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Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category

Attend the ACEC Annual Convention and Legislative Summit: April 17-20, Washington, DC

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
2016 ACEC Convention and Legislative Summit

2016 ACEC Convention and Legislative SummitThe 2016 ACEC Annual Convention and Legislative Summit is coming to Washington, DC this Spring. Attendees can expect a wide variety of presentations, forums, keynote speeches, educational sessions and much more.

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New York State’s Top Transportation Issues

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
New York State: Cost to Motorists of Deficient Roads

TRIP Executive Summary Eight years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, New York’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in New York, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Empire […]

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Guest on The Infra Blog: Richard Harnish, Executive Director, Midwest High Speed Rail Association

Monday, February 1st, 2016
Richard Harnish on The Infra Blog

Richard Harnish is the Executive Director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association (MHSRA), a member-supported non-profit organization advocating for fast, frequent and dependable trains linking the entire Midwest.

Here in Illinois we’ve been seeing a lot more interest in doing true high speed rail and we think we’re close to an important next step there. And I was out in Sacramento two months ago and touched the first car shell for that line. That’s something that most people don’t know: those trains really are under construction, and the stations are under construction. So we’re very close to a major tipping point.

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Twelve Innovations in Transportation Policy States Should Consider in 2016

Friday, January 29th, 2016
A note on state funding

TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA
To remain economically competitive, states must invest in infrastructure. States are also well positioned to be incubators of innovative transportation policy and funding solutions. Recent history shows willingness by state legislatures — regardless of political party — to step up and provide the necessary resources to invest in transportation systems. With 12 states successfully taking action in 2015, last year had the largest number of increases in state transportation funding since Transportation for America began tracking this phenomenon several years ago.

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Menino Survey of Mayors

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
Biggest Local Challenge From a State or National Issue

BOSTON UNIVERSITY
INITIATIVE ON CITIES
Mayors overwhelmingly believe that physical infrastructure is one of the greatest challenges facing their city. Mayors were asked to identify the greatest challenge they face which falls outside their control—in other words, a challenge that is typically the purview of other levels of government. “Think about the next five years and beyond. What ONE trend or issue that you primarily think should be a state and/or federal matter will pose the biggest challenge to your city?” Importantly, this question did not query mayors about challenges to their cities generally, which was explored in last year’s report.

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NREL: Renewable Energy & Small Businesses

Monday, January 25th, 2016
NREL: Renewable Energy & Small Businesses

As part of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot to help advance the clean energy economy, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) is funding up to $20 million worth of vouchers to eligible small businesses. These vouchers allow businesses to access world-class researchers, facilities, and expertise at national laboratories across the country. The Wind and Water Power Program at NREL is well positioned to work for small businesses both as part of and outside of the SBV. This video, featuring Dr. Robert Thresher, presents NREL’s experience and capabilities in supporting small businesses in both the wind and water power sectors.

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Highway Boondoggles 2: More Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future

Friday, January 22nd, 2016
Figure ES-1. Federal Highway Trust Fund Highway Excise Tax and User Fee Revenues and Highway Expenditures, 2000-2013 (actual) and 2014-2025 (projected)

U.S. PIRG EDUCATION FUND
FRONTIER GROUP
America is in a long-term transportation funding crisis. Our roads, bridges and transit systems are falling into disrepair. Demand for public transportation, as well as safe bicycle and pedestrian routes, is growing. Traditional sources of transportation revenue, especially the gas tax, are not keeping pace with the needs. Even with the recent passage of a five-year federal transportation bill, the future of transportation funding remains uncertain.

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Riding Tandem: Cycling & Gentrification in Chicago and Portland

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Figure 2: Change in community composition 1990-2010 and bicycle infrastructure in Chicago

MCGILL UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF URBAN PLANNING
Bicycles have great potential to be an equitable, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation. Cycling infrastructure, including lanes, parking, or bicycle share programs, can help foster a safe and inviting environment where users of all abilities have high access to opportunities and services. Yet cycling advocacy is increasingly being critiqued from an ethical perspective.

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Public Ownership of West Virginia Water

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
map of recent spills and locations of potential threats to water supplies along the Kanawha and Elk Rivers, which includes Freedom Industries

BOSTON ACTION RESEARCH
CIVIL SOCIETY INSTITUTE
The problem comes down to this: Private water utilities are competing with publicly owned and operated water utilities for public dollars because public financing is cheaper than private financing. Moreover, the evidence clearly shows that private water companies are no more efficient and, at times, less efficient than public companies in delivering water services. The end result is that the promised advantages of privatization (access to new financing and better service) have not materialized. The bottom line is that there is no advantage to having a private water company over a public water company in terms of service delivery. And public water companies have a big advantage in terms of cost. Private companies have a fiduciary responsibility to stockholders to pay dividends, which ultimately results in higher water bills for customers; public water companies pay no dividends.

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Interregional Travel: A New Perspective for Policy Making

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
FIGURE 2-1 Factors contributing to increases in long-distance person miles of travel (PMT), 1977–1995. (Derived from Pisarski 2013.)

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
This study reviews the demand for interregional travel in the United States and the uncertainties that arise in supplying transportation services and infrastructure to accommodate it. Consideration is given to relevant experience in other countries, especially in providing intercity passenger rail. A central finding is that appropriate analytical tools and up-to-date data on long-distance travel in the United States are lacking, which complicates decisions about how to invest in the country’s interregional corridors in ways that will serve future travelers most effectively and further other policy goals such as protecting the environment, enhancing safety, and curbing energy use.

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