Categories
NewsFlash US DOT

USDOT: Nation’s Highway Traffic Reaches Highest Level Since 2007

FHWA 03-11
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nation’s Highway Traffic Reaches Highest Level Since 2007

WASHINGTON – Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, the most vehicle miles traveled since 2007 and the third-highest ever recorded, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today. The increase in traffic volume comes as the U.S. in 2009 posted its lowest number of traffic fatalities and injuries since 1950.
“More driving means more wear and tear on our nation’s roads and bridges,” said Secretary LaHood. “This new data further demonstrates why we need to repair the roads and bridges that are the lifeblood of our economy.”

The Secretary noted that Americans drove 0.7 percent more, or 20.5 billion additional vehicle miles traveled (VMT), in 2010 than the previous year. Travel increased by 0.6 percent, or 1.4 billion VMT, in December 2010 compared to the previous December. It is the tenth consecutive month of increased driving.

The new data, from the Federal Highway Administration’s monthly “Traffic Volume Trends” report, show the South Gulf area, a bloc of eight states ranging from Texas to Kentucky, experienced the greatest regional increase in December 2010 at 46.6 billion VMT, an increase of 624 million miles traveled compared to the previous December.
With an increase of 11.1 percent, or 156 million additional miles traveled, Nebraska led the nation with the largest single-state increase that month, and rural driving outpaced urban driving across the country.

“These data are critical to identifying and evaluating patterns of use on America’s road system, which help us to make decisions about investments in critical infrastructure,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Repairing our nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels will help us ensure safety, strengthen the economy and build for the future.”

To review the VMT data in FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” reports, including that of December 2010, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/tvtpage.cfm.
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Categories
Environmental Justice Federal Policy GHG Reduction Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Public Health Public Transit SB 375 Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

Sacramento Region Launches $1.5 Million Grant for Sustainable Community Plans

Last week the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) held its first “Sacramento Regional Consortium” funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. In partnership with other federal agencies including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT), the joint “Partnership for Sustainable Communities” includes the following six objectives which SACOG’s application reflected strongly:

• Providing more transportation choices.
• Promoting equitable, affordable housing.
• Enhancing economic competitiveness.
• Supporting existing communities.
• Coordinating policies and leverage investment.
• Valuing the uniqueness of communities and neighborhoods.

Lauren Michele highlights key points from the event below.

Federal Presence

Cynthia Abbott, Director of HUD’s District 9 Field Office, opened the event praising SACOG’s grant application as being nearly the highest ranked in the country in an extremely competitive process. She pointed to their plan, vision and partnerships as the key elements on why they received a $1.5 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. Other California-based representatives of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities were present, including those from EPA-Region 9, DOT Federal Highway Administration’s California Division, and DOT Federal Transit Administration’s Region IX. In speaking with all four of the federal representatives after the event, it is clear that SACOG’s leadership is being used as a model across the county. While the impacts of the federal budget situation is highly uncertain, the Partnership is hopeful there will be additional Livability grant in the next fiscal year for applicants who did not receive funding during this year’s cycle.

SACOG’s New Planning Process

Joe Concannon from SACOG spoke on SACOG’s bottom-up and input-first approach to the development of their Senate Bill 375 required Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS). With an extensive partnership and steering committee including the Urban Land Institute, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Regional Water Authority, Valley Vision, and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, SACOG will be using the $1.5 million federal grant to collaboratively develop performance measures for placing the region’s Transit Priority Areas to work toward their regional per capita greenhouse gas reduction target of 7% by 2020 and 16% by 2035. Transit Priority Areas are defined in SB 375 as 20 dwelling units per acre of residential density within a half mile of transit, and SACOG will be leading a new planning process to engage stakeholders in the initial creation of performance measures for equity, health and economic development. They will be utilizing a “Return on Investment Tool” as well as an “Infrastructure Cost Model” to help guide the process of creating a plan which provides access to opportunities as a priority. As part of the federal grant, SACOG will also integrate their SCS with the Draft Council on Environmental Quality Principles/Guidelines at the federal level.

