Infrastructure in the News: May 23, 2012
Politico: Federal marine highways project hard to launch
Mention America’s highways and notice the nods. Talk about its marine highways and watch the blank stares. A Department of Transportation initiative intended to promote the country’s water routes has failed to make substantial inroads despite a 2007 federal law, escalating highway congestion and a push for greener transport. These river and coastal corridors, known as marine highways or short-sea shipping, thrive in Europe and exist in a handful of U.S. regions. They’re billed as the future — a cheaper and more fuel-efficient option for an overburdened transportation system.
The Hill: Sen. Reid 'cautiously optimistic' about highway bill talks
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he was "cautiously optimistic" about congressional negotiations over a new federal surface transportation bill. Speaking to reporters, Reid said that the chairwoman of the 47-member conference committee that is working to reach a deal on highway and transit spending, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), told him Tuesday that 80 percent of the issues between the House and Senate on the measure had been resolved.
DC Streetsblog: U.S. DOT Spells Out Priorities For Conference Bill
Hint to lonely hearts everywhere: If you’re looking for some correspondence, join the transportation conference committee. Those folks are getting a lot of mail these days. Everyone from the petrochemical industry to environmental and equity groups to state DOT officials are penning their missives to committee members, asking for everything from expedited project delivery to fix-it-first to automatic approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. U.S. DOT got in on the letter-writing campaign last week too, expressing the Obama administration’s priorities for the bill.
Consumer Report: High gas prices motivate drivers to change direction
With fuel prices at near-record levels, motorists are driving less and contemplating a move to a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle when it comes time to buy their next vehicle. Those are among the findings from our latest nationally representative car-owner survey* about the impact of rising fuel prices conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
Atlantic Cities: How to Avoid the Worst Traffic Jams in the Most Congested U.S. Cities
The latest congestion statistics are now available courtesy the traffic data company INRIX, which has just released its fifth annual ranking of the U.S. cities with the worst traffic congestion. After analyzing traffic in the top 100 metros in the U.S., the company found that Honolulu topped the list (wasting 58 hours in traffic congestion last year), followed by Los Angeles (56 hours), San Francisco (48 hours), New York (57 hours), and Bridgeport, Connecticut (42 hours). Rounding out the top 10 were Washington, D.C. (45 hours), Seattle (33 hours), Austin (30 hours), Boston (35 hours), and Chicago (36 hours).
Reuters: Hot infrastructure auctions drive down returns
Europe’s debt crisis means there are plenty of assets up for grabs in the worst-hit countries. But economic shrinkage and political turmoil – not to mention the risk of a euro zone exit – make airports and utilities in the periphery unpalatable. Nor do investors want racier non-regulated assets such as car parks or phone companies, which proved too wobbly during the financial crisis. Assets such as TIGF, Total’s gas network, should also get a warm welcome if they come on the block. But bidders will have to accept that victory comes at the expense of lower returns.
The Advocate (MD): Water infrastructure all over county will experience changes in next few years
Municipalities and the county government are working to update water infrastructure throughout Carroll, as many water mains reach more than 70 years old. Joe Barrington, Carroll County Bureau of Utilities chief, said the ages of water mains in Carroll varies, but a portion of the pipes were installed around the same time, and are now between 70 and 80 years old, which is when most water mains need to be replaced.
Newark Star-Ledger: Gov. Christie to give keynote address at transportation conference today
Gov. Chris Christie is planning to speak about transportation issues in New Jersey. He's scheduled to give the keynote address today at the New Jersey Alliance for Action's transportation conference. The organization consists of people from business, labor, academics and other organizations, and pushes for public and private investment in infrastructure.
OPB: Feds Give $745M For Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project
The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail can move into full construction, following the Federal Transit Administrator's announcement Tuesday that 50 percent of the funding will come from the feds. Peter Rogoff came to Portland to sign an agreement committing roughly half the money needed for the line. That's $745 million. The other half of the money will be split between local agencies and governments like: TriMet, Metro, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Clackamas and Multnomah Counties and the City of Portland.
Public transit reduces gas consumption by 1.4 billion gallons each year.