Infrastructure in the News: March 25, 2011
The New York Times reported that many bridges need work making the six-year transportation bill vital because about half of the states' transit money comes from Washington and the Huffington Post reports that American busineess needs to get into the game. More in this Infrastructure in the News.
New York Times: Bridges Need Work, but That Crucial Allure Is Missing
The nonprofits’ attempt to muster more general civic concern is tied to Congressional deliberations on a six-year transportation bill. The measure is important because about half of the states’ transit money comes from Washington. In the 2010 fiscal year, Illinois awarded $3.5 billion to transportation projects, with $611 million going to maintain 138 bridges, according to the Metropolitan Planning Council.
Reuters: House sees far smaller bill than Obama
Congressional Republicans looking to hold down federal spending are considering a transportation budget blueprint that would, at a minimum, be less than half the size of the plan advanced by the White House.
Huffington Post: American Business Needs to Get in the Game
We may not always win on the soccer field, but when it comes to providing the engineering services, machinery, security systems and IT support required to build and run the stadium, or the buses and transportation systems needed to get fans into their seats, American business is second to none.
The Hill: CBO: Taxing mileage a 'practical option' for revenue enhancement
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released a report that said taxing people based on how many miles they drive is a possible option for raising new revenues and that these taxes could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.
The Hill: Water shipping industry wants more money for dredging
The Army Corps of Engineers should be allocating more money to pay for dredging projects on heartland rivers, the Waterways Council said in a wide-ranging interview with The Hill on Thursday.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill: The Secrets to Success for Transit-Oriented Development
“Transit alone is insufficient to make a real estate market,” said Dena Belzer, the president of Strategic Economics, an urban design consulting firm. Her group is a partner in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), which this week released a new report on the effects of transit expansion on real estate markets.
Miller-McCune: Infrastructure Bank Would Loan Based on National Goals
Ideas for a national infrastructure bank have popped up periodically over the last 20 years, most recently in a proposal unveiled last week by U.S. Sens. John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who want to create a self-sustaining American Infrastructure Finance Authority that would provide loans and loan guarantees to projects based on merit.
AltTransport: Oregon, Washington, And Texas Consider Taxing Electric Cars To Compensate For Lost Gas Taxes
While the gas tax is very low in this country, it does provide revenue for our government to pay for various infrastructure projects. Electric cars, however, don’t buy gasoline — and as a result, don’t pay the gas tax.
Infrastructurist: Dead Roads Driving: 2 Urban Freeways to Demolish (And What Might Replace Them)
Yesterday we described the potential benefits of tearing down a major urban highway. In the process of researching that subject we came across a 2008 list of “Freeways Without Futures” compiled by the Congress for the New Urbanism. The Congress updated its list in 2010, and while a majority of the targeted roads are the same, a few new names appear.
Gilroy Dispatch: East rail station study still on track
Questions on whether the City of Gilroy should include the east station proposal along with the downtown option in a "visioning process" study were raised when a letter from Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design claimed the east station violated a 1996 agreement between the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the City of Gilroy and the Local Agency Formation Commission, commonly known as LAFCO.
San Francisco Business Times: Bay Area agencies set up $50M affordable housing fund
The fund will provide loans to affordable developers for sites that are near transit and designated as Priority Development Areas by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Everything Long Beach: Metro's Freeway Projects Mean Better Transportation for Everyone
While public attention remains fixed on the dozen bus and rail projects mandated by L.A. County voters with the passage of Measure R, the half cent sales tax for transportation, Metro is working feverishly on a parallel track to accelerate its highway program.
Atlanta Journal Constitution: State infrastructure bank has $30 million sitting idle
Three years after former Gov. Sonny Perdue announced its formation, the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank has awarded just one loan so far, and more than $30 million in transportation funds remain idle, gathering interest.
KITV (HI): Rail Project Gets Support From Federal Transportation Officials
The city's rail transit project got some strong support from the federal government's top transportation officials. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration Administrator both gave their verbal commitment to move forward with the rail project.