Integration with MTP Update

The Project Manager for SACOG’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan, Kacey Lizon, highlighted that 2/3 of the audience participants has not previously attended a SACOG’s MTP update event. She reviewed the three MTP growth scenarios under review at SACOG, which goals of per capita reductions in vehicle miles traveled between -13 and -15 percent by 2035, and increased transit ridership of up to 82 percent by 2035. While the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction scenario was selected as the preferred growth option at nearly every MTP outreach workshop, SACOG’s recommended scenario will be a modified version between Scenario #2 and #3 as presented to the public. SACOG’s effort to expand the regional transportation planning process to other sustainability indicators including housing affordability, environmental justice, and economic development is being recognized by the federal government as a well-deserved model on how transportation policy impacts regional health and happiness. In fact, Chris Benner from the UC Davis Center for Regional Change even pointed to relevance of the “Gross National Happiness Index” as used in the country of Butan.

*The next Regional Consortium will be March 23th to gather input on “Health, Access, and Equity” performance measures*

Register Here

Categories
Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT

USDOT: $129 Billion in Restoring America’s Economic Competitiveness

DOT 20-11
Monday, February 14, 2011
Contact: Justin Nisly
Tel: 202-366-4570

U.S. Department of Transportation Budget Invests $129 Billion in Restoring America’s Economic Competitiveness
Targeted Investments in Safe, Efficient Transportation Will Spur Growth

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today said President Obama’s $129 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the first year of a comprehensive six-year transportation plan, will lay a new foundation for economic growth and competitiveness by rebuilding the nation’s transportation systems, enabling innovative solutions to transportation challenges and ensuring the highest level of safety for all Americans.

“President Obama’s budget for the Department of Transportation is a targeted investment in America’s economic success,” said Secretary LaHood.  “If we’re going to win the future, we have to out-compete the rest of the world by moving people, goods, and information more quickly and reliably than ever before.  President Obama’s investments in rebuilding our crumbling roadways and runways, and modernizing our railways and bus systems will help us do just that.”

Nationwide, our transportation systems are already congested and overburdened.  With the United States’ population expected to grow from more than 300 million in 2010 to more than 400 million by 2050, rebuilding and expanding the capacity of our roads, airports and transit systems is a strategic necessity for long-term economic growth.  The transportation investments proposed in President Obama’s FY12 budget will put Americans to work repairing the bridges and repaving the roads we have now, while supporting the development of the new electric buses and high-speed rail lines of America’s future.

While these investments in transportation infrastructure and safety are critical, President Obama’s budget also reflects the need to live within our means. The budget proposal for the Department of Transportation consolidates unnecessary programs, institutes common sense government reforms, and cuts red tape.  More than 55 separate highway programs will be streamlined into just five core programs, eliminating wasteful overlap and making it easier for communities to build the projects they need to spur economic growth.  And by cutting inefficiency and bureaucracy, projects will be able to move forward more quickly, while still protecting public safety and the environment.

The Administration’s national high-speed rail proposal is a critical part of its vision for modernizing America’s transportation network. Last week, Secretary LaHood joined Vice President Biden to announce that the budget provides $8 billion for the first year of a six-year, $53 billion high-speed rail investment plan.  The budget will place high-speed rail on equal footing with other transportation programs, revitalize domestic rail manufacturing, and ensure that the nation can reach President Obama’s goal of providing 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

The Administration’s six-year proposal will also provide $336 billion, a 48 percent increase over the previous authorization, to rebuild America’s roads and bridges, and $119 billion, a 128 percent increase over the previous authorization, in funding for affordable, sustainable, and efficient transit options.

