is public transport infrastructure? The urban / rural infrastructural divide, left / right
Welcome to “The Mobile City”, our weekly roundup of remarkable transportation developments.
Survey reveals clear differences over inclusion of transit in infrastructure package
A survey of 400 local government leaders found that while there is a broad consensus on spending ‘infrastructure’ money on roads, water projects, the power grid and broadband, this consensus collapses on public transport, Route Fifty reports.
The investigation revealed a partisan and geographic divide over the need to spend money on public transit infrastructure. While 73% of Democratic officials supported spending on transit, only 35% of Republicans did. (The independents were between the two poles, with 49% in favor of public transport spending.)
The gap was not so sharp but still significant when the size of the city was the metric. Expenditure on public transport was supported by almost 75% of respondents in cities of 75,000 or more inhabitants, while this figure fell to 55% in cities of 15,000 to 75,000 inhabitants and only 40% in cities under 15,000.
The survey, which was conducted by CivicPulse for Route Fifty, and Stanford University’s Bill Lee Center for the American West, was designed to elicit the broad spectrum of urban opinions on infrastructure issues. Especially small towns, said Nathan Lee, CEO of CivicPulse, professor of public policy at the University of Rochester.
“Because there are so many local governments, and many local governments are so small, often their voices are left out of the conversation in Washington,” Lee told Route Fifty. “But when you put all these local governments together, they are a huge part of the end users of this funding,” he added. “It is really important to base the truth on their priorities.”
While the vast majority of American city dwellers live in larger cities, the vast majority of local governments are smaller governments, which makes the division of transit spending particularly relevant. In comparison, most other categories of infrastructure spending received general support: 93% of respondents supported spending on roads and bridges, 83% supported spending on water projects and 73% said they supported spending on both broadband and electricity. Only 40 percent of overall transit spending supported.
“That’s not to say there isn’t support for public transportation,” Lee added of the results. “Rather, it is to say that support for public transport is concentrated in large cities. “
Criticism, contractor’s call for reduction of Oregon freeway widening project
According to its official website, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) plan to widen I-5 through Portland’s Rose neighborhood aims to suture a wound that the freeway opened when it was pushed across the region in the 1960s. ODOT will build covers and new crossings on the wider freeway to reconnect the Lower Albina neighborhood, a predominantly black section of northeast Portland that the freeway has split in two.
But a prominent Portland city planner and contractor on the project say rebuilding the Rose Quarter will do nothing unless the new freeway footprint is cut.
Willamette Week reports that an ODOT contractor, Arup, based in San Francisco, asked ODOT to reduce the width of the new freeway by 20 feet in order to significantly reduce the cost of covering the road. Arup suggested in an April 28 report that the current design, which includes 12-foot interior shoulder lanes, is unlike anything else in the country and would cost between $ 500 million and $ 700 million to cap.
Most local officials, some of whom opposed any widening of the motorway when ODOT first proposed to reconstruct freeway interchanges in the region in the 1990s, now support some enlargements but want the ODOT continues to expand to the minimum and insists on restoring surface connections. Members of the Oregon Congressional delegation to Washington also weighed in on the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Joe Cortland at City Observatory accused ODOT of acting in bad faith, claiming that ODOT is engaged in “a cover-up” of a plan to ultimately push a 10-lane freeway through Lower Albina and “cap” it with “slightly enlarged overpasses” that would not serve as a public space.
But, reports Willamette Week, ODOT has so far shown no interest in following Arup on his recommendation to scale down the project. And the city’s Observatory goes even further, accusing the department of “cleaning up alarm clocks” for its efforts to push a much wider freeway through an already traumatized neighborhood.
Amtrak unveils plan to eliminate notorious bottleneck
The Hudson River tunnels aren’t the only major bottleneck on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line that needs to be replaced. An even worse tunnel lies beneath Baltimore, where a 150-year-old ruined tunnel limits both train speed and the rail line’s passenger carrying capacity.
Age of the railway and Mass Transit both reported on June 21 that Amtrak and the Maryland Department of Transportation are now ready to remove that bottleneck as well.
The two agencies will work together on a new replacement for the Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel that will allow high-speed passenger train service from Baltimore Penn Station to the Washington Union Station Gorge.
The new twin-tube tunnel, which will be completed in 2033, will be named after Frederick Douglass, the Maryland-born abolitionist who used the railroad to free himself from slavery.
The tunnel is the key component of Amtrak’s B&P tunnel replacement program, which will also rebuild bridges, tracks and control systems on a four-mile stretch of the NEC line in West Baltimore. The project will also include a new West Baltimore station for MARC Penn Line regional trains, which will be 100% electrified upon completion.
A major change to the original design of the project saved $ 1 billion in costs and two years of construction time. The change was to build only two new tubes now, instead of the four originally planned, and to ensure that freight trains continue to use the old B&P tunnel, which the Federal Railroad Administration found to be structurally deficient.
Amtrak and Maryland will work together to identify sources of funding for the project. The total cost of the project is estimated at $ 4 billion. Amtrak has committed $ 65 million for preliminary design work next year and also expects federal funding of $ 257 million that would allow construction to begin in 2023.
“This is a critical project for Baltimore, for the State of Maryland and for the entire Northeast Corridor of the United States, and we plan to work with Amtrak and the federal government to move it forward. as quickly as possible, ”said Governor of Maryland Larry. Hogan said at a ceremony on June 17 marking Amtrak’s 50th anniversary.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia cream magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Investigator and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities dates back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations dates back this far.