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Posts in "Bridges"
August 6, 2014
Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an increase in the state’s sales tax to pay for highways, roads, and bridges.
The proposed amendment to the state constitution was defeated 59 percent to 41 percent – even though it included elements designed to make it more palatable to voters: it would have explicitly banned tolling on state highways and would have prevented an increase in the state’s tax on gasoline and other motor fuels.
The constitutional amendment would have been a three-quarters of one percent increase to the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax.
July 30, 2014
A familiar Republican argument — that President Barack Obama’s appointees are using executive branch power to hurt states and businesses — was heard almost simultaneously late Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor and across the street from the Capitol at a hearing in the Russell Senate Office building from two GOP senators on two different topics, both involving transportation.
July 25, 2014
When the Senate takes up a bill next week to refill the Highway Trust Fund, it will get a chance to debate an amendment offered by Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey that would speed up construction of transportation infrastructure after natural disasters.
July 16, 2014
House Republicans reached back to recent history yesterday to rebut Democratic critics who blame them for not working on a multi-year transportation authorization bill.
Why, they demanded, did President Barack Obama not push for a multi-year transportation bill at height of his power in 2009 when his party controlled both branches of Congress?
You can draw two lessons draw from Tuesday’s 367-55 House vote to authorize and fund transportation programs through May 2015.
One is that building off-ramps and overpasses is popular in an overwhelmingly bipartisan way, even if Congress can only manage to authorize and fund infrastructure in increments, in this case 10 months.
July 15, 2014
The National Transportation Safety Board reported Tuesday that distracted driving by a pilot/escort driver leading a truck contributed to the accident that caused the collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge across the Skagit River in Washington State last year.
On May 23, 2103, a truck carrying an oversized load struck the top of the bridge and triggered the collapse which shut down the main traffic route between Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
The House Rules Committee – where the majority party always wins and the votes always split along party lines – was the setting Monday evening for a momentary bipartisan call to bring back earmarks as a way to lubricate passage of transportation bills.
Earmarks – money in authorization or appropriations bills that was targeted to benefit a specific congressional district or a particular project – were banned by the House in 2011.
July 14, 2014
On Tuesday the National Transportation Safety Board will meet to determine the probable cause of the collapse on May 23, 2013, of a bridge on Interstate 5 spanning the Skagit River in Washington State.
The bridge is a major thoroughfare for truck and tourism traffic between Canada and the United States, with more than 71,000 drivers using it daily. Was this another case study in America’s aging infrastructure and the need for more federal transportation spending?
The nation’s capital will be busy with transportation events this week:
On Monday, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Agency starts its annual conference. Among the speakers will be the head of a company controversially involved in rail shipments of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota, Global Partners president and CEO Eric Slifka.
July 3, 2014
The number of Americans working in transportation reached 4,618,500 in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report released Thursday morning.
That’s a 501,300, or 12 percent, increase from the worst days of the recession. And it exceeds by nearly 58,000 jobs the pre-financial crisis peak in April 2008 of 4,560,600 Americans working in transportation. You can see the rebound in transportation jobs in this chart from BLS:
The BLS transportation category includes people working in air, truck, and rail transportation, as well as some related jobs such as couriers, messengers, and warehousing.
July 1, 2014
“Go Team USA — Let’s build some bridges!” President Barack Obama told a crowd at the Key Bridge in Washington on Tuesday afternoon as he urged Congress to pass a bill to refill the Highway Trust Fund.
If Congress can’t figure out a way to raise the revenue for building infrastructure, it will be “like Congress threatening to lay off the entire population of Denver or Seattle or Boston” due to the construction jobs that will be at risk, Obama told the crowd.
The president explained that under his administration’s $302 billion, four-year Grow America Act proposal, “We pay for it in part by closing tax loopholes for companies that are shipping their profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”
Earlier Tuesday reporters pressed Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on why he and Obama haven’t called for an increase in the 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline.
June 26, 2014
After a sour reaction from Republicans to Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden’s first proposal to bolster the Highway Trust Fund, prospects for a deal looked better Thursday after the Oregon Democrat offered a modified plan that dropped his idea of raising heavy vehicle use taxes by $1.3 billion.
Wyden’s revised plan also added a provision that would shift to the highway trust fund $750 million from a fund intended to deal with leaking underground fuel tanks, CQ’s Joanna Anderson reported.
Even after enactment of big infrastructure spending packages signed into law by the state’s current and previous governor, Pennsylvania still gets an overall grade of C-minus from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Central Pennsylvania Section in its 2014 report card.
The report, released Wednesday, gives a D-minus to the state’s roads and wastewater systems, a D-plus to its bridges, and a D to its mass transit systems. Pennsylvania gets a better grade for its freight rail, a B.
June 25, 2014
Democrats are staying resolutely on message as the Highway Trust Fund heads toward depletion.
June 23, 2014
Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden spoke for many transportation officials when he said recently, “There are hundreds of billions of dollars in private capital sitting on the American sidelines. Surely some of that can be invested in American infrastructure.”
Probably no topic is hotter right now in the public infrastructure world than private-public partnerships, which aim to entice the owners of those hundreds of billions of dollars of private capital to invest in rebuilding and expanding the nation’s highways, ports and bridges.