Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


May 19, 2016

Congress is in session.

Transportation Appropriations and Funding
After a week of votes and amendments, the Senate is expected to pass the FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill as early as this afternoon. On Tuesday, a $1.1 billion amendment was approved to provide emergency funding for Zika virus response.  Outstanding issues include trucking hours-of-service limit and TSA efficiency.

In the House, the $58.2 billion THUD spending bill passed out of subcommittee on Wednesday and will now go to the full committee. The House version has $1.7 billion more in funds than the Senate version and increases discretionary appropriations for USDOT by $540 million and HUD by $385 million over FY2016 levels.

Meanwhile, at an event on Tuesday, Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) spoke about the need to consider other ways to fund infrastructure besides raising the gas tax. He discussed the poorly funded FAST Act and dwindling funds due to more fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles that pay little or no gas tax. Solutions he suggested to consider include a vehicle miles traveled fee, more highway tolls, and a tire tax to back future transportation bills.

Smart City Challenge Finalists Meetings
This week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has been visiting and meeting with local leaders and mayors of the seven Smart City Challenge finalist cities. He met with Pittsburg, Columbus, Austin, Denver, San Francisco, and Portland earlier this week and meets with Kansas City tomorrow for his final stop. Each of the cities have been given $100,000 to further develop their proposals, which are due May 24. The winner of the $40 million final prize will be announced in June.

FAA Releases Drone Registration Location Data
FAA released a large database of registered drone owners from the registration system that began operating last December. FAA requires drone owners to register devices that weigh more than 0.55 lbs and are flown outside for hobby or recreation. The database lists the city, state, and zip code of each registered owner.

Supporting Economic Development with Highway Investment
A new FHWA report looks at how highway projects support economic development in communities. The report covers economic development concepts, impacts, and the role of highway investments.

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National Infrastructure Week
This week, May 16 – 23, is National Infrastructure Week and has featured a number of events, media coverage, education, and advocacy efforts to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans. The theme in 2016 – Infrastructure Matters – is intended to tell the story of what infrastructure means to Americans and how it matters, in big and small ways, to our country, our economy, our quality of life, our safety, and our communities. The focus is on roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, airports, pipes, the power grid, and broadband. Infrastructure Week is sponsored by America’s business, labor, and policy-making leadership, and comprised of more than 100 organizations from all sectors of America’s economy, a non-partisan coalition of organizations dedicated to strengthening America by rebuilding our infrastructure. Yesterday during Advocacy Day, stakeholders from across the country lobbied Capitol Hill on important issues in over 50 meetings and a press luncheon.

May is also Bike to Work Month.  Do you have an Infrastructure Week or Bike to Work event? If so, tell us about it and send us your photos (tweet to @NARCregions or send to

Five Infrastructure Emergencies
With infrastructure in the national spotlight this week, the Hill has identified a list of five transportation projects that experts think are in dire need of repair. While all infrastructure projects are important, these five are considered threatening to both the economy and public safety. The projects include Cincinnati’s Brent Spence Bridge; Washington, DC’s Metrorail; the Gateway Rail Tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey; the I-10 Bridge in Alabama; and San Francisquito Creek bridges in Palo Alto, CA.

View full list of jobs!

Quality Assurance Reviewer
Alamo Area Council of Governments, San Antonio, TX

Transportation Planner
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Pittsburgh, PA

Planning Data and Technical Services Program Director
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Washington, DC

Transportation Planner III
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Washington, DC

Plan Development and Coordination Program Director
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Washington, DC

Senior Statistical Survey Analyst
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Washington, DC

Executive Director
Metroplan, Little Rock, Arkansas

Senior Accountant
San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego, CA

View full list of grants and events!

A New Way Forward: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution
May 24, 12:20 – 1:30 PM ET
To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, experts say we must slash carbon pollution and transition to 100 percent clean energy. A new report by Frontier Group, A NEW WAY FORWARD: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution, points the way toward a necessary and achievable zero-carbon transportation system. Experts join Frontier Group and Environment America for a panel discussion on how transformation of our transportation system can help solve the climate crisis.

Federal Financing to Capitalize State Infrastructure Banks
May 24, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
The FAST Act has brought State Infrastructure Banks (SIBs) back into focus by granting the USDOT Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program the ability to capitalize a rural projects fund within a SIB.  These new rural projects funds may enable SIBs to better leverage TIFIA financing to provide credit assistance to rural infrastructure projects in need of efficient, low cost financing.  This webinar will provide a detailed explanation of the FAST Act changes to the SIB program and explain how SIBs and eligible projects may benefit from using a rural projects fund.

FTA FAST Act Safety Standards Webinar
May 26, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
FTA is hosting a webinar to discuss their review of public transportation standards and protocols. As part of the review, which was mandated by the FAST Act, FTA is seeking public comment on its initial inventory of public transportation safety standards and protocols.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Intelligent Transportation System Solutions
June 1, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
The field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) has witnessed a significant increase in activity with the advent of modern control, communications, and information technologies to vehicles and roadway infrastructure. While the primary objectives of ITS have focused on improving safety, mobility, and efficiency of the transportation system, it is now well known that ITS technology can also deliver significant environmental benefits. This webinar will discuss advances being made in environmental-ITS applications in three main areas: vehicle systems, traffic management systems, and travel information systems.

Workshop: Exploring Data and Metrics of Value at the Intersection of Health Care and Transportation
June 6-7, Washington, DC
FTA is sponsoring a two-day workshop to explore the intersection of healthcare and transportation and discuss ways that research can quantify how partnerships between healthcare and transportation providers lead to positive health outcomes. The workshop, which brings together experts from the transportation, health, and human services sectors, will showcase local examples of formal and informal healthcare and transportation partnerships; explore ways to use data to estimate the value of transportation to healthcare in various settings; examine performance measures pertinent to the relationship between transit/transportation services and healthcare outcomes; and discuss what is needed to calculate the return on investment in terms of health outcomes.

Learn to use TREDIS in your Preservation Programs
June 14, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
This technical webinar will demonstrate how new and existing subscribers can use TREDIS to model bridge and pavement preservation projects and programs. Questions to be addressed include, how do you communicate the value of investing in preservation from an economic perspective, how does TREDIS use outputs from your asset management systems to determine why preservation is important, and how can you use custom modes to model preservation projects in TREDIS.

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