Infrastructure News, February 17th

Digging Deeper Into 2013 Budget

 PresidentObamahas laid out his proposed federal budget for 2013. The $ 3.8 trillion plan calls for new government spending, including stimulus-style spending on roads. It also seeks to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Obama’s budget would increase spending on transportation slightly — but by far less than the president has previously requested. NPR’s Brian Naylor reports the president wants “job-creating infrastructure investments.”

President’s Budget: High Speed Rail, Fixing Roads & Bridges, Complete Streets, TIGER Grants

House Speaker John Boehner delayed action on GOP transportation bill, the Associated Press reported. Republicans had hoped to pass the five year, $260 billion bill this week, but Boehner said that action would be delayed until after next week’s congressional recess.

 Will a mileage tax replace the gas tax?

 One of the main sources of money for Minnesota road and bridge construction is slowly running out of gas. Literally. Money collected from the 20-cents-a-gallon state motor fuels tax has flattened out after decades of steady increases. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other elected officials say the state needs to explore an alternative funding source called a mileage fee. Fifteen states and the federal government are already experimenting with the mileage fee idea.

 MnDOT looking for feedback on transportation plan

The state of Minnesota is looking for some direction when it comes to transportation issues, representatives of the Minnesota Department of Transportation said during an open house Wednesday at the Marshall-Lyon County Library.The open house was held to give members of the public a chance to give feedback on how the Department of Transportation should update its 20-year Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan. The plan, said MnDOT District 8 Engineer Jon Huseby, is less about specific projects or than it is about shaping transportation policies for the whole state.”It’s going to affect how we make decisions down the road,” said Mark Nelson of MnDOT.Huseby emphasized the “multimodal” part of the plan, which means it will include all forms of transportation, from pedestrian walkways to railroads, highways and aviation.

CTA hires firm to explore public-private Red Line deal

The Chicago Transit Authority has some big jobs that need to be done, jobs that will cost a lot of money. In a financial climate that has seen revenue from taxes dry up, the CTA has turned to private firms to look for ways to come up with the money to do the work.One method that the outside firms will explore is having private entities pay a portion of the cost — public-private partnerships. While the idea is not a new one, the CTA’s aggressive commitment to exploring it is.”Traditional federal, state and local funding sources are uncertain, and may be insufficient to meet our needs within the next several years,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said last week in announcing that the agency was hiring the outside firms. “This agreement will allow the CTA to pursue innovative ideas and possible new funding sources to complete some of the important projects we have planned.”The lead financial adviser is Goldman Sachs. Two other firms are Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets LLC and Estrada Hinojosa Co., in Dallas. The American Public Transportation Association’s task force on public-private partnerships said common features of the deals typically involve one or more of the following: funding, financing, planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance.

S.F. Mayor Lee Announces Key Federal Support for Central Subway

On Tuesday, Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that the federal government has once again demonstrated strong support for planned improvements to public transportation in San Francisco. President Barack Obama’s federal budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013 includes a recommendation for $150 million in funding for the Central Subway Project and $10 million to implement bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue. “These crucial investments in our City’s transportation infrastructure continue to receive strong support from the highest levels of the federal government,” said Mayor Lee. “We thank President Obama, Democratic Leader Pelosi, Senators Feinstein and Boxer and all our federal partners for their consistent leadership and their commitment to improving public transit, creating jobs and investing in San Francisco.” According to an FTA report, the Central Subway Project is one of only six projects nationwide that are on track to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement, the formal agreement of federal financial assistance through New Starts, by the end of FY2013.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has shortlisted five design-build teams       

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has shortlisted five design-build teams in response to its first design-build project for the first segment of the California High-Speed Train System in California’s Central Valley.  The shortlisted teams are: California Backbone Builders, composed ofFerrovialAgromanand Acciona California High-Speed Rail Partners, composed of Fluor Corp., Skanska and PCL Constructors, California High-Speed Ventures, composed of Kiewit Corp., Granite Construction and Comsa EMTE, Dragados SA, Flatiron Construction Corp. and Shimmick Construction and Tutor Perini Corp., Zachry Construction and Parsons Corp.

Transportation Secretary LaHood tours Siemens light-rail facility

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood toured the Siemens    Siemens Latest from The Business Journals Telecom giants flock to Skorpios TechnologiesArena, transpo facility renderings expected; LaHood to speakTransportation secretary to visit Siemens in Sacramento Follow this company light-rail vehicle manufacturing plant in Sacramento Wednesday.LaHood met with workers and discussed the Obama administration’s policies on rail development with Siemens vice president of strategic business development Robin Stimson. LaHood is on a West Coast tour describing the administration’s initiatives on infrastructure investments. The federal government is a major investor in projects for which Siemens builds products.

About Polly Snider

I have been a reference librarian at Dorsey for 16 years. As a part of that position I have drafted other practice group e-newsletters and have enjoyed doing so. This practice group is on an exciting initiative and I look forward to participating.
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