have a thing for railroads -- both passenger and freight. They say federal spending on rail gets a big bang for the buck, shifting people and cargoes off highways where possible, to ease congestion and the crunch of road surfaces that chews up so much federal and state funding.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Make Northeast Corridor the high-speed poster child
President Barack Obama's plan to spend $53 billion over six years to identify and develop routes for what he calls high-speed rail projects has many people inside the Beltway all riled up.
FavStocks: AASHTO Letter Urges Congress to Pass H.R. 662, Extending SAFETEA-LU
John Horsley, AASHTO executive director, today sent a letter to all members of Congress, requesting the passage of H.R. 662, “The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011″. The full text of the letter is below.
The American Enterprise: Planes (High-Speed Rail) Trains, and Automobiles
One of the themes in President Obama’s State of the Union speech was the need to update U.S. infrastructure to fulfill the promise of the American Dream. “We need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information—from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.” A new Rockefeller Foundation survey from the bipartisan polling team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research suggests the public places a higher priority on other transportation needs than on a high-speed rail system.
IMT Industry Market Trends: Will High-Speed Rail Reinvent U.S. Transport?
Disagreements over costs are creating resistance to high-speed rail's progress in the U.S., but supporters highlight energy efficiency, travel ease and job production as reasons to back such proposed projects.
ABC7 News: Caltrans continues work on Bay Bridge suspension tower
The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is soaring to new heights this week. Crews are working to install the fourth stage of the new tower, making it significantly taller than the old one.
Contra Cost Times: Solano County Supervisors: State needs to 'fix' funding for 'at risk' roads
Solano County's roadways are "at risk" and the state needs to take action to "fix" transportation funding for local agencies in order to repair the problem, the Solano County Board of Supervisors said Tuesday.
Los Angeles Times: L.A. City Council approves bicycle master plan
The bicycle master plan calls for an eventual network of 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways, including more than 200 miles of new bicycle routes every five years. It also calls for a safety campaign to educate drivers about sharing the streets.
New York Times: On Metro-North's New Haven Line, New Cars Arrive
Much has changed in the 40 years since Corydon B. Dunham began commuting to his home in Riverside, Conn., from New York City. Most of the trains he rides on, however, have not.
Mobilizing the Region: Fast start for Malloy on Transit, Smart Growth
CT Governor Dan Malloy went to bat for transportation during his administration’s first Bond Commission meeting on Friday, releasing over $250 million for transportation-related projects, with approximately $203 million of that going to transit and transit-oriented development initiatives.
Palm Beach Post: Two senators sue Scott over high-speed rail
Sens. Thad Altman, a Melbourne Republican, and Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat, have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott over his rejection of $2.4 billion from the federal government for a high-speed rail project. Also showed up in Tampa Bay Online.
The Hill: Sen. Nelson urges DoT to delay decision on Florida rail funding
A lawsuit to compel Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to accept $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail money should be allowed to run its course before a decision is made on giving the cash to other states, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday.
Trib Local: IDOT collects input about expansion of high-speed rail
The Illinois Department of Transportation received $1.1 billion in federal funds to complete a high-speed rail route between Alton and Dwight, two stops on the Amtrak line between Chicago and St. Louis. Now, state officials are in the early stages of trying to complete their original plan – to build a route between the two major cities where trains would travel 110 mph.
The Transport Politic: Stick in the Land of Missed Opportunity
Getting stuck in an airport hotel, on the other hand, is less exciting, especially when it is off-site. Take the fate of those staying in the accommodations of Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago just adjacent to O’Hare Airport. I bunked there a few nights ago.
Fosters: Senators urge feds to deliver on $20m bridge grant
U.S. senators from the Granite State and Maine are urging the federal Department of Transportation to come through on a $20 million grant to replace the aging Memorial Bridge.
Citybizlist Baltimore: Transportation Funding Bills Get Attention in Annapolis, Face Hurtles
Both the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate of Maryland have scheduled hearings on legislation that would create a "firewall" to protect the state's Transportation Trust Fund from being raided by lawmakers seeking to plug budget holes or for other non-transportation purposes. The legislation would also increase the gasoline tax rate and other fees that go into the transportation fund.
Minnesota Public Radio: Bachmann introduces new St. Croix bridge plan that would bypass federal environmental restrictions
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., re-introduced a proposal Tuesday for a new St. Croix River bridge near Stillwater. The bill would effectively bypass federal wild and scenic river restrictions, which the National Park Service cited last year in denying permission for a new river crossing.
NBC17: Raleigh Business Concerned About High-Speed Rail Impact
NCDOT officials are planning for high-speed rail that will connect Raleigh to Richmond, and part of that process includes looking at rail crossings. For safety reasons, high-speed rail requires trains and vehicles to be separated at crossings, meaning an underpass or overpass will be required, or the crossing would close. Officials plan on keeping open the major intersection and rail crossing at Blue Ridge and Hillsborough Streets.
The Columbia Examiner: Could commuter rail be coming to South Carolina
On Tuesday, the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) and city of Columbia, S.C., officials will meet with North Carolina Department of Transportation/Rail Division and Amtrak representatives in Raleigh, N.C., to discuss a proposed commuter-rail line between Columbia and Charlotte, N.C.
Gov Monitor: Governor's Transportation Plan Could Expand Virginia Economy by $13.1 Billion
Chmura’s research calculated the impact of the proposed 900 projects to the economy of the Commonwealth, including construction spending, ripple effects and job creation.
Washington Examiner: Report: McDonnell roads plan would expand Va. economy by $13 billion
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's $4 billion transportation plan would pump about $13 billion into the state's economy and create more than 100,000 jobs over the next six years, according to a report prepared for the state's Department of Transportation.
Seattle Times Newspaper: Seattle City Council Overrides McGinn's tunnel veto
Exactly 10 years to the day after the Nisqually earthquake exposed the vulnerability of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 Monday to override Mayor Mike McGinn's veto and go forward with agreements for a replacement tunnel.
Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Leaky pipes will be upgraded
The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's commission on Monday agreed to launch a 10-year, $156 million program aimed at reducing the volume of storm water entering municipal sanitary sewers from residential sanitary sewer laterals.
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