Photo by AP Wideworld

In Streets of New York City, Thousands Call Upon World Leaders To Take Action on Global Warming

Two days before world leaders convened a United Nations summit, participants in the People's Climate March coursed through Manhattan on Sept. 21. More than 300,000 marched along the 2.1-mile midtown route. The next day, a smaller group without a permit blocked traffic in lower Manhattan in a "Flood Wall Street" protest. They targeted companies that, they claim, harm the Earth with poor environmental practices. About 100 were arrested. Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey received new federal funds for Superstorm Sandy projects.

N.Y. and N.J. To Get Lion's Share Of Next FTA Post-Sandy Funds

New York will snag $1.9 billion and New Jersey will get about $1.4 billion under the U.S. Transportation Dept.'s latest round of funding for Superstorm Sandy resiliency projects. DOT's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will administer the funds to cover 40 transit-related systems that sustained the worst damage from the storm. The other award recipients are Connecticut, which will get roughly $170 million; Pennsylvania, $87 million; Massachusetts, $35 million; New Hampshire, $26 million; and the District of Columbia, $21 million. Of New York's share, about $1.6 billion is earmarked for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Projects include multiple forms of flood protection for substations throughout the system. New Jersey Transit is to get $1.3 billion for projects including the replacement of the Raritan River Drawbridge. ConnDOT will use $161 million of its share to replace the Walk Bridge, a critical span for Amtrak and MTA's Metro-North Railroad service in the Northeast Corridor. To date, FTA has allocated nearly $9.3 billion of its $10.9-billion total for the federal emergency relief program.

Estimated Cost Rises for Massachusetts Transit Project

Massachusetts transportation officials on Sept. 17 announced a likely hike, to nearly $2 billion from $1.4 billion, for Boston's 4.3-mile Green Line subway extension. Officials expect half the project to be funded by federal dollars. A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokesperson says the $1.99-billion budget includes a 30% cost contingency for the entire project, but MBTA believes the final cost will be closer to $1.6 billion. Budget changes are attributed to an expanded project scope, including design, construction and safety improvements. Separately, the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation board approved, on Sept. 18, a $33.7-million contract to McCourt Construction Co. Inc. for the 1.3-mile extension of the MBTA Silver Line, a bus rapid-transit system. It will provide a new connection to the Blue Line's Airport Station.

President Green-Lights Stopgap Measure for Federal Agencies

President Barack Obama has signed a short stopgap spending measure to fund federal agencies until Dec. 11. The continuing resolution trims most federal programs, including construction accounts, by about 0.6%, compared with 2014 levels. The measure also reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. through June 30. Construction-equipment manufacturers and other business groups had pushed for the Ex-Im extension, but conservative groups and some lawmakers opposed it. Congress will take up a follow-on appropriations measure during a lame-duck session to keep the government running past Dec. 11.

Former Baltimore Steel Complex Gets $51-Million Cleanup in Deal

An investor-led development group that bought the now-defunct 3,100-acre Sparrows Point steelmaking complex in Baltimore has agreed to a $51-million hazardous-waste and groundwater cleanup at the site, once owned by Bethlehem Steel. In a Sept. 18 settlement with state and federal environmental agencies, Sparrows Point Terminal LLC, which purchased the site this month, will fund remediation. The complex is undergoing one of the country's largest industrial demolitions. The developer intends to remake the site into "one of the largest ports on the East Coast," says Michael Pedone, chief operating officer. The site was closed in 2012.