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Entries in infrastructure (10)

Wednesday
May242017

Trump slips infrastructure plan into budget

Politico

May 24, 2017

The Trump administration finally laid out its long-promised vision for a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan Tuesday — with nary a peep of fanfare and the president not even in the country to talk it up.

It arrived as a six-page fact sheet packaged with President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion proposed 2018 budget. As expected, it laid out a vision for $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next decade on needs such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and expanded broadband, along with incentives for states, cities and private investors and efforts to reduce the burdens of regulations. 

“The administration’s goal is to seek long-term reform on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered and maintained,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters Tuesday. She said the administration expects “to have more details forthcoming,” including a legislative package later this year, but described the concepts handed out.

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Tuesday
May232017

Infrastructure Triage: Fix the Bottlenecks

Real Clear Policy

May 23, 2017

Our nation’s economy relies on the continuous and efficient movement of goods and people, but the current condition of our nation’s infrastructure puts that at risk. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2017 report card. Among the recipients of the lowest marks were the nation’s highways, which the report described as “often crowded, frequently in poor condition, chronically underfunded, and are becoming more dangerous.”

For decades, we have relied on the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded primarily by the federal fuel tax, to help repair and maintain our nation’s roads and bridges. But the federal fuel tax has remained flat since 1993 and has been unable to keep pace with demands. By 2020, the Highway Trust Fund — originally intended to be a sustainable revenue source financed by users of the system — will be insolvent. And despite attempts to make up the shortfall, the fund is running on fumes today.

Tuesday
May022017

Trump Open to Raising Gas Tax, Says Truckers Back Higher Price for Highways

Transport Topics

May 2, 2017

President Donald Trump said he’s willing to raise the U.S. gas tax to fund infrastructure development and called the tax-overhaul plan he released last week the beginning of negotiations.

“It’s something that I would certainly consider,” Trump said May 1 in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office, describing the idea as supported by truckers “if we earmarked money toward the highways.”

Trump released a tax plan April 26 that would cut the maximum corporate tax rate to 15% from the current 35%. The same reduced rate would apply to partnerships and other “pass-through” businesses

He said he is willing to lose provisions of his tax plan in negotiations with Congress but refused to specify which parts. He also repeated his call for a “reciprocal tax,” which would be aimed at imposing levies on imports to match the rates that each country charges on U.S. exports.

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Tuesday
Apr112017

Why Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan could wind up in a ditch

Politico

April 11, 2017

President Donald Trump is counting on his $1 trillion infrastructure proposal to produce the kind of bipartisan legislative victory that has eluded him on health care and pretty much everything else.

Instead, he’s running into familiar roadblocks: suspicious Democrats, a divided GOP and questions about the math.

Trump’s plan, expected to be released as early as May, has already faced months of skepticism from some conservative deficit hawks — even though it’s likely to call for far less direct federal spending than its eye-popping price tag implies. Meanwhile, Democrats are crying foul at suggestions that the blueprint will include hefty tax breaks for private investors and a shredding of permit requirements.

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Wednesday
Mar292017

Optimism rising for infrastructure deal

The Hill

March 29, 2017

President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan is grabbing some of the spotlight in Washington after Republicans’ bruising defeat on healthcare.

The rebuilding package was expected to sit on the sidelines until the fall, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill think that timeline could be accelerated with more room on the legislative agenda and an administration eager to score a victory.

“This just leapfrogged,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who was on Trump’s transition team, told The Hill. “This is something the president has wanted to do. But with healthcare pushed to the back burner, I believe that it’s infrastructure that gains steam.”

“It moves everything up if you take [healthcare] out,” said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s subcommittee on transportation and infrastructure.

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Friday
Mar102017

America's Infrastructure Was Just Graded A D+ — Here’s What We Should Do About It

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

March 10, 2017

Today, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its latest Infrastructure Report Card, a periodic assessment of the condition of our nation’s infrastructure system, including roads, bridges, waterways, railways, public transit, and more.

The latest findings are a striking confirmation of what we already know: America’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair.

The report card grades our nation’s infrastructure as a D+ overall, and the study’s scores by category echo the same troubling refrain: America is barely passing. Some elements of the system were found to have made slight progress, including the rail sector, which was rated a B thanks to a marked increase in private sector investment by the rail industry. This is heartening, but still, a few key categories experienced decline, and several remained unchanged from the last analysis four years ago. 

Simply put, these aren’t the kind of marks anyone is going to be posting on the refrigerator.

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Wednesday
Feb082017

GOP Senator floats new highway funding bill

The Hill

February 8, 2017

A rural Republican senator is floating a new idea to pay for federal highway aid and boost other transportation projects around the country.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairwoman of Senate’s surface transportation subcommittee, unveiled legislation this week that would temporarily take freight cargo and passenger revenue from Customs and Border Patrol and funnel it towards the ailing Highway Trust Fund. 

The fund is financed by the federal gasoline tax and pays for road construction, maintenance and other transportation projects throughout the nation. By 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the fund will be facing a $107 billion funding gap. 

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Thursday
Aug152013

Texas: Gravel road conversions offer wakeup call on transportation needs

In the meantime, TxDOT needs to rethink its ill-advised solution of tearing up paved roads. In fact, Sen. Glenn Hegar and I have sent a letter to TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson expressing our concerns about the agency’s plans. Even if gravel conversion is a proper solution for some paved segments, many questions remain about the safety of such conversions and the shortcomings of TxDOT’s implementation process for the entire project.

Click here for complete article > Eagle Pass Business Journal

August 9, 2013

The Texas Department of Transportation’s recently announced plan to convert some 83 miles of paved highways in West and South Texas into gravel roads should serve as a wakeup call to every Texan about the state’s unmet infrastructure needs.

Perhaps it was not a coincidence that TxDOT unveiled its plan just as state lawmakers were on the verge of passing legislation to provide the agency with additional funds for new highway construction and maintenance. It took three special sessions to get it done, but the extra money will be on the way if Texas voters approve — and they should.

Unfortunately, the constitutional amendment allowing some $1.2 billion to go to highways instead of the rainy day fund won’t be on the ballot until November of 2014. And even that amount is only about 25 percent of what TxDOT really needs to keep Texas’ transportation infrastructure on pace with the demands of an ever-growing population...