Category Archives: Transportation

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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

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

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

Welcome Back to EnviroStructure!

Welcome back to “EnviroStructure!”  I apologize for my temporary hiatus. Did I miss anything in the last few months? If there’s one thing I’ve learned to appreciate in recent years, it’s that there’s nothing more constant in this world than change. With that understanding, and with a great sense of optimism and enthusiasm, I’m happy to … Continue Reading

Infrastructure Gets Top Billing from President-Elect Trump

President-Elect Trump’s election night statement specifically called out infrastructure, above all other domestic policy concerns, as a focus of his new Administration. Despite some initial rumblings from the conservative wing of the Republican Party about more government spending, it seems likely that enough members of both parties could work with the Trump White House to … Continue Reading

The Demise of the Illiana Expressway: Another Court Rejects Development Modeling Projections

While it may go down as a classic case of “bad facts making bad law,” last week’s ruling rejecting the government’s NEPA analysis for the controversial Illiana Expressway is the just the latest in a disturbing trend for large infrastructure development and Public-Private Partnership (P3) financing. Ironically, just a couple of weeks before Judge Jorge Alonso … Continue Reading

“Beyond Traffic”: Imagining a Brighter Infrastructure Future

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has a favorite saying that he attributes to one of his public school teachers:  “Having no plan is a plan.”  Well, now the USDOT has a plan, or, as it calls it, a “framework,” to create the foundation for transportation infrastructure improvement for the next 30 years.  It’s … Continue Reading

“The Name’s Bond, ‘Qualified Public Infrastructure Bond’”

It’s probably not a line that would get 007 any action, but for President Obama, it’s downright cheeky. In his latest bid to prove once and for all that he really, really supports infrastructure, the President proposed creating a special new class of municipal bonds specifically aimed at public-private partnership (P3) infrastructure investment.… Continue Reading

One If By Land, Two If P3

On the surface, the Administration’s recent P3 Summit was an exercise in wild agreement from all sides of the infrastructure sector.  “We know P3 can work.”  “P3 isn’t the answer to our infrastructure crisis, but it is an important tool.” “Federal investment in P3 projects must be expanded.”  “States must be encouraged to use P3 … Continue Reading