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Infra Views

NYC: Audit Report on the Maintenance of Bike Share Equipment

Friday, December 19th, 2014
Agency Response Of the eight recommendation made in this audit, seven were directed to NYCBS and one to DOT. In its response, NYCBS generally agreed with 6 of the 7 recommendations made to the company and did not address our recommendation that it review its operating practices for addressing DOT complaints to ensure that station and bike cleanliness is addressed in a timely manner. DOT agreed to implement the one recommendation directed to the agency.

THE CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER
During the audit period, NYCBS failed to maintain Citi Bike program equipment (bikes and stations) as required by its contract with DOT and its own internal operating procedures. Specifically, NYCBS did not: (1) perform maintenance checks on all bicycles on a monthly basis; (2) perform station inspections twice per week; (3) ensure that on-street maintenance checks of bikes were properly documented; (4) respond within the required timeframes to cleanliness issues with bicycles and stations after discovery or notification of problems; and (5) maintain connectivity of stations to its main database at required levels. As a result of these deficiencies, the riding public is exposed to increased safety risks and customer satisfaction is potentially jeopardized.

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More Wind, Less Warming

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Figure ES-1. A Path to 30 Percent Wind Electricity

ENVIRONMENT TEXAS
American wind power is already significantly reducing global warming pollution. In 2013 alone, wind power averted 132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – as much as would be produced by 34 typical coal-fired power plants. But with the United States and the world needing to move toward a future of 100 percent clean energy in order to prevent the worst impacts of global warming, America must do much more.

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Freeing the Grid: Net Metering & Interconnection Best Practices

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
definitions

INTERSTATE RENEWABLE ENERGY COUNCIL
VOTE SOLAR
One significant lesson that is apparent upon reviewing the wide variety of existing state standards is that inconsistency is the nemesis of clean energy development. It creates confusion among consumers, undermines the ability of businesses to operate efficiently across utility service territories or state lines,
and increases costs to all program participants — utilities, consumers, businesses and commission staff — by forcing these stakeholders to master the idiosyncrasies of each individual state’s programs.

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Transportation Infrastructure Investment: Impacts of the Federal Highway and Mass Transit Program

Monday, December 15th, 2014
Funding Assumptions for the Cases ($B)

TRANSPORTATION CONSTRUCTION COALITION
Federal transportation spending expands the capital stock of the US economy, drives the production and delivery of goods and services, and positively affects business and household incomes. It also enhances the transportation system’s operational capacity by reducing travel times and costs. This results in greater accessibility for individuals, households and businesses, more efficient delivery of goods and services, improved life styles and standards of living, and safer roadways.

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The Ohio River: Modeling Waterway Transportation

Friday, December 12th, 2014
Figure A: Ohio River Commodity Traffic

MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE CONSORTIUM
The inland waterway system of the U.S. is a vital network for transporting key goods and commodities from the point of production to manufacturers and consumers. Shipping materials via the inland waterways is arguably the most economical and environmentally friendly option (compared to hauling freight by trains or railways). Despite the advantages the inland waterways enjoys over competing modes, key infrastructure – such as locks and dams, which help to control water levels on a number of rivers and make navigation possible – is declining. Limited funds have been allocated to make the necessary repairs to lock and dam facilities. Over the past 10 years Inland Waterways Trust Fund resources (which historically funded maintenance and improvement projects) has steadily declined.

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The Macro View on Micro Units

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Micro Units

URBAN LAND INSTITUTE
A common perception exists that unit sizes in new apartments have been shrinking as developers seek higher density and higher revenue per square foot to offset rising land value and construction costs and to hold monthly rent at an affordable level relative to income. The ultimate incarnation of this trend has been the introduction—or the reintroduction—of very small units, often referred to as micro units.

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The Impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Electricity Generation and Water Use in Texas

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
Figure 3. Baseline power generation fuel mix, where coal is gradually replaced by gas and wind power (Units = GWh/yr)

CNA CORPORATION
To determine how Texas could be affected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan (CPP), we applied CNA’s Electricity-Water-Climate power sector model to evaluate the potential impacts. We find that under the CPP, the state will save water and reduce levels of conventional air pollutants. In addition, the state will be able to meet the policy’s targets with modest incremental effort even though electricity demand is expected to increase by 25 percent.

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Effects of Gas Prices on Transit Ridership

Monday, December 8th, 2014
Figure 3. Boston: Retail Gasoline Price and Unlinked Passenger Trips for Bus

MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
Between 1999 and 2011 consumers in the U.S. experienced an unprecedented increase in and fluctuation of gasoline prices. In July 2008, gasoline prices exceeded $4 per gallon, marking the highest price in real value in U.S. history. In the same year, the nation’s transit ridership reached 10.7 billion trips, the highest level since the Federal- Aid Highway Act of 1956…The rising gasoline prices were considered to have resulted in substantial changes in travel behavior in terms of trip taking, choices of travel destinations, selection of vehicles for higher fuel efficiency, or travel mode. A change in travel mode from driving to transit results in a higher level of transit demand and ridership for transit agencies. With this background, gasoline price increases in the last decade have generated substantial interest in developing a better understanding of how people respond to fluctuations in gasoline prices—particularly with respect to switching modes from driving to public transit—so that transit agencies can better prepare for higher demand for their services during periods of increased gasoline prices.

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Bridges to New Solar Business Models

Friday, December 5th, 2014
Rocky Mountain Institute: Solar Business

ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE
Over the past decade, distributed solar photovoltaics (DPV) have experienced unprecedented growth. DPV is now on track to achieve significant scale in many segments of the U.S. market…Supportive federal, state, and local policies have to date spurred DPV’s development in many U.S. markets. However, many of these policies were designed for early market support of an emerging technology, not as long-term solutions. Thus as the DPV market has grown, so too has conflict around early-market policies. In many states, regulators and policy makers are now reexamining the policy environment as solar adoption reaches net energy metering (NEM) market caps or incentive program funding is exhausted.

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Transporting Crude Oil in New York State

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Table 1: Progress on Recommended Federal Actions

NEW YORK STATE ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (NYSERDNA)
In recognition of the increased risk of accidents and public concerns associated with the significant volume of crude oil transported through New York State, on January 28, 2014, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 125 (EO 125), directing state agencies to immediately conduct a coordinated review of New York State’s crude oil incident prevention and response capacity.

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