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The Infra Blog

Transportation Policy and Funding in the Post-Election Climate

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 15
The mid-term elections have put an end to any lingering hope of passing a long-term transportation bill during the congressional lame duck session. Such hope was recently expressed by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and two Democratic senators, Tom Carper (D-DE) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee…But with the November elections heralding a fiscally more conservative political climate and with Congress preoccupied with a whole lot of unfinished business, passing a massive multi-year multi-billion funding bill for transportation during the lame duck session will be the last thing on the lawmakers’ minds.

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Interactive Map: Geothermal Energy Potential

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
U.S. DOT: Geothermal Energy Interactive Map

The U.S. Department of Energy has collected data on heat flows in the United States for decades, and has visualized the information in a variety of ways. Their latest interactive map shows where the most geothermal energy potential is located, and where energy companies are already capitalizing on geothermal sources to bolster the grid.

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How to Be Prepared For the Inevitable Takeover of Autonomous Vehicles: A Letter to Jeff Brandes

Friday, November 7th, 2014
"I sure hope no one else gets in here." Photo from Car and Driver.

In Florida, Republican state senator Jeff Brandes is making the case that Pinellas County – home of the last metro area in the U.S. to develop a regional transit network – shouldn’t invest in light rail because autonomous vehicles will make mass transit pointless…In that spirit, I’ve put together a list of recommendations that Mr. Brandes can use in developing policy to prepare for this brave new world of robotic transportation. It’s one thing not to waste money on a boondoggle technology like light rail that’s faithfully served people for barely even 100 years –if we’re serious about autonomous vehicles and their guaranteed ability to solve all of our problems, we need to be more proactive.

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Introduction to Solar Roadways

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Introduction to Solar Roadways

If you have seen this viral video, you will know that Julie and Scott Brusaw have grabbed the imagination of several million people, with an invention that could benefit the lives of hundreds of times that number…When I saw it, several questions occurred to me about things such as cost, practicality, durability, traction and (a bit later) the effect of dirt covering, power generation/distribution, and several more…Here’s a small selection of questions from a large number that have already been answered (and whose answers are kept current as the project evolves)

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National ‘Bicyclist Safety’ report gets actual safety trends backwards

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
bikereport1

By Michael Andersen, News Editor, BikePortland.org

A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association Monday is a perfect example of what can go wrong when safety experts get stuck behind their own windshields. The GHSA, an umbrella organization for state departments of transportation whose claims to fame include popularizing the phrase “aggressive pedestrians,” is surely staffed by smart people who are working hard to reduce injuries and deaths. But the problems in this report start right at the top.

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Aaron M. Renn, Urban Affairs Analyst and Founder of The Urbanophile

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Aaron M. Renn on The Infra Blog

Aaron M. Renn is The Urbanophile, an opinion-leading urban affairs analyst, entrepreneur, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive in the 21st century.

“Fundamentally, we have to take a hard look in the mirror and realize that, to some extent, the systems that we have in place in America are a reflection of the values of the people who live here…The public needs to take a look in the mirror and say this is what we’ve chosen as a society.”

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Frank Vacca, Chief Program Manager, California High-Speed Rail Authority

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
Frank Vacca, Chief Program Manager, CHSRA

As of Oct. 2012, Frank Vacca has been the Chief Program Manager for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. In his role, Vacca leads technical and engineering teams as they focus on delivering the high-speed rail project.

“I believe California will be the first high-speed-rail system in North America…We’ve overcome all the legal challenges before us…We have the first billion-dollar contract, and the designs are mature enough to start construction…So there’s nothing, no obstacles, in front of us right now.”

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Special Message from InfrastructureUSA: Moving Forward in 2015

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Support InfrastructureUSA

InfrastructureUSA is a powerful advocate for comprehensive infrastructure investment and the source for perspectives on all infra areas. Now, we need your assistance to keep this nonprofit project vibrant in 2015. We aim to increase our reach, expand our usership, and turn up the volume on the dialogue to restore America’s infrastructure. With your engagement, we can rebuild our failing infrastructure and bring about positive change throughout the nation.

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Obama’s Disappointing Legacy on Transportation Policy

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 14
For a long time, the nation’s transportation policy escaped critical scrutiny. Not any longer. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) — hardly a partisan anti-Obama cabal —has published a hard-hitting but carefully balanced critique of the Administration’s handling of the federal transportation program. Authored by Rebecca Strauss, associate editor of CFR’s “Renewing America” policy briefs, the article singles out a series of failed policy initiatives, notably Obama’s signature high-speed rail project (“it has turned into an embarrassment”), proposals for a $10 billion infrastructure bank and a $50 billion “Fix-it-First” program (both ignored by Congress); and failure to submit to Congress a legislative proposal for a multi-year surface transportation program for the first five-and-a-half years of the presidency.

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Highway Boondoggles + The Illiana Expressway

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Photo by Brad/Flickr Creative Commons License

(This post also appears in Going Places, a policy blog by CNT’s Jacky Grimshaw)I recently read the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s excellent new report, Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future. I couldn’t help thinking about the decision(s) looming in CNT’s backyard about the proposed Illiana Expressway.Highway Boondoggles focuses on the national and local mismanagement […]

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