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Inhofe predicts transportation bill will fall short

Click here for complete article > Tulsa World

June 1, 2011

Disappointed: The senator says he is disappointed, but the money isn't there for the six-year measureU.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, despite what another key player called a breakthrough on the next major transportation bill, predicted that effort will fall far short of a much-delayed six-year measure.

"It is going to end up a two-year bill," the Oklahoma Republican said, conceding he shares the disappointment that states and others will no doubt voice.

"We can't do it. The money is just not there."

To even get that scaled-down version through with the support of his fellow Republicans, Inhofe said he had to give in and make elimination of all earmarks part of the announcement issued last week by a group of key transportation players in the Senate…


Megaloads could skip U.S. on rail-truck Canada route

Click here for complete article > The Spokesman-Review

May 26, 2011

BOISE – What if giant loads of oil field equipment didn’t have to enter the United States to get from Asia to the Alberta oil sands project in Canada, and what if avoiding the U.S. actually cost less?

That’s the prospect being floated by a railroad company that owns a Canadian seaport. It’s adding a new wrinkle to the debate over equipment transports to the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world, where dozens of companies are rushing to develop an oil resource that’s eclipsed only by those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela…


EPA chief Lisa Jackson says natural gas production is ‘a good thing’

Click here for complete article > The Oklahoman

May 25, 2011

Lisa Jackson U.S. Environmental Protection Agency AdministratorThe head of the Environmental Protection Agency told a House committee Tuesday that she favored natural gas production and said she didn’t know of any “proven case” in which hydraulic fracturing had affected drinking water…


Midwest power transmission project targets Kansas wind

Click here for complete article > St. Louis Post Dispatch

May 29, 2011

A Houston company is in the early stages of planning one of the largest energy infrastructure projects the Midwest has seen in years - a $1.7 billion high-voltage transmission line connecting Kansas wind farms with consumers in St. Louis and throughout the Ohio River Valley.

The so-called Grain Belt Express transmission line, named to evoke images of train hopper cars rolling across the Plains, would stretch 550 miles from southwestern Kansas to southeastern Missouri. It would be capable of moving 3,500 megawatts of electricity - roughly enough to power 3.5 million homes - to eastern Missouri, Southern Illinois and beyond…


Wishing we were elsewhere

Heavy Lift

March/April 2011

With shippers losing confidence in the US permitting system for heavy loads, industry organizations are now calling for a more structured approach across the country...


Senate Finance Committee Weighs Several Options to Pay for Reauthorization

Click here for complete article > AASTHO Journal

May 20, 2011

The Senate Finance Committee examined numerous proposals to increase federal revenue for transportation projects during a Tuesday hearing, but no consensus appeared to come from the discussion among committee members.

Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, said in prepared remarks that the Highway Trust Fund faces significant challenges. He noted the fund relies on fuel taxes for 90% of its revenue, but high gas prices and fuel-efficient vehicles have reduced consumption and thus excise taxes collected per gallon.

"To get our budget in order, we will have to make a lot of difficult choices," Baucus said, alluding to the fact the federal government has reached its debt ceiling and the U.S. Treasury Department is now engaging in accounting measures to keep payments flowing until Congress ups the limit. "But we also need to look for ways to be creative. Because the longer we wait to address our aging infrastructure, the more it will cost in the long run. Every failed bridge and broken levee has a significant cost in terms of dollars and cents. More importantly, these tragedies can cost lives." ...


Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus, and Vitter Joint Statement on Transportation Authorization Legislation


U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works  

May 25, 2011

Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Committee, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, issued the following joint statement today regarding draft legislation to reauthorize the nation's surface transportation programs, entitled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).

Senators Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter said: "We are pleased to announce the great progress we have made on a new transportation authorization bill. Throughout the 25 transportation hearings convened by this Committee, including an unprecedented joint appearance by Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, we heard that there is tremendous support from businesses, workers, and the American people for a transportation bill that leverages our federal dollars while maintaining a responsible fiscal path.

It is no secret that the four of us represent very different political views, but we have found common ground in the belief that building highways, bridges, and transportation systems is an important responsibility of the federal government, in cooperation with state and local governments and the private sector.

We are working to maximize states' ability to plan long term and make wise infrastructure investments. Here are some of the highlights of our legislation:

  • Funds programs at current levels to maintain and modernize our critical transportation infrastructure;
  • Eliminates earmarks;
  • Consolidates numerous programs to focus resources on key national goals and reduce duplicative and wasteful programs;
  • Consolidates numerous programs into a more focused freight program that will improve the movement of goods;
  • Creates a new section called America Fast Forward, which strengthens the TIFIA program to stretch federal dollars further than they have been stretched before; and
  • Expedites project delivery without sacrificing the environment or the rights of people to be heard.

We know there is still much work to do, but we believe this is a very important step. In cooperation with the Finance Committee, we are exploring a wide range of options to support and sustain the Highway Trust Fund. Our goal is to attain the optimum achievable authorization length depending on the resources available. It is critical that this be done in a way that does not increase the deficit and can achieve bipartisan support."



MBUFA Releases Fact Sheet on VMT User Fees

Mileage Based User Fee Alliance

May 20, 2011