Architect Magazine: A Desire Named Streetcar
This past January, the Federal Transit Administration signed an agreement with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority for $45 million in federal economic stimulus funds to build a new, 1.5-mile streetcar line. It would link Canal Street with the Union Passenger Terminal, a 1954 structure that’s now home to the Amtrak and Greyhound stations.
Boston Globe: From Patrick, no words of support for his transportation secretary
Governor Deval Patrick today pointedly declined to offer his support for Jeffrey B. Mullan, the state’s transportation secretary, who has given shifting accounts of why his agency withheld information from the public about a corroded 110-pound light fixture that crashed in the O’Neill Tunnel last month.
Daily Tribune: Small tax increase needed to improve our roads, bridges
But if you want some facts to back up this statement, don't look any further than your fellow drivers. The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association reports that shaken drivers from across the state recently identified more than 650 potholes in just a two-week period. We have an online location to report crumbling roads and potholes. Go to our website and click on "See, Click, Fix."
The Fuse Joplin: Governor awards $26 million loan for waste water facilities
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited a Turkey Creek Water Facility to announce a $26 million dollar loan for the city to reinvest in its water infrastructure.
Las Vegas Sun: Sen. Harry Reid to discuss Las Vegas rail project
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood are expected to give an update on the status of a high speed rail project that would connect Southern California to Las Vegas.
New Hampshire: Director of Rail Transit Authority wants trains in NH
Town Council Chairman Mike Izbicki, who is also the interim director of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority, hopes to see trains zipping through New Hampshire some day.
North Jersey: Christie administration details $3.5 billion in transportation spending priorities
The $3.5 billion in spending represents the first year of the five-year Transportation Capital Plan that the governor announced in January. The plan, which relies primarily on federal and state sources for funding, is now being reviewed by the Legislature.
Transportation Nation: As Massive Bus Cuts Loom, Long Islanders, Get Emotional At Hearing
An emotional NYC MTA hearing went well into the night last night in Hempstead. The transit authority is considering cutting service for some 16,000 Long Island Bus drivers beginning this summer. And the financially troubled Nassau County government says it wants to privatize all bus service.
Rochester City Newspaper: Reed, Buerkle: Forget about high-speed rail
The pair says high-speed rail isn't practical for New York, partly because such a system would require a dedicated track. "Fulfilling this requirement would cost tens of billions of dollars," they said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The letter was excerpted in a statement sent out this morning by Reed's office.
Grist: New York’s bike lanes are ‘homegrown terrorism,’ say red-faced opponents
"Share the Road" has one potential fatal flaw: It involves sharing, which a lot of purported adults haven't really mastered. Matthew Shaer's exhaustive history of the NYC bike lane struggle, in this week's New York magazine, shows just how much people have to mature before a community -- even Brooklyn -- can become truly bike-friendly. Step one: Stop calling bike lanes "homegrown terrorism."
The Hill: Ohio bill would ban stimulus signs on roads
A bill approved Thursday by the Ohio state Senate would ban signs on roads in the state that tout development projects as being paid for by the federal economic stimulus program.
Tulsa World: Lesson No. 1: Build it and they will come
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation recently awarded a contract to replace the bridge on I-244 crossing the Arkansas River, one of the state's worst bridges, with a double-decker bridge that supports vehicular traffic and high-speed rail. This further opens the door to future regional rail transit and a possible high-speed rail system connecting the state's two largest cities, which would undoubtedly lead to economic growth.
Texas Insider: 2011 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey
To ensure adequate funding for Texas water infrastructure, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s fifth survey of public drinking water system capital needs. The Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey began February 16, 2011.
Austin Business Journal: Let companies build Texas roads
State Sen. Tommy Williams, chairman of the Texas Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, stated last month that as of 2012, Texas will have no new money to build new roads or highways.
Streetsblog: Houston Advocates Rally to Save Bike-Ped Funds From Motorhead Bureaucrats
Nobody would accuse the Houston region of lacking auto infrastructure. Now local bicycling and pedestrian advocates are fighting to protect their tiny slice of the pie. They’re anxiously awaiting a final decision tomorrow about a pro-road money grab by the Houston-Galveston Area’s Transportation Policy Council.
“Investing money in our roads and bridges today saves money in the long run. It also builds the foundation for our 21st century economy.”