Infrastructure in the News: May 21, 2012
BAF IN THE NEWS
USA Today: USA's creaking infrastructure holds back economy
Freight bottlenecks and other congestion cost about $200 billion a year, or 1.6% of U.S. economic output, according to a report last year by Building America's Future Educational Fund, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials. The chamber of commerce estimates such costs are as high as $1 trillion annually, or 7% of the economy.
Ken Orski: Advocates of Higher Spending Are Facing a Skeptical Audience
Infrastructure Investment did not even make the top ten list of public priorities in the latest Pew Research Center survey of domestic concerns cited at the conference. Calls by two congressionally mandated commissions to vastly increase transportation infrastructure spending have gone ignored. So have repeated pleas by advocacy groups such as Building America’s Future, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Transportation for America.
HNTB Press Release: Americans value highways and bridges as a national treasure
A new survey from HNTB Corporation finds two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans who intend to vote during this year's presidential election feel that a candidate's standing on American transportation infrastructure will influence their decision; more than one in five (22 percent) say this will be extremely influential on who they vote for.
Boston Globe: N.H. bridge provides platform for Romney
Mitt Romney pointed to a federally supported bridge repair project here Friday as part of his indictment of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill. As the presidential hopeful strode out into the sunshine, a 19th century stone bridge roped off with police tape behind him took center stage. Renovation of the Sawyer Bridge, a “bridge to nowhere,’’ was paid for in part with $150,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help restore what is considered a civil engineering landmark.
Washington Post: Public transportation is habit-forming — and that’s a problem!
When gas prices rise, more people start taking the bus, train, or subway. Not everyone can do this — only about 54 percent of U.S. households have access to public transit, after all — but economists have found that the relationship is quite robust. But what happens when gas prices start sinking back down — something that’s happening right now? Evidence suggests that many of those riders will keep taking transit anyway. One 2011 study of New York City, for instance, found that transit ridership “seems to respond to rises in gasoline prices, but not to falls.”
Transportation Nation: Private Rail Company Says Orlando to Miami Service Possible in Two Years
The company that wants to begin a privately funded passenger rail service from Orlando to Miami says it expects to get millions of drivers out of their cars and riding the rails once it starts rolling. Florida East Coast Industries executives are meeting with local authorities as they decide on the exact route of the service. If the rail service starts as planned in 2014, it’s expected to improve connections to regional transportation hubs in Central Florida.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Will sales tax shorten Atlanta commutes, reduce traffic?
If voters say yes to the July 31 sales tax referendum, they will trigger the biggest single transportation investment the Atlanta region has seen in generations. The money, collected from taxpayers over 10 years to build projects across 10 counties, would be vast. The payoff for commuters, less so. A few areas would see seismic change. Most, a moderate improvement. Some, too little impact to measure.
Transportation Nation: DC’s Transportation Network — How Does it Compare to the rest of the World?
Compared to major U.S. metropolitan areas, Washington D.C. is one of the best when it comes to the choices available to commuters who want to avoid the congestion of the Beltway. We have the Metro, buses, and a new, popular bike share program. Compared to other cities across the globe, however, Washington is somewhat lacking in transportation innovation, but advocates and government officials say that is slowly changing.
“It's been proven time after time: investments in our national infrastructure create jobs and opportunities. Americans can and must build great things – not just in spite of enormous economic challenges but also as the means of overcoming them.”