Infrastructure in the News: March 26, 2012
USA Today: New report: Road congestion wastes 1.9 billion gallons of gas
As Americans pay about $4 per gallon for gasoline, they're wasting 1.9 billion gallons of it annually in traffic on congested roads, a new Treasury Department report says. Traffic congestion costs drivers more than $100 billion annually in wasted fuel and lost time, according to the report released Friday. The report — released in support of President Obama's plan to upgrade and expand America's transportation infrastructure in fiscal year 2013 — comes as Republican presidential candidates criticize Obama for high gasoline prices and his administration and the Senate wrestles with House Republicans over a new transportation bill.
Fox and Hounds Daily: Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute: A Deadlocked Washington Means US Metro Regions Must Address Manufacturing and Exports
Katz’s recent work, Export Nation 2012, examines the role that exports sectors in US metro areas play in a new global economy. Regions like Los Angeles hold vital positions in a country that does not properly value its export industries, and metro areas should take steps to establish positions in an increasingly urban global economy. The Planning Report spoke with Katz ahead of his March 21 Global Cities Forum at USC.
High Plains Journal: Fractured and failing infrastructure
Agriculture has always faced challenges in getting products to market. Pioneers realized they had a great resource that had value in a distant city, but they had to transport from point of surplus to point of shortage. That is the mission of all merchandisers today … But that infrastructure requires upkeep and expansion as some forms of transportation are at risk of disappearing. Government faces political challenges in making an investment that will take years to yield results. But reality is that time is short for some of our most vulnerable transportation corridors.
The Hill: Obama: ‘Common sense’ for House to pass Senate transportation bill
President Obama used his weekly address to press House Republicans to accept the transportation funding bill that has been approved in the Senate on a bipartisan vote. The current legislation that authorizes funding for road and public transit programs is set to expire on March 31. The House has said it will not vote on the Senate’s two-year, $109 billion version of the transportation measure, but the lower chamber has said it will attempt to pass a three-month extension of the current legislation, which expired in 2009.
Fox News: Obama’s Weekly Address: “All-of-the-Above” Energy Plan Includes Transportation Bill
After a multi-state "energy tour" and one day after the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama continued to push his "all of the above" energy plan. But this time arguing that the key to attracting clean energy industries to the United States is investing in the nation's transportation and communication infrastructure, "so that any company can move goods and sell products all around the world as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Fast Lane: President Obama to House: pass bipartisan transportation bill
In his Weekly Address, President Obama called on the House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan transportation bill that would repair crumbling roads and bridges and support construction jobs in communities all across America. According to a new report, 90 percent of these construction jobs are middle class jobs. The Senate passed the bill with the support of Democrats and Republicans because if the bill stalls in Congress then constructions sites will go idle, workers will have to go home, and our economy will take a hit.
The Hill: Mica calls Boxer his 'soul mate' in defense of his highway bill role
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is defending his role in the fractious congressional negotiations over a new federal transportation bill. Mica, who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been roundly criticized by Democrats in both the House and Senate for what his opponents call a partisan House version of a new multi-year transportation measure.
The Hill: Gas price debate complicates Dems' case against short-term highway bill
The political debate over gas prices appears to be complicating Democratic efforts to compare the standoff over federal transportation spending to last year’s shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. With gas prices on the rise, some Republican strategists think voters might welcome at least a temporary 18.4 cent-per-gallon break on the cost of filling up their gas tanks.
Huffington Post: Highway Bill Becomes Headache For House Republicans
A bill that Republican leaders were promoting as the centerpiece of their job-creation agenda has instead turned into one of their biggest headaches, thanks largely to tea party conservatives who want to get the federal government out of transportation programs and hand them over to the states. The House and Senate are heading toward a showdown next week that could result in a cutoff of federal highway and transit aid to states just as the spring construction season starts.
Transportation Issues Daily: House GOP Proposes 36 Percent Cut to Transportation Funding
Last Wednesday the House Budget Committee passed a proposed 2013 budget resolution that would reduce Highway Trust Fund spending authority by 36% – from $88.6 billion this year to just $57.1 billion in FY 2013. The budget resolution is the blueprint for all of the appropriations committees to craft the year’s spending bills. FY 2013 begins on October 1, 2012. The proposal is expected to pass the entire House this week.
California High Speed Rail Blog: Legislature Appears To Have Votes To Approve HSR Funding
Big news today out of Sacramento, where Bee columnist and high speed rail opponent Dan Walters concedes that the votes appear to be there in the Legislature to approve HSR funding: Its popularity has declined sharply, many of its details have yet to emerge, and independent authorities have questioned its financial and operational viability, but California’s bullet train project is very likely to get the green light from the Legislature soon.
Northwest Herald (IL): Rep. Jackson plans groundbreaking for new airport
Emboldened by his primary election victory, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is pushing past his critics to try to get construction started on a third Chicago-area airport that has been talked about for decades. Declaring that "the time for talk is over," Jackson said he would lead a groundbreaking ceremony at the site in a month, despite the opposition to his plans from officials in the southern suburb that would be home to the small airport. Will County officials, who believe they should control the airport, responded Thursday by saying the congressman's plans are flawed and his airport commission does not own the land or have legal authority to do any work at the site.
Daily Comet (LA): Waterways compete for dredging dollars
The hopper-dredge wheeler is essentially a 400-foot steel vacuum cleaner, designed to suck river-bottom sediment for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On Tuesday, it dredged the southwest pass of the Mississippi River, maintaining the 45-foot water depth that keeps the waterway navigable for supply vessels and barges. It is the height of the dredging season, and work has begun in earnest on the lower Mississippi project, which involves 85 miles of dredging at various spots along the 256-mile-long stretch of river between Baton Rouge and the Gulf of Mexico.
Portland Daily Sun: Michaud: A bill to support thousands of jobs in Maine
As a nation, we can’t afford to abandon infrastructure improvements. They are job creators, and they are necessary to our overall economic growth. Thankfully the Senate recently passed a bipartisan bill that will move us forward. With over 7,000 jobs in Maine on the line, it’s time for the House to act too. As a longtime member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I know how critical it is to maintain and improve our highways and bridges. It not only provides for increased safety, but it also promotes productivity and boosts our nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.
South Coast Today (MA): Guest View: Discussion on state's transit crisis needs to start now
Our aging public transportation system is financially unable to keep up with the needs of our population and threatens the regional economy. In fiscal year 2012, 45 percent of the combined annual operating budgets of MassDOT and the MBTA will go solely to paying off debt, leading to a lack of funds for routine operations. The MBTA's recent fare hike and service cuts would be mere Band-Aids on a much larger problem. The Transportation Finance Commission estimates that over the next 20 years, the cost just to maintain the state's transportation system will exceed anticipated available resources by $15 billion to $19 billion.
Traffic congestion costs Americans $78 billion a year.