President Obama this week announced a proposed $50 billion initiative to upgrade America's transportation infrastructure. While this infrastructure spending is desperately needed, and the focus on upgrading the nation's rail system will have broad economic impacts, the immediate job creation impact could be increased through greater support for local transit projects as well, as a new report by the Transportation Equity Network emphasizes.
WASHINGTON - Nearly three years after the Interstate 35W bridge
collapse, 25 percent of the country's bridges remain "structurally
deficient" or "functionally obsolete," according to testimony at a House
Transportation Subcommittee hearing Wednesday.
"It's only a matter of time before it's another one in the river," said Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat on the committee.
The debate over clean energy is ripping open divisions in conservative
business lobbies. Debate on federal climate change legislation has led
an increasing number of businesses to leave the Chamber of Commerce,
the National Association of Manufacturers, and other business
associations because of those organizations' stances against
recognizing the scientific validity of climate change. The revolt has
been growing ever since a senior Chamber official called for a "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" to evaluate evidence of global warming.
One of the biggest topics of conversation in Massachusetts these days is the proposed additional 19 cent gas tax which would go toward roads, bridges, regional transit authorities and public transit improvements throughout the state. More than half of state and local bridges of 20 feet or longer are structurally deficient, while 82 percent of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's (MBTA) rapid transit rail cars are in poor or marginal condition, according to a report by TRIP. Furthermore, a 2007 report by the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Commission found that “the condition of our roads, bridges and transit systems are all in broad decline”¦we have no money for transit or highway enhancements or expansions without further sacrificing our existing systems and exacerbating our problems.”