House Bill Would Maintain Highway Spending, Cut TIGER Grants
Federal highway spending in fiscal 2013 would remain the same as the prior year, but there wouldn’t be funding for TIGER grants or high-speed rail, through a bill introduced in the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. The bill would provide $39.1 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for highway spending, and the funding level could change if Congress approves a multiyear surface transportation bill. There is also no language in the bill that would pull back highway contract authority from the states. “Making smart investments in the nation’s transportation infrastructure is one of the best ways to help provide an environment for American businesses to create jobs and economic growth. This bill targets taxpayer dollars where they can be best used to improve the reliability, safety, and efficiency of our transportation systems, while also holding the line on spending to help reduce the nation’s growing deficits,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
House transportation appropriations bill would cut TIGER funding in FY2013
Late last week, the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the fiscal-year 2013 budget for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) bill, which would establish spending levels for federal programs, according to a legislative update from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill on April 19. The THUD bill would provide $10.5 billion for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs, APTA officials said. The House would maintain spending for all Highway Trust Fund/Mass Transit Account contract authority programs at FY2012 levels. However, the General Fund programs would reduce funding for New Starts grants by $138 million to $1.8 billion, including $127.6 million for Small Starts. The Senate bill would increase New Starts funding by $89 million, bringing the FY2013 budget to $2 billion.
GOP unveils $51.6B DOT, HUD budget
As lawmakers debate a new road and public transit spending bill, Republican leaders in the House unveiled on Wednesday a $51.6 billion budget for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The House Appropriations Committee said Wednesday that it will consider its Transportation, Housing and Urban Development budget for fiscal year 2013 in a subcommittee hearing Thursday. The draft of the proposal released Wednesday contains a $3.9 billion reduction for the agencies from 2012 spending and it is $1.9 billion less thanPresidentObamarequested for the departments earlier this year. AppropriationsCommittee ChairmanHalRogers(R-Ala.) said his committee had to make “smart investments” in transportation and housing development.
New St. Croix bridge could bring big changes to western Wisconsin
The new St. Croix bridge is much more than just a bridge, it’s actually three major projects: firstly, there’s the bridge itself; second and third are the highway approaches from the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides. In preparation, the state of Wisconsin in the 1990s began widening eastbound Highway 64 towards New Richmond. Now that the project has the green light, the state plans to finish extending the highway several miles west to the bridge landing. That means building a new roadway through acres of lush farmland.
Planning for Central Corridor public art
A coalition designing a plan for art along the Central Corridor light rail line is planning four public meetings this week. Public Art St. Paul is among many the groups behind the Central Corridor Public Art Plan. President Christine Podas-Larson says the meetings will be a forum for artists to learn what social, environmental and other issues residents want reflected in art. What do they care about?” Podas-Larson said. “What are the social issues that are out there? why do people gather? What is the nature of gathering places? We really want to understand that better so that in this plan that can be expressed and have a meaningful place.”
Bellevue citizens group proposes deep-bore tunnel for light-rail line
Sound Transit could avoid disturbing South Bellevue residents — and save money — by putting its planned light-rail line into a nearly two-mile-long, deep-bore tunnel, a citizens’ group said Thursday. But the latest proposal from Building a Better Bellevue (BBB) was received with skepticism from some public officials, who questioned the group’s cost claims and said it may be a nonstarter because Bellevue and Sound Transit already have agreed on a different route. The adopted route, approved by the federal government, follows Bellevue Way Southeast and 112th Avenue Southeast before dipping into a short cut-and-cover tunnel through downtown. Sound Transit and Bellevue are discussing how to reduce costs of the line, portions of which may be elevated or in a trench.
Voters have turned against California bullet train, poll shows
A strong majority of voters is against the bullet train project just asGov.Brownis pressuring the Legislature to green-light the start of construction, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds. In a state renowned for betting big on mega-infrastructure projects, including the world’s most famous freeways and canals that move oceans of water across hundreds of miles, the fast-approaching decision on the bullet train project marks a historic Golden State moment.
MBTA ridership growth contributes to nationwide surge
The MBTA saw one of the highest growth rates in ridership in the first quarter of the year among America’s public transit systems, contributing to an overall 5 percent surge nationally, the American Public Transportation Association announced today. The MBTA’s rates of growth for light rail (12.6 percent), heavy rail (6.4 percent), and bus ridership (10.6 percent) placed it among the top 5 systems nationally in each of those categories, the association said. In the first three months of the year, Americans took a total of almost 2.7 billion trips on public transportation, according to the association. That was 125.7 million more than in the first quarter of 2011, a 5 percent increase. Nationwide, all modes of transportation saw increases in ridership. The MBTA is the country’s fifth busiest transit system, behind New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C., according to the T. The Green Line is the nation’s busiest light rail system.
US officials seek answers on Detroit rail project
Federal transportation officials could give final approval to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue light rail project in two months if city and state officials can provide answers to questions on costs and who will run the system.Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met Monday morning at City Hall with Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder and some business leaders involved in raising private funds to help build and operate the light rail. It would run between downtown and Detroit’s New Center area.Snyder says some of LaHood’s questions involve operating and capital costs.