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Friday, February 27th, 2009
America’s Worst Intersections

Forbes – Although still bad in these spots, traffic congestion in the U.S. has lessened as the economy has slowed. [read more…]

Friday, February 27th, 2009
Column: Is the Net Impact of the Obama Economic Plan Positive or Negative?

Reed/ACP Construction Data – We have seen hard evidence over the last year that the negative impact of low spending confidence is bigger than the positive impact of cheap credit and, until a few months ago, rising incomes. Currently, home affordability is record high and confidence is record low. Result: the housing market is depressed and still worsening and the problems are spreading rapidly to nonresidential construction. Many consumers, businesses (and their lenders) are not willing to make long term financial commitments. Some of the more than 50% plunge in consumer confidence since September can be attributed to the Obama team’s exaggerated comparisons of the current economy to the 1930s. [read more…]

Friday, February 27th, 2009
Corps of Engineers classifies Nashville dam as high risk

The Tennessean (Nashville) – The Army Corps of Engineers’ Nashville Branch released a questions and answers sheet about question the safety of J. Percy Priest Dam and what the recently issued DSAC II ranking means. [read more…]

Friday, February 27th, 2009
Hurricane protection commitment included in Obama’s budget, but details not ready yet

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) – Without offering specifics, President Barack Obama’s first budget calls for continued financing to restore Louisiana wetlands, including a study to identify “the best ways to restore wetlands” destroyed or damaged by the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.

His $5.1 billion spending request for the Army Corps of Engineers also includes continued work on “planning sustainable methods” to minimize the impact of hurricane storm surge on Gulf coastal areas. [read more…]

Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Stimulus funds earmark $20 billion for energy efficiency

The New York Times – President Obama signed the stimulus package into law on Feb. 17, hailing it as a shot of money big enough to help shake the economy from its lethargy while advancing many of his campaign priorities. Accelerating the country’s energy transition is at the top of his list. Many experts in the field agree with him that carefully chosen investments in efficiency will ultimately save more than they cost, by cutting energy bills.

At least $20 billion in the stimulus bill was earmarked for programs like improving the efficiency of government buildings and the homes of poor people, and trying to find better ways to save energy. That is far more, advocates say, than any bill in history. Within a few months, the money is likely to start landing in the bank accounts of thinly staffed state and city agencies that are accustomed to scraping for a dime here, a dollar there. [read more…]

Thursday, February 26th, 2009
In New Hampshire, towns compete for federal water aid

Seacoastonline (Portsmouth, N.H.) – While the projects appear to meet the criteria for federal economic stimulus funds, the city’s water treatment plant and sewer separation plans are among more than 170 competing for approximately $58 million in water infrastructure aid.

Municipalities have until Friday to submit projects to the Department of Environmental Services. Gov. John Lynch and DES commissioner Thomas Burack recently urged communities to apply for the funds, which will be made available through the state’s clean water and drinking water state revolving fund programs.

As of Wednesday, New Hampshire communities had submitted 80 applications for wastewater projects and 90 for drinking water treatment projects, totaling over $300 million.

The state’s estimated allotment from the stimulus package is $39 million for wastewater and $19 million for drinking water. [read more…]

Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Arkansas to get $351.5 million for infrastructure

Forbes/The Associated Press – A list of 27 “shovel-ready” highway infrastructure projects with costs totaling more than $24 million was approved for start of construction once federal stimulus money is made available, Arkansas officials said Wednesday.

Arkansas has been allocated $351.5 million for state infrastructure projects, and the funds will be made available no later than March 10 by the Federal Highway Administration. State Highway and Transportation Department officials said they are ready to break ground as soon as the money is released. [read more…]

Thursday, February 26th, 2009
Rutgers announces $500M plan for new academic, student facilities

Home News Tribune (East Brunswick, N.J.) – One day after President Barack Obama addressed the nation about his economic stimulus plan, Rutgers offered details of its own $500 million stimulus plan.

The plan includes $270 million for the construction of dorms, $55 million for a technologies center in Piscataway and $25 million for the Institute for Health Sciences in downtown New Brunswick.

The announcement of the massive capital-improvement plan came one day after Rutgers closed on the sale of $233.1 million in general obligation bonds. [read more…]

Thursday, February 26th, 2009
A closer look at the planned bored tunnel in Seattle

The West Seattle Herald – West Seattle residents were able to learn more about the plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall and present mixed opinions to the Washington Department of Transportation, King County, and the City of Seattle staff members at an open house on Feb. 24.

Last month, Gov. Chris Gregoire, King County Executive Ron Sims, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced their recommendation to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep-bored tunnel. The law makers plans’ include a 1.7 mile, deep-bored tunnel under downtown, transit investments, and modifications to the waterfront and downtown surface streets. [read more…]

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