Infrastructure in the News: May 16, 2012
BAF IN THE NEWS
Politico: Morning Transportation: CONGRESS MUST 'DO NO HARM'
Transit stakeholders said on Tuesday they are looking to next year for a longer term bill at higher funding levels than what comes out of the transportation conference - especially if gas prices stay high. "Congress must provide a stable multi-year investment to allow public transportation systems of all sizes to meet that demand," APTA CEO Mike Melaniphy said. In addition to swelling ridership during near-$4 gas prices, highway mileage hasn't grown nearly as fast as highway users, said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, which leaves transit to pick up the slack. Rendell - also a co-chairman of Building America's Future - hopes Congress does "no harm" in conference now and delivers a "real" 10-year bill later.
Transportation Nation: Former PA Gov Rendell: Best Transpo Bill Would “Do No Harm”
Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and a co-chair of the infrastructure group Building America’s Future (which co-sponsored the report), was asked about the likelihood of transportation funding reform in the current political climate. “I don’t think we’re going to get a five or a six-year bill. I think we’ll get something that will carry us into 2013, and I think the best that we can hope for at this point is to do no harm,” Rendell said. “But in 2013, it seems to me that Congress and the administration have to come to grips with the problems facing not only our transportation infrastructure, but our entire infrastructure.”
Switchboard: Getting Transportation Back on Track
Moreover, another reason to invest in expanding transportation choices is the fact that in the face of high gas prices more and more people opt to use public transit as a way to save money, according to new analysis by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Building America’s Future (BAF). Take Chicago, for example -- “High gas prices do tend to help us increase ridership,” said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.
Dallas Morning News: Gas prices and ridership: At DART, the correlation is fuzzy
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a cheerleader for transportation spending including transit, was on the call, too. He said improvements to existing services — making curent trips faster, more comfortable, more convenient — has helped old-line transit systems grow their ridership. That’s a recipe that DART hopes to follow in the years ahead.
Supply Chain Digital: Volatile Gas Prices Point to Increased Use of Public Transportation
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Building America's Future (BAF) today released a study predicting that record numbers of Americans will turn to public transportation as a cost-cutting measure in the face of volatile gas prices. To meet this impending surge in demand, APTA and BAF are calling on Congress to pass a multi-year, fully funded surface transportation bill as the Senate and House begin Conference Committee negotiations.
Bloomberg: Taxpayers Pay as Fracking Trucks Overwhelm Rural Cow Paths
A surge in hydraulic fracturing to get gas and oil trapped in rock means drillers need to haul hundreds of truckloads of sand, water and equipment for a single well. Drilling that added jobs and tax revenue for many states also has increased traffic on roads too flimsy to handle the 80,000-pound (36,300 kilogram) trucks that serve well sites. The resulting road damage will cost tens of millions of dollars to fix and is catching officials from Pennsylvania to Texas off guard.
Huffington Post: Re Jobs, Pick the Low Hanging Fruit (Part 2)
The administration and Congress should commit to at least $2 trillion of infrastructure spending over the next 10 to 15 years using the resources of a new National Infrastructure Bank that would be an independent financial institution owned by the government and supported by a soft federal guarantee on the order of $200 billion. This federal guarantee, appropriately structured, would not need to be 'scored' for budget purposes given the numerous layers of investment above it.
NECN: Mass. congressman pushing for tax benefits for mass transit users
Gas prices have fallen in recent weeks but from Worcester, Mass. to Washington DC, a lot of people are still turning to public transportation. On Capitol Hill, U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern of Worcester is pushing for more tax benefits for people who use mass transit. He says the current system favors drivers and is unfair to mass transit riders.
Transportation for America: Saving a transit system and turning the tide for the future of a mid-sized city
Last month, the citizens of Baton Rouge, LA, voted to raise their taxes to preserve and expand their struggling bus system. The landmark measure will nearly double transit funding — saving the system from meltdown while laying the groundwork for dramatically improved service. To pass it, churches, faith-based groups and local organizers teamed up with businesses and institutions. As we’ve seen in similar local measures, they won by explaining exactly what taxpayer money would buy, building a diverse coalition and getting out the vote.
Orlando Sentinel: Miami to Orlando train proposal rolling down the planning tracks
A Coral Gables development company expects to have a study completed next month that could determine whether it builds a privately funded $1 billion train linking Miami with Orlando. If the ridership study finds enough demand, Florida East Coast Industries could begin construction next year, Husein Cumber, executive vice president of Florida East Coast Railway, an affiliate of FECI, said Monday.
FOX Reno: Federal Transit Administration announces $5.1 Mil to enhance Bus Rapid Transit service
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff today announced that the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County received a $5.1 million grant to purchase new hybrid-electric buses and build a new fueling station. The improvements will enhance bus rapid transit service for the growing number of riders who are choosing to take public transportation along Virginia Street, one of the region’s busiest corridors.
New York Capital: Gray and green: The story of a big city sewer system that worked too well
On any given dry day, 1.3 billion gallons of water flow off the streets and down drains into New York City’s sewage system. Most of the time the system works flawlessly, and invisibly, and so sewage gets less attention than more conspicuous infrastructural issues, like transit and communications. Plus sewage is just gross. What this means, in political terms, is that there isn't much payoff for dealing with what is in truth an aging and chronically failing network.
“There’s never been a better time to build….”