Posts tagged with "Federal Highway Administration":

Placeholder Alt Text

Report: Red tape and deferred maintenance balloon U.S. infrastructure costs to $3.7 trillion

A new report attempts to quantify the cost of our national reluctance to fix aging bridges, railroads and power lines. Delays in approving infrastructure projects cost the United States some $3.7 trillion, according to the nonpartisan think tank Common Good—more than twice what it would take to fix the infrastructure in the first place, according to a report titled Two Years, Not Ten Years: Redesigning Infrastructure Approvals. That staggering price tag includes the costs of prolonged inefficiencies and unnecessary pollution that continues while local, state, and federal agencies forestall fixes to infrastructure that the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates is due for $1.7 trillion in repairs and maintenance through 2020. The New York–based think tank based their numbers on a six-year delay, which they reasoned was accurate according to available data about how long projects typically take to get shovel-ready:
Although large projects often take a decade or longer to permit, we assume that the avoidable delay on major projects is six years. There is ample anecdotal evidence of actual years of delay in the US for different types of infrastructure projects, but little cumulative data. The Federal Highway Administration estimated that the average time for approval of major highway projects was over six years. Five to ten years is a common timeframe for interstate transmission lines, and for wind farms and solar fields on federal lands on either coast.
Infrastructure maintenance and repair is, of course, a thoroughly unsexy topic. But, as the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial about Common Good's report, it's important—and perhaps politically viable even in a presidential election cycle:
Common Good suggests building a process that shuttles projects through in a prompt two years. Environmental reviews should be handled by one designated official and kept to 300 pages; litigation should be restricted to the first 90 days after the permit is issued; the White House should be granted authority to appoint an agency as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for interstate projects. Congress could address the permitting morass this fall as part of the transportation bill, and the presidential candidates could include the issue and a horror story or two in their agendas for faster economic growth. It’s hard to imagine a more sensible and politically achievable idea—and one better suited to restoring public confidence that government can carry out its basic duties.
Placeholder Alt Text

Unveiled> Chicago’s Newest Loop ‘L’ Stop Could Be Best Yet

Move over Morgan—the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) released renderings Monday of a redesign for the ‘L’ station at Washington-Wabash whose modern look could unseat the sleek Morgan as CTA’s most handsome stop. The so-called “Gateway to Millennium Park” will serve the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink and Purple lines by consolidating two Loop stations: Randolph-Wabash and Madison-Wabash. Replacing two century old stops, it will be the first new ‘L’ stop in the Loop since the Library/State-Van Buren station was built in 1997. Chicago-based exp, formerly known as Teng + Associates, designed the bone white, undulating station. The color and curvature call to mind Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum, or perhaps a ribcage. With 13,375 daily entries, it’s expected to become the fifth busiest CTA station on weekdays, according to city estimates. Scheduled to open in 2016, the station will feature 100 percent LED lighting, bike racks, and  “a significant amount” of recycled material. The reveal follows news of the planned McCormick-Cermak CTA station, designed by Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects (Ross Barney also designed the system’s newest stop, Morgan Station). Construction on the $75 million station is scheduled to begin in 2014. That money will come entirely from the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.
Placeholder Alt Text

Philly Gearing Up For Bike-Share: Toole Design Group Selected To Create Business Plan

A bike-share program is on the horizon for Philadelphia. In the last few months, the city has taken a number of steps to move the initiative forward. After setting aside $3 million in funding for the program, a selection committee—made up of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council—released a Request For a Proposals (RFP) for a strategic business plan, consulting, and cost estimate services. Now, a winner has been announced. The selection committee received a total of six submissions from urban planning firms across the country, later inviting three finalists to come in for an interview, including Bike Nation, Nelson Nygaard and E3 Think, and the Toole Design Group. And, the Toole Design Group has just been named the winner of the RFP. Spencer Finch, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, said the Washington DC-based Toole Design Group submitted the winning proposal because they “brought the experience” and the “financial analysis to do to the work.” RJ Eldridge, Director of Planning at Toole, will lead this project and collaborate with Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, a regional transportation planning firm in Rockville, MD. The Toole Design Group appears to be a logical choice. The firm just completed a manual,  “Bike Sharing in The United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation,”  for the Federal Highway Administration on all existing bike-sharing programs across the country. The business plan will explore different options for financing the program from purely private or purely public funding to a “hybrid model” of state and federal funding, along with non-profit and private sponsorship. The selection committee plans to make a formal announcement later this week and expects the business plan to be completed by this May. The program is scheduled to launch by 2014, and make over 1,000 bikes available at about 100 stations across the city by the following year.