Infrastructure in the News: July 16, 2012
The Hill: The week ahead: Planes take center stage
After months of debate about highway funding and a week of focus on high-speed rail efforts, Congress turns its attention this week to the aviation sector. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation's Aviation Operations panel will hold a hearing on Wednesday about the competitiveness of U.S. airlines in the international aviation industry.
Transportation Issues Daily: Deep Funding Cuts Scheduled for Popular Transit Program, Amtrak, and Aviation Programs
The New Starts program, Amtrak, and several aviation programs face deep cuts in January unless Congress acts later this year. Federal spending in nearly all areas (although only a few transportation programs) is scheduled for automatic cuts of nearly 8% on January 13. The cuts (aka “sequestration”) total $1.2 trillion over nine years, split equally between defense and non-defense discretionary spending. It’s a result of the debt ceiling debate and the subsequent failure of the “super committee” to reach a deal in late 2011 to reduce spending and the deficit.
DC Streetsblog: Cliff’s Notes on the Transit Changes in MAP-21
The FTA has put out a helpful guide [PDF] to the changes to public transit policy in MAP-21, the new transportation bill that takes effect October 1. Three cheers to the agency for making the changes easy to see with their tracked-changes format. While there are a lot of adjustments within the transit section, overall this bill does not make major changes to national transit policy compared to its 2005 predecessor, known as SAFETEA-LU. Transit maintains its 20 percent share of funding, and the volume of funding remains the same. Transit will get about $10.6 billion per year.
Delaware Online: Editorial: Better rail system, not faster, needed
Last week the head of Amtrak announced a bold plan to turn the Northeast Corridor rail line into one big high-speed line. You will be able to zip from New York to Philadelphia in 37 minutes at speeds approaching 220 miles per hour. That would be down the current one hour and 15 minutes on the Acela. When will you be able to do it? 2040 or thereabouts. How much will it cost you? $151 billion or thereabouts. Who will pay for it? Federal and state governments. Will it happen? Probably not.
Denver Post: U.S. 24 sinkhole "crumbling into the abyss" near Leadville
The giant sinkhole that has indefinitely closed less than a mile of U.S. 24 Monday is growing. "It's crumbling before our eyes," CDOT spokeswoman Ashley Mohr said Thursday. Once confined to the road's shoulder, the sinkhole has now hit the highway. "It's literally crumbling into the black abyss," she said. The Colorado Department of Transportation just completed soil samples on the 100-foot deep sinkhole. How — and when — the big hole will be filled and the road repaired is still in the preliminary planning stages.
The Hill: GOP Rep. Sandy Adams hits Mica on Georgia transportation tax in Fla. primary
Republican Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.) is criticizing House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) for commenting on a proposed transportation tax in neighboring Georgia. Georgians will vote July 31 on a proposed one-cent sales tax increase in regions across their state to pay for transportation projects.
New York Times: For Transit Relief, Congested Atlanta Ponders a Penny Tax
For more than a decade, Atlanta has been among the fastest-growing regions in the country, but the road and rail system in a state that ranks 49th in per capita transportation spending just could not keep up. Hourlong commutes are common, and more than 80 percent of commuters drive alone. Only 5 percent make use of the region’s limited train and bus systems, according to research by the Brookings Institution. This month, Atlanta-area voters are being asked to approve an ambitious fix that would raise $8.5 billion by adding a penny to the sales tax for 10 years.
Fast Lane: Illinois Jobs Now! a milestone in state transportation programs
When Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation funding the second phase of Illinois Jobs Now!, I was happy to join him to mark this milestone in state transportation programs. Illinois Jobs Now! is a bold step forward for a state that understands the safety benefits and economic value of improving transportation infrastructure. And, as the title of the program indicates, Illinois knows that laying the foundation for tomorrow's economy means putting men and women back to work today.
KAAL-TV (MN): 'Unprecedented' Effort to Inspect 180 Northland Bridges After Flood
During the next two weeks, six teams of bridge engineers will inspect at least 180 bridges across northern Minnesota after devastating floods tore through 13 counties last month, leaving at least $100 million dollars in damage and raising questions about the safety of some bridge spans across the Northland.
Columbus Business Journal: Slideshow: I-71/670 project construction, updated from up close
During a recent trip down I-71, I decided to find out what is going on in the Columbus Crossroads project, below what you can easily see from the highway. I was kindly escorted by Drew Griesdorn, ODOT’s design-build coordinator for the project, and agency spokeswoman Nancy Burton. The project site is akin to a city, with hundreds of construction workers completing myriad pieces of roads, huge pieces of equipment scurrying about and large hills created and moved as the new landscape takes shape.
Streetsblog Network: In Virginia, Imagining a Less Disruptive Alternative to a Highway
On the north side of Charlottesville, Virginia, Route 29 is congested. So of course county officials immediately zeroed in on the most expensive, most disruptive course of action: building a $245 million bypass. In the above video, a local environmental group is proposing a different solution. The Southern Environmental Law Center says the problem could be solved for a lot less than $40 million a mile — with just a few key interventions.
- 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
“Technology is driving a transformation in how we control and manage air traffic. This transformation to NextGen will be dominated by interdependence, and it will come about because of collaboration. ….NextGen runs on a philosophy that’s different from the way we have been handling air traffic for the last 50 years.”