- The Obama administartion is looking at creating an infrastructure bank based on the European Investment Bank. Through this mechanism, states or transportation programs could borrow money through the feds at a very low rate. H/T to Zach.
- An anti-viaduct initiative is moving foward. The initiative would prohibit any use of City property to be used during construction. The initiative filers have until July to come up with 18,000 signatures.
- I recently found this interesting blog, the National Journal’s expert blog. The blog features short posts by transportation experts like BSNF CEO Matt Rose, Gov. Tom Kaine of Virginia, and Robert Puentes of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative. In a recent post entitled “How Would You Improve The Stimulus Bill?”, Pete K. Rahn, the director of Missouri DOT has this to say:
The $30 billion highway and bridge amount does not live up to the rhetoric preceding the release of the overall package. $30 billion is not going to “repair America’s crumbling roads and bridges” and it does not represent “the greatest investment in infrastructure since Eisenhower.” At under 70% of a normal annual highway appropriation, the program lacks critical mass. The transportation portion should be doubled. A change I would make to the proposal is to allow the use—on a one-time emergency basis—of transit funds for system operations due to the severe decline in other ordinary revenues. I don’t believe any other areas of the stimulus proposal have to be reduced to increase the transportation-funding portion
- On the other hand, President Obama has pushed through rules allowing states to set more strigent fuel economy standards than the feds do, something Former President Bush wouldn’t allow. So much for Republicans being the states’ rights party…
- State House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) has an op-ed in the Times about the future of Washington State Ferries. Basically, she outlays the budget troubles facing the Ferries service: a $3.5 billion budget shortfall over the next 22 years if current service is to be maintained. Ouch.
- Josh Feit over at Publicola has more details on the Futurewise and TCC v Seattle Displacement Coalition fight over the Transit Oriented Development Bill going through Olympia.
- The Times had a piece over the weekend on how the Viaduct replacement decision was made. In short, business leaders and the Port were dead against the surface options.