Friday, March 5, 2010
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: May 3, 2010

Sustainable Business reported that a water infrastructure bill was introduced in the US Senate, and Washington Examiner wrote that Virginia will sell $500 million in transportation bonds this month. Find out more about these and other news in Infrastructure in the News.

 

National News

Delta Farm Press: USDA releases report on agricultural transportation
USDA has released to Congress a comprehensive report on agricultural transportation in the United States, the first ever of this magnitude. The report, Study of Rural Transportation Issues, was mandated by the 2008 farm bill and covers the four major modes of transportation commonly used by agriculture in the United States: truck, rail, barge, and ocean vessel. “Agriculture is the largest user of freight transportation in the United States, with 31 percent of all ton-miles recorded in 2007 being used in the movement of agricultural products,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This report provides policy makers the vital information needed to make strategic infrastructure and policy decisions to meet rural America’s transportation needs, now and in the future.”

Sustainable Business: Water Infrastructure Bill Introduced in US Senate
A bipartisan bill proposed in the US Senate would remove caps on bond levels for water infrastructure projects. The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2010 (S. 3262) would remove state volume caps on private activity bonds (PABs) for water and wastewater projects. The bills sponsors say it will free up billions of private capital dollars for investment in the nation’s water infrastructure. A similar bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) was passed by the House as part of the Small Business and Infrastructure Tax Act last month.

 

State News

Boston Globe: Hope of fix within days
Engineers and welders successfully rejoined two huge water pipes inside a muddy crater early this morning, and state officials said they hope to restore clean water within days to 2 million residents of Greater Boston.People in the city and 29 of its most populous suburbs, whose clean-water supply was cut off by a catastrophic and unprecedented pipe rupture, remained without clean tap water for a second day yesterday. The region braced for the start of school and the workweek today while still facing orders to boil any water used for drinking and cooking.

Boston Globe: Workers repairing water pipe; Boil order still in effect for 2 million
Workers today began repairing the massive underground pipe that abruptly ruptured yesterday, cutting off drinking water to nearly two million people in the Boston area. Governor Deval Patrick said that if the workers can successfully patch the pipe and no other leaks are discovered, clean drinking water could be flowing back into the Boston area in "days, not weeks."

Washington Examiner: Virginia to sell 500 million in transportation bonds this month
Virginia will sell about $500 million in transportation bonds this month, pumping money into road and rail projects sitting in the state's six-year blueprint. Those funds, with other bonds planned over the next two years, will pay for a host of improvements, including the Metrorail extension to Washington Dulles International Airport and the Route 29 Gainesville interchange at Interstate 66. The new debt is authorized by one of the few surviving provisions in the General Assembly's 2007 transportation package.

Engineering News Record: Pa. Transportation Chief: State Needs $3 Billion for Roads
Pennsylvania has 7,000 miles of roads in "poor" condition, 5,600 "structurally deficient" bridges and insufficient financial resources to fix them, state Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler said yesterday.
"It is just not acceptable," Biehler told the House Republican Policy Committee. Yet, the portion of the 40,000 miles of state highways in poor condition is down from 11,000 in 2002, Biehler said. And through the state's $1 billion "accelerated bridge program" and $400 million in federal stimulus spending last year, PennDOT reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges for the first time in a decade. Repair and replacement work needed is expected to hit $3 billion, up from $1.6 billion in 2005-06.

Dallas Morning News: Public-private partnerships: Still thriving in Texas, and spreading
Where Texas leads, Michigan follows? That's one way, and probably a parochial one, to view the fight in Michigan over whether the state should be authorized to enter into public private partnerships to build transportation infrastructure. Michigan leaders want to join with Canada as part of a joint public partnership with a private firm to build a second international bridge over the Detroit River. Lawmakers and some others have balked, however. The debate took a twist yesterday when Canada offered to cover all of Michigan's out of pocket investment, an offer worth some $550 million. Gov. Jennifer Granholm immediately took word of the offer to the state legislative committee considering the deal, and others have said it should seal the deal for Michigan's involvement. Critics have called it a bribe.

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