Saturday, November 12, 2016

Transportation News Round-Up: November 12, 2016

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.


This week in transportation, President-Elect Donald Trump made his opening bid on a transportation infrastructure package, and Obama Administration unveiled a new plan for electric vehicle corridors, and Americans cast their votes on a variety of transportation ballot measures. Here are the most important and interesting transportation stories from the past week:

Trump's answer to fixing country's transportation infrastructure: use other people's money
Forbes reports, "President-elect Donald Trump said in his victory speech following the election on Tuesday that a major focus of his administration will be upgrading America’s ailing transportation infrastructure and creating jobs in the process... Trump plans to encourage $1 trillion in private sector infrastructure spending via $140 billion in tax credits for the companies that invest in infrastructure construction. That’s far short of the $3.6 trillion the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates it would take to significantly raise the grade (currently a D+) of the U.S. transportation infrastructure."

Obama Administration announces new actions to accelerate the deployment of electrical vehicles and charging infrastructure
The White House has announced a series of new steps to make it easier for electrical vehicle (EV) drivers to drive cross-country. The new measures include:
  • Establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on our highways, covering nearly 25,000 miles in 35 states;
  • 28 states, utilities, vehicle manufactures, and change organizations committing to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on those corridors; 
  • 24 state and local governments committing to partner with the Administration and increase the procurement of electric vehicles in their fleets;
  • Conducting two studies to evaluate the optimal national electric vehicle charging deployment scenarios, including along DOT’s designated fueling corridors; and 
  • 38 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide EV charging access for their workforce.
After Eno Transportation Weekly outlined 10 transportation ballot measures to watch on Election Day, I found that voters passed nine of the 10. The approval of these measures will help improve public transit in Los Angeles, modernize Rhode Island's ports, connect North Carolina's Research Triangle, and much more. As I wrote, "After a very eventful election, we'll all be watching to see how transportation policy will be reshaped at the federal level. But we see from these ballot measures that cities continue to lead the way, with voter approval, in providing public transportation and infrastructure upkeep for their constituents at the local level."

The Washington Post asks, "How about a high-speed ferry to transport commuters from Woodbridge to the D.C. waterfront in under an hour? Or a gondola to carry people through the skies over Rosslyn to Georgetown in less than five minutes? A superfast train that could take you from Union Station in Northeast Washington to Baltimore in 15 minutes and another that would get you to Richmond in 90 — more than an hour faster than today’s Amtrak service? Sound too unrealistic for a region that struggles with upgrading its crumbling bridges, paying for new roads and finding the money to rebuild its struggling Metro system? Possibly. But transit planners, advocates and government officials say the proposals aren’t just wishful thinking."

The Concord Monitor reports, "Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate saw lots of conflicting numbers thrown out for the cost of a proposed rail line. The project in question is a 33-mile extension of an existing MBTA commuter rail line from Lowell, Mass., to the cities of Manchester and Nashua. Rail has been one of the most hotly contested issues in the race for governor between Democrat Colin Van Ostern and Republican Chris Sununu – and their cost estimates vary widely. Van Ostern estimates the project will cost the state between $3 million and $4 million per year in operating fees, while Sununu generally lists the total price tag at $350 million." The article explores who's right, and what it would take to finance expanded rail service in New Hampshire.

Happy reading, and happy weekend!

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