Could public-private funding improve U.S. transportation?
Our roads are crumbling and Congress is still battling over the transportation bill. Canada and Europe routinely fund transportation projects with public-private partnerships, also known as PPPs. What are PPPs and why is the U.S. only recently warming up to them? The Daily Circuit did an in-depth segment on transportation funding in February. Richard Geddes, Policy analysis and management associate professor at Cornell University, was part of that show and mentioned PPPs. We wanted to learn more as a PPP bridge is being built inVirginia.
Public-private deals seen boosting road projects
Financing for roads and highways is likely to attract a growing number of public-private partnerships once Congress passes federal transportation funding, a panel of experts at a Federal Association of Municipal Analysts conference in Las Vegas said on Friday. Congress last month opted for a 90-day extension of transportation funding amid a standoff between Democrats and Republicans over competing long-term proposals, casting uncertainty over the eventual level of federal spending for building and repairing highways.
City of Gonzales and Chevron Energy Solutions Announce Transformative Public-Private Partnership To Generate $4.7 Million in Energy Savings
The City of Gonzales announced the creation of a transformative public-private partnership aimed at significantly reducing the city’s energy and maintenance costs. The partnership provides for a number of public infrastructure improvements designed to reduce the City’s utility and maintenance costs. Improvements include upgrading all City-owned streetlights, constructing two solar installations to produce 462 kW of power, and upgrading the City’s water pumping station to help conserve water and electricity and enable the City to pump water at optimal times, when energy costs are lower. The work is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a more sustainable public utility model that can be replicated by other communities.
Sergio Marchionne commits $3M to Woodward light rail; Dan Gilbert promises support to United Way
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne pledged today to support the privatelybacked Woodward Avenue light-rail project, committing $3 million over five years for Chrysler to sponsor one of the stations on the 3.3-mile route from downtown Detroit to the city’s New Center. .. Last week, the M-1 Rail group said private companies and philanthropic groups had pledged $84 million toward the light-rail project, which has an estimated cost of $137 million.
Light-rail may be Bottineau Line option
While nothing is set in stone for a proposed transit corridor in the north Hennepin County suburbs, one thing is clear after recent public meetings: people prefer a train to a bus, even though the latter would cost less. “It’s fair to say that light-rail transit has more support than bus rapid transit,” saidJoeGladke, who manages engineering and transit planning for Hennepin County. He added, however, that opinions are “all over the place” on the different routes being studied. The next couple months will be critical for theBottineauTransitway, a 13-mile line that would connect downtown Minneapolis with either Maple Grove or Brooklyn Park. It’s the latest corridor being considered for light-rail transit, along with the Southwest line.
Central Corridor light-rail’s $40K bonus has critics in a huff
There’s a $40,000 bonus headed to Walsh Construction, the lead contractor on the easternmost seven miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line in St. Paul. But Tait Danielson-Castillo is dubious. The executive director of the Frogtown Neighborhood Association sits on one of several Construction Communication Committees that grades Walsh each quarter on safety, outreach and responsiveness to complaints. CallingWalshthe public face of the project, he and two others on a committee gave the contractor poor marks – ones and twos on a 10-point scale – when filling out evaluation cards April 11.
Firm sued in Minn. bridge failure bid on new St. Croix span
An engineering company linked to a fatal 2007 bridge collapse in Minnesota is seeking to design a major bridge crossing on the state’s border with Wisconsin. The Minnesota Department of Transportation said Wednesday that San Francisco-based URS Corp. is among the bidders to design a $571 million to $676 million span crossing the St. Croix River east of the Twin Cities. URS also is seeking a contract to review the bridge’s design if another firm is selected to design the structure.
Twin Cities’ rail-transit proposals could be on a collision course
Within the next year or two, there’s the potential for a three-train pileup at the state Capitol. Local officials from the southwest, northwest and east could be converging simultaneously at the Capitol seeking $100 million or more in state funding for each of three possible light-rail transit (LRT) lines – in the Southwest, Bottineau and Gateway corridors. That could be mission impossible if Republicans retain control of the Legislature in this fall’s election. In the current legislative session, both houses have resisted providing even a $25 million down payment on the state’s share of the cost for the proposed $1.25 billion line in the Southwest Corridor between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie.
Wisconsin ready to borrow $225 million for Stillwater bridge
A state commission has given the Wisconsin Department of Transportation the authority to borrow $225 million to fund the St. Croix River Crossing Project. The Wisconsin Building Commission, which is chaired by Gov. Scott Walker, approved the measure Wednesday, April 18. The state budget includes the bonding, but WisDOT needed approval from the building commission before borrowing the money. “This finally puts some dollars behind the commitments we’ve made,” said Dave Solberg, WisDOT’s manager on the project. Construction of the new bridge, which will replace the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge, is estimated to cost from $571 million to $676 million. That money is being split between the two states, with Wisconsin paying an estimated $256 million to $305 million. With approval to borrow $225 million, Wisconsin has secured 80 percent to 90 percent of what it needs based on the current cost estimate, Solberg said. He said the state has several million dollars already earmarked for the bridge.
Goodbye, gasoline: Some vehicle fleets make switch to compressed natural gas power
As companies with vehicle fleets cope with the rising cost of fuel, a decision that Delano-basedRandy’s Environmental Services made last fall looks like a smart move. In October,Randy’s became the first Minnesota waste-disposal company to replace some of its diesel trucks with compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) vehicles. At least three other Twin Cities-area waste haulers are also making the switch:Dick’s Sanitation of Lakeville, Waste Management of Blaine and Ace Sanitation of Ramsey.
Caltrain downtown extension gets top billing for top dollar
In all the talk lately of high-speed rail, Caltrain electrification and construction of the Transbay Terminal, the downtown extension of Caltrain (to be shared by high-speed rail) has seemingly been overlooked. No longer. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is making the extension one of its top projects for major federal funding, it said at a meeting Friday. A federal program that helps pay for big rail transit projects in metropolitan regions has helped pay forBARTto SFO, Silicon Valley light rail lines and the just startedBARTextension to the Berryessa neighborhood of San Jose. Muni’s Central Subway is expected to receive a federal funding guarantee of $942.2 million within months.