Between now and 2039, nearly $13 trillion will be needed for rail, transit, highways, bridges, drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, electricity, airports, seaports and inland waterways. But if the U.S. keeps pace with planned spending—currently totaling $7.3 trillion—it will face a $5.6 trillion investment gap by 2039, the ASCE report found.

ASCE: ‘Close the Infrastructure Investment Gap’

Inadequate U.S. infrastructure improvements could lead to a decline of more than $23 trillion in business productivity and a loss of $10.3 trillion in GDP over the next two decades, according to a recently released American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) economic study.

Second in a Series: Complete Streets, Incomplete Transit

In my last report, I looked at Pete Buttigieg, President-elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation, and what he would bring to the post. I looked at his own concepts as he expressed them in his acceptance speech, how he might serve USDOT’s business constituents, and his background. Part of that background is the time he spent as mayor of South Bend, a post he occupied starting in 2012. As I will describe in this article, he can claim some credit as an urbanist with his “Smart Streets” policy for the city’s downtown area, but local bus service remains limited, and the passenger trains that ostensibly run to South Bend do not go anywhere near downtown.

Acting Secretary of Transportation Steven G. Bradbury

Bradbury Acting U.S. SEC DOT

Following Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s resignation, effective Jan. 11, Steven G. Bradbury is Acting Secretary of Transportation in accordance with the Department’s established order of succession.

Unions Petition FRA, DHS for Emergency Orders (UPDATED)

Leadership at the industry’s two largest operating-craft unions, the SMART-Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, have petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration to issue an Emergency Order regarding “the safety of all passenger rail crews and passengers.” The unions have also petitioned the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enact a “No-Ride List” on passenger railroads.

The FTA will provide just over $766 million for the Portal North Bridge Project, with the Federal Highway Administration providing roughly $57 million. NJ Transit and Amtrak will provide the balance of funding, about $977 million, and share operating and maintenance.

FTA Commits $766.5MM to Portal North Bridge

New Jersey Transit has received a $766.5 million grant agreement from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the $1.888 billion two-track, fixed-span Portal North Bridge Project in Hudson County.

USDOT Previews FY21 Small Business Innovation Research Program Topics

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is providing a preview of the 13 topics to be featured in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program this year. Program grants will total $1.9 million.

First in a Series: Does DOT’s New Face Signal New Policies?

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Pete Buttigieg to be the next Secretary of Transportation, as Railway Age reported on Dec. 15. This news report noted his experience, particularly as mayor of South Bend, Ind., and included a number of laudatory statements from industry leaders, including one from labor. Indeed, it would be unwise for any of those industry leaders to appear less enthusiastic than that concerning any such nominee, and risk the ire that could result. The question in my mind is, what will Buttigieg’s appointment mean for Amtrak and rail transit customers, or anyone who represents those constituencies.

Primus Sworn In as Fourth STB Member

Robert Primus was sworn in as a new member of the Surface Transportation Board on Jan. 7, with House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) presiding.

Pizzimenti joins WSP USA

WSP USA has named David Pizzimenti, Ph.D, as Vice President and Alternate Delivery Leader for the firm’s Southeast Region. He will lead the selection of contractor and concessionaire partners and manage the relationship with those partners in a 12-state region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C. He will be involved throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, including teaming and agreement/terms, addressing all matters necessary to achieve project completion.

Passenger Rail Outlook: Building Back

RAILWAY AGE, JANUARY 2021 ISSUE: First, getting through the pandemic—then, building a new normal. Amid uncertainty, there is cautious optimism for passenger rail in 2021. That was the general consensus of industry experts Railway Age interviewed in December.