In order to ensure that American businesses are equipped to out-succeed competitors around the world, the Administration’s budget also prioritizes innovative programs and technological solutions to address our transportation challenges.  For the first time, the budget will establish a National Infrastructure Bank that will leverage private capital to build complex large-scale projects that hold significant economic benefits to a region or the nation as a whole.  A new competitive incentive program, called the Transportation Leadership Awards, will reward unique projects that find new ways to connect people to opportunities and products to markets.  The FY 2012 budget also includes $1.2 billion to modernize America’s air-traffic control system and help airlines transition from the radar-based air traffic control system of the past to the more reliable and more efficient satellite-based system of the future, known as Next Generation technology.

The new budget also reaffirms Secretary LaHood’s strong commitment to maintaining the highest safety standards for Americans traveling by any mode of transportation. While road, transit and air travel are currently the safest they have ever been in America, the Department will build on previous success to make it even safer. To accomplish that goal, the budget provides $50 million for the Department’s ongoing campaign against distracted driving, as well as $35 million to promote seatbelt use and get drunk drivers off the road.  Also, for the first time, the Federal Transit Administration will be given the authority to oversee rail transit safety in cities across the country.

A budget summary document is available at http://www.dot.gov/budget/2012/fy2012budgethighlights.pdf.

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Categories
California Policy Federal Policy High-Speed Rail NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT

US DOT: $1.2B in High Speed Rail Funds Redirected ~ CA Gains $624M

DOT 208-10
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Contact: Olivia Alair
Tel: (202) 366-4570

U.S. Department of Transportation Redirects $1.195 Billion in High-Speed Rail Funds

WASHINGTON U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that $1.195 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to other states eager to develop high-speed rail corridors across the United States. Wisconsin has suspended work under its existing high-speed rail agreement and the incoming Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio have both indicated that they will not move forward to use high-speed rail money received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  As a result, $1.195 billion will be redirected to high-speed rail projects already underway in other states.

“High-speed rail will modernize America’s valuable transportation network, while reinvigorating the manufacturing sector and putting people back to work in good-paying jobs,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I am pleased that so many other states are enthusiastic about the additional support they are receiving to help bring America’s high-speed rail network to life.”

The Recovery Act included $8 billion to launch a national high-speed rail program that will modernize America’s transportation network, spur economic development domestically and keep the U.S. competitive with other leading nations. High-speed rail grants announced under the Recovery Act can be used only for high-speed rail projects and not for other transportation projects.

Last year, the Obama Administration received a commitment from 30 domestic and foreign rail manufacturers to establish or expand their base of operations in the United States if selected for contracts building America’s high-speed rail network. These rail manufacturers and suppliers committed to not only locate in the U.S., but to ensure high-speed rail projects are built by American workers with American-made supplies. To deliver maximum economic benefits to American taxpayers, the Administration’s high-speed rail program also includes a 100 percent ‘Buy American’ requirement.

Under the Recovery Act, the Federal Railroad Administration originally announced $810 million for Wisconsin’s Milwaukee-Madison corridor and $400 million for Ohio’s Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland “3C” route. The Federal Railroad Administration will redirect $810 million from Wisconsin and $385 million from Ohio, and will work with these states to determine whether they have already spent money under their contracts that should be reimbursed.

The $1.195 billion originally designated for those high-speed rail projects in Wisconsin and Ohio will now be used to support projects in the following states:

  • California: up to $624 million
  • Florida: up to $342.3 million
  • Washington State: up to $161.5 million
  • Illinois: up to $42.3 million
  • New York: up to $7.3 million
  • Maine: up to $3.3 million
  • Massachusetts: up to $2.8 million
  • Vermont: up to $2.7 million
  • Missouri up to $2.2 million
  • Wisconsin: up to $2 million for the Hiawatha line
  • Oregon: up to $1.6 million
  • North Carolina: up to $1.5 million
  • Iowa: up to $309,080
  • Indiana: up to $364,980
Categories
NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT

USDOT: $776 Million in “State of Good Repair” for Transit

FTA 28-10
Monday, October 4, 2010
Contact: Paul Griffo
Tel: (202) 366-4064

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $776 Million in ‘State of Good Repair’ Dollars for Nation’s Urban and Rural Bus Systems

Targeted Funding Strengthens Transit Safety, Reliability by Addressing Industry’s Equipment Repair and Maintenance Backlogs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a combined $776 million for urban and rural transit providers in 45 states and the District of Columbia to help bring buses, bus facilities and related equipment into a state of good repair.  Money from the Federal Transit Administration’s new State of Good Repair discretionary grant program will go to 152 projects.

