Streams

 

Federal Funding

Transportation Nation

Pro-Bike Group: Four out of Five Americans Want $$ For Biking & Walking

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

You always have to be a little leery when a group supporting a particular outcome puts out a poll showing support of that outcome, but an America Bikes poll being released today shows pretty lopsided results: a plurality (47%) of Americans wants more funding for bike and pedestrian programs, and when you add in those who believe existing funding should be maintained, four out of five Americans in all categories support maintaining or increasing funding.  -- Republican, Democrat, Independent, rural, urban, suburban, young old, etc.

Or parsed:

  • 83 percent of all respondents support maintaining or growing the federal funding streams that pay for sidewalks, bikeways, and bike paths.
  • 80 percent of Republican respondents and 88 percent of Democrat respondents think Congress should maintain or increase federal funds for biking and walking.
  • 85 percent of Northeastern respondents, 79 percent of Midwesterners, 84 percent of Southerners, and 84 percent of respondents from Western states reported support for maintaining or increasing funding for sidewalks and bikeways.
  • 91 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 support continuing or increasing biking and walking funds.

The poll is being released as congressional conferees gather to discuss transportation funding, including so-called "enhancements" -- including bike and pedestrian programs.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates
International (PSRAI) of 1003 adults living in the continental U.S. from Marchh 22-25, 2012. S. The margin of sampling error is ± 3.6 percentage points.

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The Takeaway

What Does an FAA Shutdown Mean for You?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The fight over the debt ceiling is over in Washington, but another showdown over government funding is still dividing Congress. Since July 22, the Federal Aviation Administration has been partially shutdown, waiting for Congress to make a decision on its funding. As a result, thousands of F.A.A. workers are being furloughed — and won’t get back to work until after the recess in September.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Health Exchange Deadline

Friday, June 10, 2011

To qualify for federal grants, New York has to set up its health insurance exchange before the legislative term ends this month.  Elisabeth Benjamin, vice president of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society, talks about the state's late start and what is left to be done.

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Transportation Nation

Report: Cratering Budgets Stress Citys' Infrastructure

Monday, May 16, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The Urban Land Institute is out with a look at city infrastructure across the country, and, as you can imagine, federal budget cuts, the end of stimulus funding, and a continued weak economy mean essential urban infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly, and the ability of cities to expand transit as gas prices go through the roof is in doubt.

From the report:

"States and local governments, which are already suffering from decreasing tax revenues, are also facing both the phase-out of federal stimulus funding and the likelihood of further declines in federal funding, the report says. (The federal government’s share of total public expenditures for transportation and infrastructure is about 30 percent.)

"The ramifications are significant: Infrastructure built with federal grants decades ago will not be repaired or replaced, due to the shortage of state and local maintenance and operational funding; local governments will scramble for what’s left of available federal capital project dollars; more states will reject federal capital funding, fearing future unfunded operating burdens; and transit system expansions in car-dependent metro areas will struggle to move forward. "

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Transportation Nation

Who Will Win? Houston's Roads or Bike Lanes?

Friday, March 18, 2011

(Houston--Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) Houston-area transportation policy makers have $80 million federal dollars to distribute at their discretion. At the monthly meeting of  Transportation Policy Council (TPC) advisers went around the table giving input on how the funding should be divided between bike and pedestrian projects, and road and freight rail projects. There was no consensus on exactly how to do that. (Should 45 percent go to non-road projects or should that number be closer to 11 percent? The former is by far the less likely of the two.)

But there was a lot of chatter on how divvying up the money would shape Houston’s transportation system in the future. Robin Holzer heads up the Citizens’ Transportation Coalition, a group that wants more money to go to projects that would build bike lanes and widen sidewalks. “I think the question of how to spend this $80 million has kick-started a really important policy discussion that’s going to play forward into our future investments and in particular into our long-range transportation plan," says Holzer. "And that’s a good thing,” she adds.

