Infrastructure in the News: March 30, 2012
BAF IN THE NEWS
Transportation Nation: Emanuel Pushes Audacious Plan for Chicago Infrastructure
Other big city mayors, notably New York’s Michael Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have championed big infrastructure projects. Mayor Bloomberg is a co-founder of Building America’s Future, a pro-infrastructure lobbying group. But neither mayor has the extensive control of Mayor Emanuel, who runs the transit system, schools, and water infrastructure. In New York, for example the MTA is run by the state.
The Hill: White House signals it will accept 90-day highway extension
The White House signaled to Senate Democrats that it was OK to accept a short-term extension of federal transportation funding passed Thursday by the House, even as it criticized Republicans for punting on a long-term bill. After debating the length of a short-term extension for most of the week, the House approved an extension of the current legislation that provides funding for road and transit projects on a 266-158 vote. The extension, which lawmakers in both chambers said initially they did not want to have to do, is the ninth of the transportation legislation that expired in 2009.
Transportation Nation: SHUTDOWN AVERTED: House Passes 90-Day Transpo Extension, Senate Follows Suit
SENATE PASSES EXTENSION BY VOICE VOTE House Republicans made the best of a bad situation Thursday and easily passed a 90-day extension to the Highway Bill, sending it to the Senate just two days before a potential shutdown of federal transportation programs and a suspension of the gas tax. The bill passed 266-158, in a broad bipartisan vote that largely diffuses–for the moment–a standoff with Senate Democrats. Just hours later, the bill was passed by voice vote in the Senate, staving off a potential shutdown at Sunday’s deadline. Senate Dems had been pushing hard for the House to accept a $109 billion, two-year Highway Bill the Senate passed with 74 votes earlier this month.
DC Streetsblog: Live-Blogging the Senate Transportation Extension Debate & Vote
The House of Representatives passed a 90-day extension of transportation programs by a vote of 266-158 shortly before noon today. The Senate passed it soon after by an unrecorded voice vote, but only after several Democrats tried (unsuccessfully) to replace the extension’s text with that of their own two-year reauthorization bill. The extension is now on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law, averting a shutdown. Live updates from the full Senate debate are below.
The Hill: Mica defends highway stopgap: 'It almost always takes two years to do a transportation bill'
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) defended House Republicans on Thursday for eschewing a multiyear transportation bill approved by the Senate in favor of a three-month temporary extension of current funding. Mica, who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said it usually takes more time to win support for a longer-term highway spending bill.
National Journal: What’s Next for the Transportation Bill?
House Republicans need two things to get a full-fledged surface-transportation bill through the chamber and on to a conference committee with the Senate—a simple majority and $44 billion to pay for the bill’s first two years. They have until June 30, when a newly approved extension of federal highway authority expires. Basking in his victory on Thursday after the House easily passed a 90-day extension on a 266-158 vote, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., said he is working with Speaker John Boehner to bring his long-term highway bill to the floor after a two-week recess. A shutdown of the highway program was averted when the Senate passed the extension later on Thursday.
U.S. Senate Committee of Finance: Baucus Calls on House to Pass Fully-Funded Senate Highway Bill to Create Jobs, Provide Certainty
“We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. Pretty soon, there will be no road left to kick the can down,” Baucus said. “The easiest way to work together and forge a solution to create jobs and fund our nation’s highway system is for the House to take up the Senate’s bill. It’s a good bill. It provides certainty so businesses and communities can plan construction projects and create jobs. It’s fully paid for. In fact, it ensures the Highway Trust Fund will remain solvent even after the end of the bill. It gives us time to address the longer-term needs of our national program and how we’re going to pay for it.”
Chicago Tribune: Chicago embarks on $7 billion plan to improve city's infrastructure
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced a $7 billion program to overhaul Chicago's infrastructure. The plan announced Thursday includes improvements to rail stations, airports and parks. The mayor says the three-year program will create more than 30,000 jobs. He says the money will come from partnerships with private sector investors and not taxpayer dollars.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Rail upgrades planned between Chicago, St. Louis
Upgrades are planned on the rail line between Chicago and St. Louis for future high-speed Amtrak trains. The Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad are making the upgrades. Construction is planned from April 16 to May 25. Improvements will include installing new rail, upgrading bridges, culverts and drainage and installing new signals. Road crossings also will be renovated.
Wicked Local: State House News -- House passes $200 million for roads out of $1.5 billion bond bill
The House passed a small portion of Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1.5 billion transportation bond bill he filed earlier this month, opting to only vote on the Chapter 90 road and bridge repair piece and leave on the backburner his proposals to create the state’s first infrastructure bank to leverage private investments and invest $885 million in transportation programs and $311 million in the state’s rail and transit system.
Newsday: Tax-finance change spurs infrastructure buzz
A financing method used to build streets and sewers to support economic development in other states could be coming to New York once the state budget passes. The education budget bill printed on Tuesday includes a reform of the state’s “tax increment financing” law. “This is huge,” said Kevin Law, president and chief executive of the Long Island Association. “This will allow for more investment in infrastructure for major development projects.”
Boston Globe: RI lawmakers look to stabilize transit funding
A panel of Rhode Island state lawmakers is investigating ways to prevent future service cuts at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. The Senate Study Commission on Sustainable Transportation Funding is scheduled to meet Friday at the Statehouse. RIPTA has had to eliminate jobs and trim service on some routes to eliminate budget deficits. Lawmakers have said the state needs to find better ways of funding public transit to prevent future cuts.
- Press Release Former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell Calls for Port, Waterway Strategy in Speech to American Association of Port Authorities Read More
- Press Release BAF Educational Fund Releases Infrastructure Report: Falling Apart and Falling Behind Read More
- Published Report An Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment Read More
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old questions from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.”