“Safety is our highest priority, and it goes hand-in-hand with making sure our transit systems are in the best working condition possible,” said Secretary LaHood. “The millions of people who depend on transit each day to get to work, to school or to the doctor expect a safe and comfortable ride.”

The FTA estimates that more than 40 percent of the nation’s buses are currently in poor to marginal condition.   The Department released a report in June 2010, The National State of Good Repair Assessment Study, which estimated that the cost of bringing the nation’s rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair is close to $78 billion. The report drew on data from 43 of the nation’s rail and bus operators in both rural and urban areas.

The State of Good Repair money was made available in response to the needs cited in this study and reflects the Department’s commitment to strengthening and modernizing transportation across the nation.  The program is designed to help transit providers deliver safer, more reliable rides, operate more efficiently and lower fuel costs. Projects include replacing aging buses with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, constructing new bus shelters and maintenance facilities, installing updated fare boxes and installing fleet tracking systems.

“America’s transit users want bus service that is safe, reliable, comfortable, and clean,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “These funds will go a long way in helping more than 100 urban and rural transit agencies deliver the high quality bus service that Americans deserve.”

FTA reviewed nearly 400 project applications representing $4.2 billion in funding requests from transit providers across the country. The list of selected projects can be found at http://www.fta.dot.gov/news/news_events_12067.html

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Categories
Federal Policy NewsFlash Public Transit Transportation Funding US DOT

US DOT: LaHood Announces Final Recovery Act Transit Grant, Totaling $8.78B

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Final Recovery Act Transit Grant

Providing $8.78 Billion for Transit Improvements, Recovery Act Creates Approximately 10,000 Transit Connected Jobs Across the Country

In announcing a $2.2 million grant for Indiana’s Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation, or “CityBus,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the final grant for public transit awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Recovery Act transit projects created approximately 10,000 jobs across the county.

CityBus will use the $2.2 million to install three wind turbine units that will cut energy costs for three transit buildings in Lafayette, Indiana.  The turbines are expected to generate 72,000 kilowatt hours per year, enough to power the entire facility.

“The Recovery Act is making a difference in Lafayette and in cities and communities across America,” said Secretary LaHood.  “It has let us strengthen our transportation infrastructure and create thousands of jobs when we urgently need them.”

“All across America, workers are on the job, assembling buses and vans, rehabilitating rail systems and expanding transit opportunities that will improve our quality of life, lower our dependence on oil, and save taxpayers money in the long run,”  said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.

The final grant was awarded competitively under the Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program, which made $100 million in Recovery Act dollars available for grants to transit agencies for capital projects that reduce energy consumption of the transit agency or reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the transit agency, or both.

Under the Recovery Act, the Federal Transit Administration awarded 1,072 grants for a total of $8.78 billion. In addition to money from the TIGGER program, $6.0 billion in Recovery Act grants were awarded for transit capital assistance for urban areas, $743 million for new construction, $743 for fixed guideway infrastructure improvement, $746 million for transit capital assistance in non-urbanized areas, and $17 million for the Tribal Transit program. Additionally, $443 million in Federal Highway Administration Surface Transportation Program dollars were transferred to transit projects at the request of local officials.

Recovery Act money has been used to pay for more than 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles; more than $4.5 billion in transit infrastructure construction or renovation; and more than $730 million in preventive maintenance.  These improvements have helped to save transit service and jobs, while enhancing safety and service reliability.

