Infrastructure Update: ULI Releases Infrastructure 2012; Congress in Conference on Transportation Bill

Infrastructure 2012 Highlights Innovative Solutions

Constrained public budgets and a growing recognition at the local level of the importance of infrastructure are leading states, regions, and cities across the United States to seek innovative infrastructure approaches and solutions. Among the strategies employed by local governments are ballot measures taken directly to the public, public/private partnerships, and the combined application of technology and pricing, according to Infrastructure 2012: Spotlight on Leadership, released today by ULI and Ernst & Young LLP.

Infrastructure 2012
pinpoints the trends, policies, and issues surrounding infrastructure in 2012 and beyond. Based on interviews with infrastructure experts, up-to-date research and analysis, and other sources, the report is full of essential information and insights for any infrastructure or land use professional.

In an article in Atlantic Cities, Rachel MacCleery, ULI vice president for infrastructure, highlights the local innovations featured in Infrastructure 2012 and concludes, “As Congress considers a path forward on federal transportation legislation, it might find some inspiration in metropolitan efforts to build and fund the infrastructure of the future.”

Congress in Conference on Federal Transportation Bill

On May 8, conference designees from the House and Senate made their opening statements at the first formal conference meeting on reauthorization of federal transportation legislation. The Senate passed its version of new surface transportation legislation on a bipartisan vote, 74–22, in March, while House Republicans struggled with how to pay for their proposed five-year bill. Faced with the expiration of existing law on March 31, 2012, the House and Senate agreed to a “clean” extension—the ninth since 2009—until June 30. (ULI CEO Patrick Phillips analyzes the Senate’s MAP-21 bill in Urban Land.)

After the Easter recess, it became clear that House Republican leaders had given up on rallying the troops around a comprehensive bill of their own. They were willing, however, to go into negotiations with the Senate on MAP-21. On a vote of 293–127, the House passed HR 4348, which positions House negotiators with what is being called a “shell bill.” The limited House bill includes measures mandating approval of a federal permit for the Keystone pipeline, rolling back federal requirements for the environmental review of transportation projects, and ramping up funding for ports. Sixty-nine Democrats voted for HR 4348.

Infrastructure in Urban Land

Navigating East Independence. A new direction for transportation in east Charlotte, North Carolina.

Public Art in Transit. How public art at two downtown Los Angeles transit-oriented developments came to generate ongoing income for a private developer and local government.

Playing along the Railroad Tracks. A river of steel delivers new life to Birmingham, Alabama.