Friday, May 12, 2017

This Week in Transportation: May 12, 2017

This week in transportation, conservatives told President Trump what they want to see in his infrastructure plan, opponents of California's high-speed rail appeared ready to appeal a ruling allowing for the sale of bonds to finance the project, and Forth Worth moved closer to a high-speed rail link with Dallas. Here are the most important and interesting transportation stories from the past week:

Trump's Infrastructure Plan: Stuck in Traffic?
RealClearPolitics reports, "The president, his Cabinet members and White House advisers have been largely tight-lipped for months about key details attached to a major Trump campaign pledge to fix crumbling roads, bridges, airports and water systems while also creating good-paying jobs... More than a month ago, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao described a complex administration package of transportation infrastructure, water, broadband, energy and electrical grid, and upgrades to veterans’ hospitals, and predicted an announcement later in 2017. Trump told interviewers he was considering accelerating that timeline."

Conservatives lay out wish list for Trump infrastructure plan
The Hill reports, "A coalition of conservative groups have laid out a wish list for what they want in President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure package — and it could spell trouble for the key White House policy effort... The wish list is divided into six priorities: reform the environmental review process, repeal labor regulations, focus on 'core' infrastructure projects, empower the states, fully pay for projects and reform spending instead of creating new funding streams."

Higher Gas Taxes Won't Work
The Atlantic's CityLab writes, "One possible solution—the mileage fee, or VMT tax—seems to be one whose time has come. The tax reorients the transportation “product” that users are paying for with a philosophy more in step with how people travel now. Simply put, drivers pay for their travel based on a per-mile rate. It’s almost like slapping a toll on every road, except that mileage could be measured and billed based on a low-fi transponder, or a high-tech piece of cellphone gadgetry. Drivers could alternatively pay through a one-time annual fee, if they hate the feeling of being 'tracked.'"

California high-speed rail opponents likely to appeal ruling
The Sacramento Bee reports, "Opponents of California's bullet train said they are likely to appeal a judge's ruling Monday that will let the state spend about $1.25 billion in voter-approved bond money, rather than taking up the judge's offer to refile the lawsuit. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei rejected opponents' latest lawsuit aimed at blocking California's $64 billion high-speed rail project. The judge ruled that the lawsuit is premature. But he amended the tentative ruling he issued last month to allow opponents to refile the lawsuit with different legal arguments."

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Fort Worth takes big step toward high-speed rail link with Dallas
The Star-Telegram reports, "Fort Worth and Dallas are in the process of preparing for a 30- to 40-mile high-speed rail line between the two cities called the DFW Core Express. A $15 million environmental impact study of the possible route is expected to be completed in 2018. On Tuesday, the Fort Worth city council considered creating a local government corporation with Dallas, an entity that would govern inter-city passenger rail service. Discussions are also focusing on including a stop in Arlington and adding that city to the corporation. The Dallas City Council is expected to approve the local government corporation by the end of May."

Read more here:

Happy reading, and happy weekend!

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