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America's GPA: D+
Estimated Investment Needed by 2020:
$3.6 Trillion

Senate Commerce Subcommittee Explores Multimodal Transportation System Needs

February 16th, 2017 | By: Infrastructure Report Card

Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security convened their first hearing of the 115th Congress. “Moving America: Stakeholder Perspectives on our Multimodal Transportation System” was billed as an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss strategies for improving the efficiency and safety of the nation’s multimodal freight network. In her opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Deb Fischer (R-NB) applauded the previous Congress for passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Unfortunately, acknowledged the Senator, the chronic insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund was not addressed in a meaningful and long-term way by the FAST Act. To mitigate future shortfalls, which are forecasted to resume in 2020 (the same year the FAST Act expires), Senator Fischer touted her “Build USA Infrastructure Act” during Wednesday’s hearing. Fischer’s legislation would divert a percentage of Customs and Border Patrol fees, which are collected on freight and passengers at ports of entry, to the Highway Trust Fund, as well as offer states additional flexibility as they initiate critical transportation infrastructure projects. Four witnesses provided their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for the multimodal freight system. Matt Rose, Executive Chairman at BNSF, spoke at length about how shifts in energy consumption are affecting his industry. Mr. Rose encouraged Congress to be cognizant of freight rail public benefits, including improvements to the environment, reduced highway congestion and associated maintenance costs, and supply chain efficiencies. He finished by imploring Congress to increase investment in U.S. infrastructure at large, preferably through a strengthened “user pays” program. Christopher Lofgren, President and Chief Executive Officer at Schneider National, provided insights into the trucking and transportation logistics industry by overviewing Schneider National’s best practices.  Current freight bottlenecks create challenges for his company, testified Mr. Lofgren, and with U.S. freight volumes anticipated to grow by 45 percent by the year 2040, those challenges will only increase. It’s imperative that Congress increase investment in the country’s surface transportation infrastructure, which will ultimately improve the health of the overall economy. Tom Guard, Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain at the Dow Chemical Company, testified about the unique needs of the chemical industry when getting goods to market. Mr. Guard overviewed his industry’s reliance on multiple modes of transport, including rail, road, and marine, and emphasized the culture of safety used by his company when transporting hazardous materials. Wick Moorman, President and CEO of Amtrak, outlined the clear federal role in maintaining and improving the passenger network. He emphasized to lawmakers that while public-private partnerships can be utilized in some scenarios, those structures cannot replace federal funding. The federal government must provide adequate levels of investment, as well as in leadership in streamlining and environmental review, and removing red tape. Should the White House choose to release an infrastructure investment plan, perhaps in conjunction with the FY 2018 budget request, members of the Commerce Committee and others in the Capitol will explore how the President proposes to spend additional revenue. Congress, including both parties and several Committees of jurisdiction in both the House and Senate, will be instrumental in determining how to make Trump’s campaign promise into a reality.

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New Game Changers are here!

September 20th, 2016 | By: Becky Moylan

Today we added 15 new #GameChangers and two new trends to the repertoire. These projects showcase the power that innovation and investment can have to solve problems and improve our infrastructure. “Rebuilding Stronger” and “Sustainable Solutions” are the new trends we’ve identified that are shaping the way infrastructure is designed, built, and maintained. The projects in these two new trends demonstrate that resilient and sustainable infrastructure are more than buzz words—they are tangible solutions to the new challenges U.S. infrastructure is facing. Check out all the new #GameChangers: And if you know of one we’ve missed, let us know. We’re on the hunt for #GameChangers to include in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.

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Infrastructure in the News: Infrastructure on the FAST track to improvement

December 4th, 2015 | By: Olivia Wolfertz

The bipartisan Congressional approval of the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) and the release of Hilary Clinton’s infrastructure proposal make this week a busy one indeed. After numerous short-term transportation bill patches and long hours of negotiating, Congress has finally approved a five-year, $305 billion highway, transit and railway authorization bill that President Obama is expected to sign today. The FAST Act reaches beyond funding highways, as it also provides for our nation’s bridges, transit, rail lines, freight and ports. The bill also includes the first grant program guaranteeing financing for large-scale freight projects that could help loosen a freight bottleneck in Chicago or construct a rail-freight tunnel in New York Harbor. American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nangle said he is pleased by “the broad eligibility of seaports for infrastructure grants and other financing in this bill,” and was encouraged that the FAST Act recognizes the importance of seaports and freight network to the nation’s economy, job creation and international competitiveness. “For the first time we have dedicated funding for multimodal freight projects,” said Nangle. Many states are expressing their excitement to be able to start funding projects with the FAST Act’s provision. Pennsylvania is planning to fund much-needed bridge repairs, counties in Florida are planning to complete numerous road projects, and Nebraska will now be able to tend to hundreds of bridges and roads that need repairs. In addition to the FAST Act, Hilary Clinton also released her proposal for infrastructure spending, calling for $275 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, rails, airports and other sectors. Because our nation’s infrastructure investment needs are so high, the Clinton proposal is a promising step in the right direction. ASCE is pleased that Congress has agreed on a long-term surface transportation bill that will provide our nation with the increased funding we need to invest in our infrastructure.

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New Game Changers Report Identifies Top Trends Shaping Infrastructure

July 23rd, 2015 | By: Becky Moylan

GC Squares and Title LogoThe challenges our infrastructure faces are chronicled frequently on this blog and in the media. The Highway Trust Fund heading toward insolvency (again). Water main breaks occurring every two minutes. Congested roadways causing us each to lose time and waste gas. But that’s only half the story. Today, we released our new Infrastructure #GameChangers report, which identifies the top trends in energy, freight, transportation and water that are transforming the way infrastructure is designed, planned, and built. The communities that chose to make the investment across the country are reaping the benefits, by preparing for tomorrow’s challenges and positioning themselves for economic growth. Here are some of the trends explored in the report: Transportation
  • Ridesharing and transit apps
  • Robotic inspections
  • Bus rapid transit
  • Smart parking systems
  • Accelerated bridge construction
Energy
  • LiDAR and drone technology
  • Integrating renewables
  • Preparing for blackouts with resilience
Water
  • Extracting energy from waste
  • Recycled and reclaimed water
  • Desalinated water
Freight
  • Public-private partnerships for inland waterways
  • Preparing for the Panama Canal expansion
Check out these and many others at ASCEgamechangers.org. Then be sure to share your favorite on social media using #GameChangers. And if you know of an innovation we’ve missed, tell us about it to include in future updates.

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Infrastructure That’s Changing the Game

July 14th, 2015 | By: Becky Moylan

GC Squares and Title LogoOur nation’s aging infrastructure is facing big challenges. But congested roadways and overflowing sewers are only half the story. That’s why the American Society of Civil Engineers is releasing a new report about the innovative ways communities across the country are modernizing infrastructure. Infrastructure Game Changers highlights trends in energy, freight, transportation and water infrastructure that are changing the way we design, plan, and build projects. The web-based report will be released on Thursday, July 23rd. Stay tuned so that you can be among the first to check it out, share it on social media using #GameChangers, and even submit your own game changing infrastructure trend.

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