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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Guest on The Infra Blog: Dan Sullivan, Mayor of Anchorage

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Dan Sullivan, Mayor of Anchorage

Mayor Sullivan was elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 1999 where he served three terms, including serving as Chairman during the 2006-2007 term. He was elected Mayor in 2009 and re-elected to his second and final term in 2012.

“Here we are, a country with pretty extreme debt, at these days $17 trillion and counting, so there’s going to be more and more pressure not to spend money rather than pressure to spend more money…I think our dependency on federal dollars coming in is going to decline, and so we just have to start taking care of our own needs.”

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Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Figure ES-2. Vehicle-Miles Traveled per Capita in the United States, 1946-2013

U.S. PIRG EDUCATION FUND
Americans drive no more in total now than we did in 2005, and no more on average than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term as president. The recent stagnation in driving comes on the heels of a six decade-long Driving Boom that saw steady, rapid increases in driving and congestion across the United States, along with the investment of more than $1 trillion of public money in highways…But even though the Driving Boom is now over, state and federal governments continue to pour vast sums of money into the construction of new highways and expansion of old ones—at the expense of urgent needs such as road and bridge repairs, improvements in public transportation and other transportation priorities.

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Strong Towns: Introduction to the Curbside Chat

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Strong Towns: Introduction to the Curbside Chat

The Strong Towns Curbside Chat is an eye-opening presentation explaining why cities of all kinds are struggling financially and how we can work to change things for the better, one block at a time.

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Rudy Malfabon, Director, Nevada Department of Transportation

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Rudy Malfabon, Director, Nevada DOT

Rudy Malfabon has worked for the Nevada Department of Transportation for more than 25 years. As director, he is responsible for the daily operations of the department that has an annual operating budget of over $800 million and close to 1,750 employees.

“I think that transportation infrastructure is an investment in the economy and it grows the economy. It pays back dividends. Not just the jobs that are created during construction, but the jobs that are sustained by businesses that are improved in access by that transportation.”

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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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