Transportation bill update for March 2nd, 2012


Photos by Jane Healy. 

Update March 5, 2012: Cloture vote is Tuesday, March 6th, via Smart Growth America

Republican leadership in the House has essentially admitted that their multi-year surface transportation bill needs to be reworked. Read all our past coverage on it. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, our region’s metropolitan planning organization, is doing a great job keeping up with this on their blog and in their weekly newsletter. From today’s newsletter:

Transportation reauthorization update. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives discussed replacing their initial 5-year reauthorization bill, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (AEIJA), with a reduced 18-month program.

This proposal would fund federal transportation programs through mid-2013, and would reconnect mass transit funding to the Highway Trust Fund. Also this week, the U.S. Senate failed to advance one of the non-germane amendments that have been attached to Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century [MAP-21, the Senate’s version of a surface transportation bill]), the two-year reauthorization bill. Senate Majority Leader Reid announced that he intends to file cloture on the substitute amendment to MAP-21 [cloture requires 60 votes to pass – the Democratic caucus controls only 53 seats]. The vote is scheduled for March 6.

Read more on their Policy Updates blog.

What else is happening? The Senate has included the Cardin-Cochrane amendment that gives metro areas control over bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure spending.


The House of Representatives cannot get away with passing a bill that leaves us empty train tracks. 

Innovative financing for transportation infrastructure, notes from a seminar


The Metropolitan Planning Council graciously provided me with a free entry to a seminar in October about infrastructure funding and financing at their office at 140 S Dearborn. The seminar featured Rob Puentes of the Brookings Institution, Illinois Senator Heather Stearns, and Dr. Paul Hanley a professor at the University of Iowa. They talked about three innovative ways to fund construction of highways, airports, transit, and other capital-intensive projects: the surface transportation bill (Puentes), public-private partnerships (Stearns), and distance-based taxing (Hanley).

This article will be presented in two parts: presentations from Puentes and Stearns today, and Hanley on Friday. It is my intention that by presenting that discussion to readers, you can learn about some of the ways infrastructure in the United States is paid for.

Continue reading Innovative financing for transportation infrastructure, notes from a seminar