More information about transit projects paid for by the Recovery Act can be found here.
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Categories
Federal Policy Transportation Funding US DOT

Demand for TIGER II Funding Overwhelms Supply

DOT 177-10
Friday, September 24, 2010
Contact:  Olivia Alair
Tel.:  202-366-4570

Demand for TIGER II Funding Overwhelms Supply

Nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia far exceeded the $600 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II dollars the U.S. Department of Transportation can award for infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit and ports, Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.  The announcement followed the August deadline for submissions.

The overwhelming demand for TIGER II grants continues a trend. Last February 17, the Department announced 51 grant awards from nearly 1,500 applications for TIGER I grants nationwide. The TIGER I requests were for almost $60 billion worth of projects, 40 times the $1.5 billion available under that program.

“The wave of applications for both TIGER II and TIGER I dollars shows the back-log of needed infrastructure improvements and the desire for more flexible funds,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This also shows the opportunities still before us to create jobs, to reduce congestion, make wise environmental choices and help generate lasting economic growth.”

The $600 million in TIGER II grants is for capital investment in surface transportation projects. Up to $35 million can be used for planning grants. The Department of Transportation has partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to offer TIGER II planning grants along with HUD’s $40 million in Community Challenge Planning Grants.  Almost 700 applications were received for DOT or HUD planning grants.  HUD’s funds can be used for localized planning efforts, such as development around a transit stop and zone or building code updates and improvements.  Combining these funds will provide applicants with one-stop shopping and greater consistency for community development projects that include both transportation and housing or economic development components.  The two Departments, along with assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will participate in the evaluation of the planning grant applications.

TIGER II grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area.  The projects sought are those that contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and/or enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections.

The Department will also give priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity.
The Federal Register notice can be accessed at http://www.dot.gov/docs/TIGER_II_Discretionary_Grant_Program_Final_Notice_1_June_2010.pdf.

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Categories
Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT

Obama’s Labor Day Announcement: $50 Billion in Transportation Infrastructure

From The Hill:

Obama wants $50B to beef up infrastructure ‘as soon as possible’

By Darren Goode – 09/06/10 03:10 PM ET

President Obama on Monday called for an upfront investment of $50 billion to improve roads, railways and runways as part of a larger six-year strategy to update the nation’s aging infrastructure.

Obama announced the strategy at the Milwaukee Laborfest in Wisconsin hosted by the AFL-CIO and Milwaukee Area Labor Council and was joined by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The president wants Congress to approve this first-year $50 billion “as soon as possible” and pay for it by scaling back oil and gas industry tax incentives, a senior administration official said.

“Over the next six years, we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads — enough to circle the world six times,” Obama said, according to remarks prepared for delivery the White House released ahead of his speech Monday afternoon. “We’re going to lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways — enough to stretch coast-to-coast.

“We’re going to restore 150 miles of runways and advance a next generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays for American travelers — something I think folks across the political spectrum could agree on.”

The plan will be fully paid for and “sets up an Infrastructure Bank to leverage federal dollars and focus on the smartest investments,” Obama said. It will include federal investments in high-speed rail and “will cut waste and bureaucracy” by consolidating and collapsing more than 100 federal transportation programs, he added.

It will also aim to reform “the haphazard and patchwork way we fund and maintain our infrastructure to focus less on wasteful earmarks and outdated formulas, and more on competition and innovation that gives us the best bang for the buck,” according to Obama’s prepared remarks.

The administration is coming off a disappointing 9.6 percent unemployment rate announced by the Labor Department on Friday, and the message to the union crowd was directly tied to the key concern of jobs.

One administration official stressed to reporters Monday that the infrastructure investment strategy “is not a stimulus, immediate jobs plan” but rather a front-loaded six-year strategy. Administration officials did not have a specific job creation goal for the investment or an overall six-year dollar figure. The $50 billion would be “a significant portion” of the overall six-year investment, a senior administration official said. The White House is also proposing a “robust investment” in modernizing the air traffic control system, saying improvements would cut down on travel delays.

