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Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
Corps funding squeeze could jam Chickamauga Lock renovations

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tenn.) – President Barack Obama has signaled he will cut the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget by more than half next year, putting a potential squeeze on funding for Chickamauga Lock renovations.

The president’s fiscal 2010 proposed budget, released this month, shows the corps’ funding dropping 54 percent from fiscal 2009 levels to $5.1 billion, partly due to an impending shortfall of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.

But Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., noted the recently passed economic stimulus bill contains $4.6 billion for the corps. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
Stimulus Flows Into Patchwork of State Transport Projects

The New York Times – There is nothing monumental in President Obama’s plan to revive the economy with a coast-to-coast building spree, no historic New Deal public works. The goal of the stimulus plan was to put people to work quickly, and so states across the country have now begun to spend nearly $50 billion on thousands of smaller transportation projects that could employ up to 400,000 people, by the administration’s estimates. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
In N.Y., Schumer Seeks Federal Stimulus Funds to Jump-Start Moynihan Transit Project

The New York Times – State officials selected two developers nearly four years ago for a grand project to transform the James A. Farley Post Office into a transit hub that would serve as an annex to Pennsylvania Station, the country’s busiest train station. Despite widespread support, the project has languished because of a lack of financing, political inertia, squabbles with transportation agencies and the developers’ ambitions.

Now, Senator Charles E. Schumer is calling for the injection of $100 million in federal stimulus funds to convert the post office building, expand the city’s transportation infrastructure and employ thousands of workers. Mr. Schumer also renewed his call for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take charge of the project and asked them to invest $1 billion. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
OptiSolar sells its planned solar power plants

San Francisco Chronicle – Hit hard by the financial crisis, Hayward’s OptiSolar agreed on Monday to sell its entire portfolio of planned but unbuilt solar power plants to an Arizona rival for $400 million in stock.

First Solar, based in Tempe, will now try to build the projects, scattered across California and the West. They include an enormous solar plant in San Louis Obispo County that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. needs in order to expand its use of renewable power.

Analysts have been expecting a wave of acquisitions to hit the solar industry as a result of the recession. Also on Monday, a Spanish company, Fotowatio, announced that it will purchase San Francisco’s MMA Renewable Ventures, which develops and operates renewable-power projects. The deal is valued at roughly $20 million. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
In L.A. County, Wilmington looks to a greener future

Los Angeles Times – When visitors to Wilmington’s historic red-brick Chamber of Commerce ask what’s new, three topics tend to dominate the ensuing conversation.

One is the recent groundbreaking for a long-awaited 30-acre buffer of parkland separating the working-class community from the frenzy of diesel-spewing activity in the nation’s busiest port.

Another is a plan to establish a “green technology center” in what remains an edgy hodgepodge of junkyards, flaming refinery towers, fouled flood-control channels and shipping containers stacked so high the sun sets early on many neighborhoods.

The third is how Alma Ortiz made history. She’s the first person to run a tea shop in the area overrun with doughnut stands and greasy spoons. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
In Illinois, aging locks and dam in need of repair

Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) – The 600-foot long concrete and steel Lockport Lock and Dam is the first gateway on the barge shipping artery known as the Illinois Waterway — the shipping route linking the state and the world.

If it or any of the six other locks and dams between here and St. Louis were to fail, the transportation of about $16 billion a year worth of grain, goods, coal, chemicals and other industrial raw material for industries in Illinois would be at risk. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
What the Stimulus Plan Means for Construction

BusinessWeek – The White House on February 26 unveiled a $3.55-trillion budget outline for fiscal year 2010 that would boost funding for water infrastructure and transportation programs while aiming to cut the federal deficit in half by 2013.

White House officials say the outline provides a broad framework for fiscal policy over the next 10 years. A more detailed budget proposal will be released in April. But the proposal is only the first step in a long legislative process. Months of hearings by appropriations and tax-writing committees will take place, followed by committee and floor votes. Final numbers for 2010 spending won’t emerge until late summer, at the earliest. [read more…]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
In San Francisco, unbuilt Transbay station could soon be obsolete

San Francisco Chronicle – San Francisco’s planned high-speed rail station in the new Transbay Terminal would be obsolete within two decades, state transportation officials warn, forcing them to rethink the design.

The proposed station would not be large enough to accommodate half the passengers expected to be using the system by 2030. In addition, the current scheme poses engineering challenges for a Caltrain extension to the Transbay Terminal downtown, officials said. [read more…]

Friday, February 27th, 2009
Meadowlands solar panels start soaking up the sun

The Boston Globe/The Associated Press – With a flip of the switch, one of New Jersey’s largest and newest solar panel projects began soaking up the sun Monday.

The 65,000-square-foot roof of the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus became a solar generator, capable of producing 412 kilowatts of electricity without the environmental concerns posed by oil tankers, nuclear waste, coal mine runoff and natural gas pipelines. [read more…]

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