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News & Updates

Your Weekly Planning Updates

Maryland Senate Committee Crafts Compromise on Transportation Scoring Law

  • A Maryland Senate committee has advanced a compromise measure that would delay implementation of a transportation project scoring law that Gov. Larry Hogan consistently pans as the “Road Kill Bill.” The law, passed over Hogan’s veto last year, requires officials to study local transportation projects, rank them and offer an explanation if any project receives state funding over one that is ranked higher.

With Trump on Board, Texas Puts High-Speed Rail on the Fast Track

  • Texas is closer than ever to building the first high-speed train in the United States, thanks to President Donald Trump’s fascination with these transportation projects and a well-timed pitch to his administration. Now developers nationwide are looking tot he privately owned Texas Central Railway as a test case of what can get done with Trump in the White House.

Change in Colorado HOV Lane Law Could Cost State Millions

  • There is hope for you Mazda Miata, BMW Z3 and Porsche Boxster owners, lawmakers will once again debate changing HOV-3 back to HOV-2. In January, the high occupancy lanes on Interstate 25 and U.S. 36 converted to a requirement of three people in the vehicle to avoid paying a toll.

Texas Poised to Spend $2.5 Billion on Urban Highway Projects

  • Weeks after two state senators questioned how billions in voter-approved highway money could be clawed back and spent on other state needs, Texas transportation officials on Wednesday touted a litany of projects they plan to build with the funds. The Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the state transportation department, is set to vote this month on its 10-year plan that lays out its long-term strategy for upcoming road projects. Included in that is a $2.5 billion, four-year plan specifically aimed at unclogging choke points in urban areas.

PLANNING

Southwestern Pennsylvania Transportation Group Releases Study for Improving Mobility

  • As president and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. in Warrendale, Brian Heery gets a firsthand look at the region’s transportation issues. He has employees from each of the counties that make up southwestern Pennsylvania. Now, as co-chairman of the Regional Transportation Alliance, he has an opportunity to help address the movement of people and freight across the region. After the alliance released an 18-month study Wednesday that identified seven principles and 50 ideas to consider, the real work of developing projects, building consensus and identifying funding begins.

MPOs

Senate Votes to Repeal FHWA-FTA Rule on Reshaping Metropolitan Planning Organizations

  • The Senate voted March 8 by unanimous consent to repeal a controversial regulation issued last year by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration that would revamp how metropolitan planning organizations must define their areas, and which could force some to merge.

New California Assembly Bill Would Reform SANDAG, Local Transit Agencies

  • Legislation that would introduce reforms to the embattled San Diego Association of Governments and two area transit agencies was introduced in the state Legislature Monday. The bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, would have the governing boards of SANDAG, the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District provide proportional representation based on member city populations.

 

FUNDING

Lawmakers Urge Support for Infrastructure Financing Tool

  • A bipartisan group of more than 150 House members is expressing  support for the municipal bond tax exemption as congressional Republicans and President Trump make tax reform one of their top priorities this year.

RAIL

Study to Consider Potential for Passenger Train Service Between Northern Michigan, Ann Arbor

  • An upcoming study is expected to gauge the potential for successful passenger train service along the rail corridor between Northern Michigan and Ann Arbor. Jim Lively, a program director at the Traverse City-based Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, said that organization worked with the Bay Area Transportation Authority-a public transit agency serving the Traverse City area-to line up grant funding for the study.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Boston Announces Plan to Become the Most Walkable City in America

  • For the better part of the past three decades, Bostonians have forgone getting behind the wheel, opting instead to walk, bike or take public transit. In a 77-page report released Tuesday, the city’s Transportation Department unveiled plans to improve transportation and housing in Boston with a vision for 2030. Among those goals is to see more people lacing up their sneakers and hitting the pavement.

Cincinnati Adds Tool to Allow Reporting of Pedestrian-Involved Traffic Incidents Online

  • For the first time, Cincinnati residents can report pedestrian-involved traffic incidents online. The city added Thursday the pedestrian option to its Citizen Service Requests tool, which-beyond road and traffic issues-residents can use to report issues or request service from the city regarding: animal and pest control, grocery or restaurant quality, graffiti, sewer and water problems, and trash and recycling needs, among other requests.

OTHER

‘People Rather than Vehicles’ Becomes Focus of Smart City Transportation Plan

  • When Pittsburgh put in its bid for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge in 2016, city officials realized something: Even though they were looking toward the future, the way they actually operated was stuck in the past. Alex Pazuchanics, the city’s transportation policy coordinator, said Pittsburgh decided to take a decisive step toward overcoming the centuries-old approach to transportation infrastructure and preparing to handle a more connected and data-driven future.