Surface transportation investment bills — after a struggle over the overall dollar amount — usually receive broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill as lawmakers in both parties claim coveted earmarked dollars for their states and districts.

Obama promised the proposal “will not only create jobs now, but will make our economy run better over the long haul.”

“It’s a plan that history tells us we can and should attract bipartisan support,” Obama said.

And that’s where the bipartisanship stopped.

Obama bashed Republicans for opposing other economic efforts by the administration. “Even where we usually agree, they say no,” Obama said of the GOP. “They think it’s better to score political points before an election than actually solve problems.”

“These are the folks whose policies helped devastate our middle class and drive our economy into a ditch. And now they’re asking you for the keys back,” Obama added. “Do you want to give them the keys back? Me neither. And do you know why? Because they don’t know how to drive! At a time when we’re just getting out of the ditch, they’d pop it in reverse, let the special interests ride shotgun, and hit the gas, careening right back into that ditch.”

It is the first time that Obama has specifically begun to outline his strategy for a new six-year surface transportation plan, nearly a year after the last congressional strategy expired.

Obama did include infrastructure investment in high-speed rail and other infrastructure spending in last year’s economic stimulus plan. “The president has been ambitious to date in the area of investment,” a senior administration official said on a conference call with reporters. “And this is the continuation of that investment.”

Congress has a history of taking longer than intended to update transportation policy. Lawmakers had to extend surface transportation law for almost two years before approving the last surface transportation reauthorization bill in 2005. That bill expired in September last year and will likely continue to be extended into next year.

Congress has also had trouble approving a new Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization plan and has had to extend current FAA law 15 times so far since it expired more than two years ago.

Administration officials are “going to immediately start our discussions with both parties in Congress,” a senior official said. But the administration official declined to “make a prediction about timing” for when the upfront investment or full six-year plan would be set into law and said it “could all be in one bill or this could end up being divided up.” Full authorization plans, the official said, could “take quite a while and we’re mindful of that.”

Obama’s announcement Monday precedes a speech promoting business tax relief he will make  Wednesday near Cleveland. This is expected to include expanding a research and development tax credit by about 20 percent, or $100 billion, over the next 10 years, simplifying it and making the credit permanent.

The president’s twin bill announcement of infrastructure spending and business tax relief are popular ideas in both political parties heading into the fall midterm election season.

But Obama will continue to run into opposition from many Republicans and oil-state Democrats by following recommendations outlined in his earlier budget proposal to scale back oil and gas industry tax incentives. This includes not allowing oil and gas companies to take advantage of a manufacturing tax credit other industries are allowed to use. He would also aim to pay for the initial $50 billion infrastructure investment by not allowing oil and gas companies to reduce the tax deduction companies can claim on foreign-earned income.

Democrats have sought to include these revenue raisers to pay for multiple legislative proposals – including a set of so-called “tax extenders” and to pay for renewable energy investments.

Categories
Federal Policy NewsFlash US DOT

US DOT Announces $11.6M in Grants for Minority/Women Owned Businesses

FHWA 40-10
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $11.6 Million in Grants for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses


Resources will Help Small Businesses Compete for Federal Highway Contracts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $11.6 million in grants to help disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) compete for federal highway contracts in 30 states and Puerto Rico.

“Giving these small businesses the assistance they need to compete for federal highway contracts creates jobs and ultimately helps taxpayers by reducing project costs,” said Secretary LaHood. “Any way you look at them, these grants are a ‘win-win’ for the American people.”

The grants from the Federal Highway Administration’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Supportive Services (DBE/SS) program provide federal aid to DBE firms to improve their ability to compete for and fulfill federal highway contracts.

