Category Archives: Infrastructure

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Of Infrastructure and Spring Training

For over 60 years, the concept of a “federally assisted, state run” program was the underlying premise for our nation’s transportation infrastructure system.  The federal “assistance” came largely in the form of money, providing the majority share of funds for capital projects across the country.  The central government also offered states and its other grantees … Continue Reading

Infrastructure Proposal Stresses Environmental Streamlining and Reform

In advance of the State of the Union address, leaked copies of the administration’s infrastructure legislative outline appeared in the media.  While this outline failed to address key questions facing both the White House and Congress concerning how to pay for an infrastructure initiative, it described dozens of reforms to permitting requirements for federal decisions … Continue Reading

Breathing New Life into Older Buildings

As workplace technology and space needs continue to change, traditional office tenants are increasingly harder to come by.  At the same time, people who have opted out of commuting from the suburbs to enjoy a more urban existence closer to central business districts are finding affordable housing choices ever more challenging.  These forces, among many … Continue Reading

Autonomous Vehicles: Zoning, Land Use, and Infrastructure Issues to Consider Right Now

Autonomous vehicles are coming.  No one agrees on when they will be in widespread use, but everyone agrees that they are coming soon in some form.  Just like smart phones, ride-hailing services, social media, and other innovations of the past decade, autonomous vehicles will almost certainly dramatically change the way we live, work, and interact … Continue Reading

Administration’s New Streamlining Executive Order – Does It Move the Needle?

The release of the administration’s latest Executive Order on permit and NEPA streamlining has been overshadowed by recent events.  Whatever positive momentum the EO could have created for the long-overdue focus on infrastructure was undeniably quickly lost.  However, it is still a worthwhile exercise to review any opportunities for progress that may be reflected in … Continue Reading

Now THAT’S Streamlining!

It is a welcome day when headlines focused on infrastructure make the front page.  Of course, they provide inspiration for the blog.  They also take my attention off, well, everything else. Today’s headline was certainly an eye-catcher:  “Elon Musk says he has ‘verbal’ government approval for hyperloop.”  Anyone spellbound by the possibility of the hyperloop … Continue Reading

When Does $1,000,000,000,000 ≠ $1,000,000,000,000?

The long-anticipated Trump infrastructure plan is almost ready, but the preview of that plan as reflected in the administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget has already prompted strong reactions.  Two things are clear: the promised $1 trillion dollar investment in infrastructure may be illusory, at best, and the plan’s outline represents a fundamental shift in the … Continue Reading

What’s the Buzz? Tell Me What’s A-Happening

When the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service placed the rusty patched bumblebee on the endangered species list back on March 21, many observers wondered how this action could impact a wide variety of infrastructure development proposals.  Unlike some of the recent controversial species management actions that implicated areas of the American west more accustomed to … Continue Reading

Will “Pay to Play” Laws Impact Potential New Infrastructure Spending?

In the President’s first address to Congress, two statements received near-unanimous standing ovations:  his advocacy for a major infrastructure rebuilding effort, and his continued promise to “drain the swamp” of political influence-peddling and corruption.  In the infrastructure world, these two themes come together with so-called “Pay to Play” laws, which restrict political contributions by businesses … Continue Reading

Funding Our Infrastructure Maintenance Backlog Before the Next Crisis

  The shocking images out of California of the near-failure of the Oroville Dam have once again shined a light on essential, aging American infrastructure. Damage to the nearly mile-long spillway and threatened complete breach of the dam’s “emergency spillway” (really just the side of the hill adjacent to the man-made structure) led to the … Continue Reading