Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts in "Bridges"

July 25, 2014

Toomey Would Skip Most Environmental Reviews in Post-Disaster Rebuilding

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.

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July 16, 2014

Republicans Blame Obama for Blocking Multi-Year Transportation Bill in 2009 (Video)

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?

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Vote on Transportation Funding Shows How Far Conservative Republicans Have Come

gop stakeout006 052113 445x302 Vote on Transportation Funding Shows How Far Conservative Republicans Have Come

Lankford was one of the few who voted “no.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

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July 15, 2014

Distracted Driving Played a Role in 2013 Bridge Collapse, Board Says

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.

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An Earmark Revival? ‘Suggestion’ Earns Bipartisan Praise

gop meeting006 061814 445x295 An Earmark Revival? Suggestion Earns Bipartisan Praise

Cole. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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.

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July 14, 2014

Ruling Expected on Bridge Collapse in Washington State

169390129 web 445x264 Ruling Expected on Bridge Collapse in Washington State

The scene near Mount Vernon, Wash., soon after the I-5 bridge collapse. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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?

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A Crowded Week Ahead for Transportation Advocates and Policymakers

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.

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July 3, 2014

Transportation Jobs Up 12 Percent From Recession’s Low Point

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:

bls transpo jobs jun14 report1 445x222 Transportation Jobs Up 12 Percent From Recession’s Low Point

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.

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July 1, 2014

Foxx Rebuts Idea That Obama Is Leading From Behind on Infrastructure Taxes

“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.

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June 26, 2014

Prospects for Highway Trust Fund Deal Brighter After Wyden Alters Revenue Package

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.

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Lag Time? A Significant Spending Boost, but Still a C-Minus Grade for Pa.

132191790 445x296 Lag Time? A Significant Spending Boost, but Still a C Minus Grade for Pa.

Corbett. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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.

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June 25, 2014

A Concrete Effect — Literally — From Any Halt in Highway Funding

141932597 web 445x301 A Concrete Effect    Literally    From Any Halt in Highway Funding

Construction crews work on an overpass along Highway 101 in Novato, Calif., in March 2012. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Democrats are staying resolutely on message as the Highway Trust Fund heads toward depletion.

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June 23, 2014

Big-Money Optimism but Many Unanswered Questions About Private Infrastructure Investment

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.

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June 15, 2014

Bridge Drama: Oregon-Washington Discord Stymies Effort to Replace Span

It was a routine transportation advisory of the kind you often see: two lanes of the southbound Interstate 5 bridge which spans the Columbia River between Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash., will be closed 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. four nights this week for electrical work, inspections, and maintenance, said the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The work will be done on the southbound bridge — built in 1958 — but what caught the eye was the age of the northbound span: It opened almost 100 years ago in 1917.

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