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Archive for the ‘Innovation Newsbriefs’ Category

Rethinking the Way Transportation Infrastructure Is Funded

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 3A
It may come as a surprise to you, but there is a quiet revolution in transportation funding underway these days. Faced with a depleted Highway Trust Fund and uncertain prospects for more money from a deficit-conscious Congress, many states are taking matters into their own hands and aggressively pursuing more fiscal independence.

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California’s Bullet Train Hobbled by Fresh Legal, Fiscal and Political Uncertainties

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 2
Barely recovered from the damaging effects of the Sacramento Court ruling denying the California High Speed Rail Authority access to Prop 1A bond funding, the bullet train project has had to face fresh challenges.

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States’ Growing Role in Funding the Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 1
As we enter the new year (celebrating our 25th year of publication), and as the deadline for reauthorization of the surface transportation program draws closer, those who want the new bill to sharply increase federal spending for transportation face a vexing reality. The Highway Trust Fund, a vital source of support for the federal surface transportation program for over half a century, no longer can keep up with the nation’s growing transportation needs. A combination of more fuel-efficient cars, rising CAFE standards and consumer embrace of hybrid vehicles has kept gas tax revenue stagnant, throwing the Trust Fund out of balance with the rising demand for transportation funds. A possible decline in per capita travel could cause the future imbalance to grow even larger.

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A Major Setback for California’s High Speed Train

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 16
The future of the California High Speed Rail project hangs in a precarious balance as a result of two rulings handed down by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny on November 25. “The Judge’s ruling will prevent the [California High-Speed Rail] Authority from spending bond measure funds for construction until the funding plan is brought into compliance,” said Michael Brady co- lead attorney on the case…The Authority’s Chairman, Dan Richard, tried to cast the Court decision in a more positive light. “The judge did not invalidate the bonds as approved by the voters,” he said. “Like all transformative projects, we understand that there will be many challenges that will be addressed as we go forward in building the nation’s first high-speed rail system.”

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Financing Transportation Infrastructure the Traditional Way

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 15
…a transition from federal funding to public and private financing of new transportation infrastructure is already well underway —and it is likely to continue and grow given persistent deficits and pressures to reduce federal discretionary spending. Automatic sequester cuts which are to rise from $84 billion in 2013 to $109 billion in 2014, could place ever tighter constraints on government’s ability to increase spending for infrastructure in the years ahead.

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How to Avert a Transportation Funding Crisis

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 13 (update)
In the longer run, greater state fiscal autonomy and financial sophistication could modify the federal-state relationship in transportation. There would be less need for direct financial aid to state DOTs and more emphasis on credit assistance to support transportation investments of truly national scope and significance. (High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor comes to mind). At the same time, federal oversight of state transportation programs could be reduced to reflect the smaller federal fiscal footprint.

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Tolling the Interstate Highways

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 14
Robert Poole, co-founder of the libertarian Reason Foundation and its Director of Transportation Policy has produced a study that is bound to create more than a ripple inside the transportation community…The study makes only one major policy recommendation: that Congress allow tolling of Interstate highways “for the specific purpose of reconstruction and widening with toll revenue used only for those purposes.” The author concludes that permission from Congress is “the one needed enabler… to begin this transition.”

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A Major Court Rebuke for the California Bullet Train

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 12
The California High Speed Rail project was dealt a serious blow when Judge Michael P. Kenny of the Sacramento Superior Court ruled on August 16 that the California High-Speed Rail Authority “abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law.”

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Are We Ignoring the Obvious Solution to the Transportation Funding Crisis? (Cont’d)

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 11
The inability of Congress to pass even a simple annual appropriations bill does not bode well for a congressional agreement on the much more complex and costly multi-year surface transportation bill that must be reauthorized by October 2014.

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Are We Ignoring the Obvious Solution to the Transportation Funding Crisis?

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 24, No. 10

The July 23 hearing on the Highway Trust Fund made it painfully clear that neither the government witnesses —U.S. DOT’s Undersecretary for Policy Polly Trottenberg and CBO official Kim Cawley — nor any of the participating members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, had any clue as to how to pay for the hundreds of billions of dollars that transportation boosters say are needed to fund the next reauthorization.

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