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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Fueling Road Spending with Federal Stimulus

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Figure 1: Federal Highway Grants and Spending

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO
ECONOMIC RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
During the Great Recession, a surge in federal government spending was one option frequently called for as a means to sustain and stimulate the economy. Given the substantial perceived need for infrastructure improvements, many commentators argued that highways should be near the front of the line for any stimulus dollars. It is no surprise then that the 2009 fiscal stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contained $48 billion in transportation funding, $27 billion specifically for roads. These funds generally took the form of grants to state governments and were in addition to the usual federal transportation grants sent to state governments every year from the national Highway Trust Fund. Thanks to ARRA, federal highway grants to states jumped nearly 75% in 2009. Still, road spending by state and local governments nationwide—which is the source of virtually all road spending in the United States—was roughly flat between 2008 and 2011.

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The High-Speed Rail Debate Revisited

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 12
Two recent columns in the New York Times (both reprinted below) have revived the semi-dormant debate about the future of high-speed rail in America. The first column, by New York Times correspondent Ron Nixon, casts a skeptical eye on the Administration’s high-speed rail program and concludes that “despite the administration spending nearly $11 billion since 2009….the projects have gone mostly nowhere…”

The second column, closely following the first, is an opinion piece by the Times’ editorial board. The editors may have felt obliged to respond to the highly critical assessment of the White House initiative by one of their own reporters.

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When to Use Existing Pavement in Highway Maintenance

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Photo of 35-year-old unbonded PCC overlay on I-90.

THE SECOND STRATEGIC HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM (SHRP 2)
This report documents the findings from the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) R23 project, Using Existing Pavement in Place and Achieving Long Life. This project falls within the SHRP 2 Renewal area, which focuses on improving the ability of highway agencies to design and construct long-lasting highway projects with minimal disruption to the traveling public. The project found that construction costs and time can be greatly reduced if the existing pavement can be used in place for part of the rehabilitation solution.

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The Changing Nature of State-Federal Relations in Transportation

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 11
With the Republicans likely to control the Senate next year and the presidential elections casting a shadow over any new proposal to raise taxes, there will be a huge temptation for Congress to kick the can down the road once again — beyond the presidential election and into the next Congress. Remember, it took three years and eight short-term extensions to pass the last reauthorization, MAP-21!

Fortunately, many individual states are trying to compensate for the lack of congressional action on long term funding by raising additional revenue of their own. Our survey has identified more than 30 states that have launched transportation-related fiscal initiatives in the past two years.

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How to Invest in Fixed-Guideway Transit

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Figure S.1. Influence of variables for ridership.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
Fixed-guideway transit projects, such as urban rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, are among the largest infrastructure investments that cities and metropolitan areas make. With capital costs ranging from tens of millions to several billion dollars, decisions on whether to build a fixed-guideway transit project, and what kind of project to build, are not taken lightly by local officials or their funding partners. Such decisions may follow many years of planning and analysis at the system, corridor, and project levels. It can cost millions of dollars just to develop and apply the analysis tools that are typically used to evaluate alternative projects.

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Frank Moretti, Director of Policy and Research, TRIP

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Frank Moretti, Director of Policy and Research, TRIP

Frank Moretti is the director of policy and research for TRIP – a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that prepares reports on a variety of transportation issues, including traffic congestion, traffic safety, road and bridge conditions, transportation planning and air quality.

“The nation is increasingly reliant on its rural economy…and as that dynamic is changing we wanted to take a look at the nation’s transportation system and see if we have in place a rural transportation system that can support not only the rural economy, but the nation’s economy moving forward.”

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Open Letter from Secretary Foxx and 11 Former DOT Secretaries Urging Congress to Address Long-Term Transportation Needs

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

As Congress considers legislation to avoid a shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and 11 of his predecessors offered the following open letter to Congress. In addition to Secretary Foxx, Secretaries Ray LaHood, Mary Peters, Norman Mineta, Rodney Slater, Federico Peña, Samuel Skinner, Andrew Card, James Burnley, Elizabeth Dole, William Coleman and Alan Boyd all signed the letter. Their message: Congress’ work doesn’t end with the bill under consideration. Transportation in America still needs a much larger, longer-term investment.

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Rural America’s Rental Housing

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Too many rural homes are unaffordable or substandard

NATIONAL RURAL HOUSING COALITION
For several decades, communities in rural America have struggled to provide access to clean, decent, and affordable housing. With lower incomes and higher poverty rates, rural renters—including aging seniors, individuals and families with very low incomes, persons with disabilities, and farmworkers—face especially daunting barriers to affordable housing.

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AASHTO’s “Nation at a Crossroads” Infographic Calls for Action

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Without Federal Investment States Can

The infographic reveals a slew of alarming facts and predictions centering on the depletion of MAP-21 funding by Fall of 2014, which will lead to states being responsible for 100% of transportation funding. Did you know that, already, 45% of Americans don’t have access to transit? Did you know that 1 in 4 of our bridges is in need of significant repair? While states have come up with some viable funding mechanisms of their own, it’s clearly time for the Fed to step in and replenish this vital source of transportation funding.

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Making the Grade: A National Six-Point Plan to Regain America’s Infrastructure Leadership

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
SPECIFIC ECONOMIC IMPACTS BY 2020

AUTODESK
Making The Grade represents the consensus of many who attended the meeting “Executing a Sustainable Infrastructure Vision” convened by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) initially in 2012. The Making the Grade roundtable that followed in 2013 was comprised of experts from 45 companies representing the scope of the U.S. infrastructure industry—planning, engineering, construction, and technology—and their counterparts from local governments, professional organizations, think tanks, financial advisors, academic institutions, and others. Participants agreed to an ambitious goal: describe a new vision and path forward for regaining and sustaining America’s public infrastructure leadership.

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