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This harsh winter has taken a serious toll on our roads and bridges, adding to the potholes and cracks in an already-damaged infrastructure across our nation. This spring and summer will be absolutely crucial for the construction industry to repair the damage and continue building a transportation infrastructure for the 21st century. Unfortunately, inaction in Washington has led to uncertainty and hesitation from the industry because of the pending shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund and potential loss of federal transportation assistance which makes up over half of state capital investment in highway bridge improvement projects.
In late April, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx presented Congress with the Obama administration’s four year, $302 billion transportation GROW AMERICA Act, ostensibly to address the substantial shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and provide an additional $87 billion to address the backlog of structurally deficient bridges and aging transit systems across the country. As with most things in Washington, D.C., the devil is in the details.
Senators writing a six-year surface transportation bill are planning to keep status quo spending levels and skip an administration proposal to boost public transit programs and update the nation’s aging infrastructure.
All over the United States, construction crews are shaking off the winter cold and gearing up for a busy season repairing and expanding our transportation infrastructure. Yet, one ominous question remains: Will the Highway Trust Fund have enough money to keep them on the job?
A recent report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers should concern the public because it highlights the crumbling condition of our nation’s infrastructure. Delayed maintenance and underinvestment in several major infrastructure categories resulted in a dismal overall grade of D+. The large number of structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. and our declining road conditions are not only dangerous for users but also threaten future economic prosperity.
If your boss handed you a to-do list that had projects to work on from 25 years ago, you’d be fairly concerned about the prospect of getting all of them done. It would be even worse if the boss kept giving you new projects that also needed to be completed. While it may be a bit of a stretch, this is essentially the problem the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee had to solve in writing the latest Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
Even after almost 10 years of unveiling the latest consumer technology at the International CES, innovation and the ways it keeps us connected — no matter where we are — continues to amaze me. But innovation can also produce what economists refer to as negative externalities: an incessant urge to stay connected, even while we’re driving. And that connection can come at the expense of safety — for us, our families riding in our cars, the strangers with whom we’re sharing the road and everyone who’s hoofing it along sidewalks and crosswalks.
Our nation’s ports and waterways are vital to American competitiveness. They employ more than 13 million people and transport millions of products to markets across the globe.
Ours is a nation with a strong maritime heritage, and it is our ports and waterways that have linked communities with one another and to the world.
There’s no disputing that our nation’s infrastructure requires improvements. For many Americans, an overly lengthy commute to work is proof enough that we need to do better. Organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers regularly confirm this perception when they score our infrastructure with grades barely above failing.
Distracted driving has been a growing public safety concern for me, as it has for the Department of Transportation, safety advocates and the countless families who fear losing a loved one because of a driver focused on something other than driving. Distractions have always been present in the car, but the face of this problem has completely changed with the evolution of modern technology. Now, drivers can talk, text and search for information on a smartphone, further drawing their attention away from the road.
The recent mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is headed towards tragedy on countless levels. It is tragic in the number of lives lost and in the rippling waves of emotional and psychological damage that has been — and will continue to be — inflicted upon the family members and loved ones of the passengers aboard Flight 370.
Bike sharing systems would be among the winners under draft legislation extending a laundry list of tax incentives that Senate tax writers approved last week.
Public transit advocates were blindsided when House Republicans introduced a five-year highway bill two years ago that proposed eliminating the Highway Trust Fund’s transit account.
Critics of the Obama administration’s bailout of the domestic auto industry are questioning whether regulators may have ignored safety defects in General Motors Co. vehicles while the carmaker was under taxpayer ownership.
The recall of about 1.7 million General Motors Co. vehicles for ignition switch defects linked to 13 deaths has renewed congressional scrutiny of the federal agency charged with regulating highway safety.
This month, transit agencies around the country are in D.C. for the American Public Transportation Association legislative conference. An issue that surfaced in many of our meetings is “patent trolls” — shell companies that purchase patents with no intention of innovating or inventing, but rather, suing those who do — and how they are crippling transit agencies with meritless threats.
The crisis in Ukraine has injected a new element of Cold War politics, as well as a supporting cast of European diplomats and Washington lobbyists, into the debate on Capitol Hill over natural-gas exports.
European countries seeking to ease their dependence on Russian natural gas may discover that their salvation lies deep beneath their native soil.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s proposed tax overhaul got high marks last week from federal transportation leaders for committing to prop up the ailing Highway Trust Fund, but it is drawing criticism from state and local officials who depend on municipal bonds to finance infrastructure projects.