Thursday, October 20, 2011
News Roundup

Infrastructure in the News: October 20, 2011



The State: Nonprofit forms S.C. chapter with state lawmakers 

A nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding America’s infrastructure – including aging roads and bridges -- has established a S.C. chapter complete with several state lawmakers. The Building America’s Future Educational Fund -- founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Govs. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California -- wants “to advance a new national vision for infrastructure investment.”


Fits News: Building America’s Future Comes To South Carolina

Building America’s Future Educational Fund – a bipartisan and national infrastructure coalition – announced today the launch of their South Carolina chapter, including a slate of statewide business and legislative leaders who will discuss a path to success for South Carolina in light of the difficulties posed by America’s ailing infrastructure.


Infrastructurist: How to Fund U.S. Infrastructure? Reduce Defense Spending

A few weeks ago, former Pennsylvania Governor and co-founder of Building America’s Future Ed Rendell was speaking on a panel about the future of U.S. infrastructure. After he finished extolling the need for greater investment in large-scale upgrades and new projects, a young Naval cadet stood up and asked, “That’s a great plan, but where will we get the money for it?” “That’s a great question,” Rendell responded. “And the answer is two words, beginning with ‘A’ and ‘I.’”




Washington Post: How Congress shapes your commute

Even our daily sojourns to the office are affected by the twists and turns in the U.S. tax code. If you drive to work, your employer can cover up to $230 per month in parking costs tax-free. And in recent years, if you take mass transit, your employer has also been able to reimburse you, tax-free, for up to $230. This latter program was part of the 2009 stimulus bill, and one Businessweek survey found that, when companies do offer it, many workers really do shift to public transportation.


Washington Post: Even public transit can’t defeat congestion

When traffic congestion gets especially nasty, the first thing planners think to do is expand road capacity. More lanes should ease the pressure, right? Except, that doesn’t work. As Eric Jaffe points out over at Atlantic Cities, traffic tends to expand to fill capacity. He cites a new paper in the American Economic Review that finds that traffic “increases proportionately to roadway lane kilometers for interstate highways and probably slightly less rapidly for other types of roads.”


Governing: Creative Mayors and the Infrastructure Puzzle

While the Obama administration continues to advocate for a national infrastructure bank, Republicans are pushing back with a range of fiscal and political objections that, however legitimate, do nothing to put people and significant amounts of latent private capital to work. Yet in an expression of the notion that all politics (and it seems opportunity) are local, a Republican mayor and a Democratic mayor are pursuing innovative new infrastructure plans for their cities that prioritize wealth-creating and tax-base-expanding projects and bring new investment opportunities to the table.


Global Travel News: Airline expansion and growth limited by poor airport infrastructure

This can only mean that faced with infrastructure constraints and legally-imposed operating caps on their own airports back home, the European and American airlines will see aviation developments move yet further and faster away from them with few options left to hold against the trend.



Savannah Now: Study identifies choke points caused by Ga. ports expansion

Georgia’s growing freight traffic will suffer from numerous rail and highway bottlenecks in the next 40 years due to decreased infrastructure investment in recent years, according to a multi-agency study that highlights how important Savannah and Atlanta are to each other.


Greater Greater Washington: What if Washington never built Metro?

At the heart of the region's success is, of course, the Washington Metro, which has shaped development for more than three decades. In fact, so much of the land near Metro stations has been developed that ridership is projected to reach the design capacity of the current system within the next 20 years. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is currently mapping out how to respond.


WTOP (DC): Hairline cracks found in three ICC bridges

Construction work is expected on the Inter County Connector after inspections on some bridges in found flaws which presented long-term structural safety concerns. Problems were found on three bridges along the ICC in Montgomery County. Project Director Melinda Peters says hairline cracks were found on several concrete piers of the bridges along Emory Lane, Needwood Road and Georgia Avenue.


Streetsblog Network: The Scandalously High Cost of Shortchanging Transit

You will remember that Wisconsin was the state that, according to Gov. Scott Walker, couldn’t afford to operate an inter-city rail system, even with an $800 million federal start-up grant. But it turns out that having a transportation system based entirely on automobile travel isn’t exactly cheap. Now, instead of reaping savings, Wisconsin is drowning in highway bills.

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