Since1982, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has promoted the participation of DBEs in federal-aid highway contracts through state-managed programs. The DBE/SS grants are part of an ongoing federal effort to help state departments of transportation train certified DBE firms on a wide range of business management practices, including procurement assistance and guidance on securing bonding. The goal of the program is to help DBEs successfully compete for federal highway projects.

“Helping DBE firms and their workers enriches the competition for federal highway contracts,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Grants like these will help people find jobs and are an important part of economic recovery.”

A DBE is a for-profit, small business owned by minorities, women or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or, in the case of a corporation, in which 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals. The daily business operations must be controlled by at least one of the socially and economically disadvantaged owners. More information about DBE eligibility can be found on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website.

Details of today’s awardees are as follows:

State Recipient Organization Amount Awarded
Alabama Alabama Department of Transportation $373,950
Alabama Alabama Department of Transportation $384,312
Alaska Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities $185,381
Arizona Arizona Department of Transportation $750,000
Arkansas Arkansas State Highway Transportation Department $194,864
California California Department of Transportation $1,000,000
Connecticut Connecticut Department of Transportation $391,320
Delaware Delaware Department of Transportation $262,500
Florida Florida Department of Transportation $600,000
Idaho Idaho Department of Transportation $97,900
Illinois Illinois Department of Transportation $912,600
Indiana Indiana Department of Transportation $603,499
Kansas Kansas Department of Transportation $175,000
Kentucky Kentucky Transportation Cabinet $150,500
Maine Maine Department of Transportation $109,000
Maryland Maryland State Highway Administration $300,000
Michigan Michigan Department of Transportation $475,000
Mississippi Mississippi Department of Transportation $485,900
Montana Montana Department of Transportation $232,190
New Mexico New Mexico Department of Transportation $218,500
North Carolina North Carolina Department of Transportation $514,900
Ohio Ohio Department of Transportation $430,500
Oklahoma Oklahoma Department of Transportation $41,166
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $455,652
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority $92,500
South Carolina South Carolina Department of Transportation $258,383
South Dakota South Dakota Department of Transportation $139,033
Tennessee Tennessee Department of Transportation $600,000
Texas Texas Department of Transportation $500,000
Vermont Vermont Department of Transportation $150,000
Washington Washington Department of Transportation $309,096
Wyoming Wyoming Department of Transportation $160,397
TOTAL $11,554,493

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Categories
Federal Policy Transportation Funding US DOT US HUD

THUD Bill Includes Funding for Livability Initiatives

Appropriations: House and Senate Appropriations Reports FY11 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Bill

On July 20, the House Appropriations Committee marked up its bill making FY 2011 appropriations for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. On July 21, 2010, the Senate Appropriations committee approved its FY 2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. Overall, the bill includes budget authority of $67.9 billion, unchanged from the 2010 enacted level.

Significant Items Include:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Sustainable Communities Initiative: $150 million within HUD’s Community Development Fund to promote integrated housing and transportation planning.  [note: TIGER III]

Department of Transportation

  • Livable Communities: $150 million within HUD and $527 million within DOT.
  • Planning Capacity Grants: $200 million split evenly between the Federal Transit and Highway Administrations to help transportation planning agencies improve their models and better coordinate transportation and housing forecasts.
  • Transit Energy Efficiency Grants: $100 million for grants to help transit agencies make cutting-edge and innovative capital investments that will reduce the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of their operations.
  • $45.2 billion for highway infrastructure
  • $11.3 billion to support bus and rail projects, including capital expenditures
  • $250 million for transit operating assistance grants
  • Passenger Rail Grant Program: $1.4 billion to expand and improve intercity passenger rail
  • Amtrak: $1.77 billion to make capital investments including improvements to Amtrak’s fleet and upgrades to Amtrak stations to ensure they are accessible for the disabled. This increase above FY 2010 will save or create an additional 1,130 jobs, according to the Committee.

For more information, visit: http://appropriations.house.gov or http://www.appropriations.senate.gov