Clark Martinson is the general manager of Houston's Energy Corridor district. He’s also a technical advisor to the TPC. He notes that the majority of the conversation circled around alternative types of transportation. “I have not heard anybody discuss that we want more roadways in any of these discussions. I’ve heard people asking that we want to create a more livable environment that’s safer to walk, for our children to walk to school, to be able to ride a bicycle to work and not be in fear on the roads," he said. "And so I think that with that kind of dialogue that’s happening, it’s a real transportation shift in our region.”

Last month cycling and livable centers advocates succeeded in getting the TPC to reconsider a proposal that would have cut all bike/pedestrian funding from that $80 million dollar pot. The TPC decided to delay the vote for a month. It will make its final decision on how to slice up the pie during its March 25 meeting. Almost 3,000 bike and pedestrian activists have signed two petitions calling on officials to save funding for non-road projects.

Listen to the story here.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

No Compromise on Spending

Friday, March 18, 2011

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) talks about his "no" vote on the continuing resolution to fund the federal government for three more weeks.

→ Listen, Read a Recap, and Add Your Comments at It's A Free Country

Transportation Nation

Obama's $2.5 Billion High Speed Rail Spending for Election Week

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Less than a week ahead of elections around the country, Congressmen are happily announcing money their states are getting for high speed rail. Official allocations will take place tomorrow.  California is getting nearly a billion dollars, Florida just over $800 million while several smaller projects in the Midwest for "higher speed" rail will also get funding, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Monday we reported on the money going to Florida and New England for intercity connections. Today local officials released more funding details for the Midwest and West Coast in what seems like a pre-election day affirmation of Presidential support for high-speed rail around the nation.

This week's $2.5 billion in grant announcements are not stimulus funds. They are the part of the FY2010 yearly allocations from the DOT and the Federal Railway Administration, (which has quite a handy website with plenty of charts, data, and interactive maps). The bulk of the allocations went to two of the largest states, California and Florida, receiving $900 and $800 million respectively.

The largest share of funding in the Midwest--$230 million-- goes to Iowa and Illinois for enhanced Amtrak service from Chicago to Iowa City. The Amtrak line from Chicago to Detroit received $150 million to increase its current speed to 110 mph--not quite the 220 mph that denotes most HSR, but certainly "higher speed" rail than the existing top speeds under 80 mph.

The Obama administration isn't funding every request though. They declined to give $8 million requested for a study and design of a potential Chicago-to-St. Louis bullet train.

In addition to this $2.5 billion for HSR this year,  there is still a largely unspent pot of $700+ billion in stimulus money dedicated to high speed rail. Of the $8 billion in stimulus money allocated for HSR,  just $871 million has been obligated.

Here's an updated list of all the projects receiving federal money, both stimulus funds as well as yearly allocations.

(Thanks to MidwestHSR for the tip on some of this.)

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Transportation Nation

Stimulus Leaving Women, Minority Contractors Behind

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The money doesn't trickle down to the economy like it should. Especially when the money's been earmarked for highway departments across this country, and the good old boy network is alive and well in those institutions.”  That's what what the owner of an African-American owned construction company tells us.  Minority communities have been hit hard by the recession, but they are receiving fewer of the stimulus project contracts doled out by the government.  MPR News' Dan Olson is following this story in Minnesota, where transportation officials failed to direct even 8.5 percent of road and bridge construction business to companies owned by women and minorities.  Today, The Takeaway looks at this nationwide.

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Transportation Nation

The Takeaway: Just Where Is the Stimulus Cash Going?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Today, the White House releases a huge amount of raw data on how and where stimulus money is being spent. We talk about the numbers we know so far, what listeners have noticed, and what we'll be looking for in the tea leaves. We're joined by WNYC reporter Andrea Bernstein, Pete Herman, a currently unemployed ironworker from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Charlie Dilbert, a construction worker from Cincinnati whose job is being pad for with the stimulus money.

Listen to the full story.

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