Airport construction grants and other Federal Aviation Administration programs can continue for two more months, thanks to yet another stopgap authorization measure. President Obama signed the bill into law on Aug. 1. It is the 15th FAA extension since September 2007, when the last multiyear aviation bill expired. The new stopgap runs through Sept. 30. The Senate and House have approved different long-term FAA bills. Lawmakers and staff have been negotiating to reconcile the two measures, but were unable to reach agreement by the end of July, when the previous stopgap lapsed.
Legislation to tighten safety requirements for offshore oil and gas drilling has advanced in the House but faces an uncertain future in the Senate. The House on July 30 passed the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resource Act, which would set tough safety standards for offshore drilling and require oil companies to cover 100% of cleanup costs and damages from spills they create. The “CLEAR” Act, approved 209 to 193, also would revamp the Interior Dept.’s former Minerals Management Service by removing conflicts-of-interest among its leasing, inspection and revenue-collection duties. Interior recently reorganized MMS and renamed it the Bureau of
Construction industry sources say the latest legal skirmish over Arizona’s controversial immigration law underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform at the national level. The law, signed April 23, allows police to detain an individual under “reasonable suspicion” of being an illegal alien. The case could ultimately go to the U.S. Supreme Court, say political observers. Photo courtesy of the office of Jan Brewer Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has suggested bringing in the state legislature for a special session to modify its controversial immigration law. “This is a federal issue and it needs to be addressed,” says Kelly Knott,
The state of Arizona asked a federal appeals court on July 29 to overturn a preliminary injunction by a U.S. district judge that prevents portions of the state’s controversial immigration law from going into effect. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said, “I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona,.” The state filed an expedited appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put a temporary hold on portions of the law on July 28, one day before it was
Three years after the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis focused attention on bridge conditions nationwide, some observers see shortcomings in the federal bridge program. Some participants at a July 21 House subcommittee hearing found fault with the Federal Highway Administration’s system for tracking bridge funds as well as states’ ability to transfer federal bridge category funds to non-bridge projects. The panel also received ideas about ways to restructure the program. FHWA can take some steps on its own; other changes may be part of the next highway-transit bill, whenever it emerges. Photo: House Transportation And Infrastructure Committee Officials (from left)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), acknowledging that he lacks the votes to pass a comprehensive energy and climate-change bill, has decided to pursue narrower legislation. At press time, Reid was poised to introduce a scaled-back measure that he hopes will move to the Senate floor before the August recess. He says, “This is not the only energy legislation we’re going to do. This is what we can do now.” Reid’s bill has five elements: holding BP “accountable” for the Gulf oil spill; incentives for converting diesel-fueled heavy trucks to natural-gas power; rebates to spur energy-efficient improvements in homes; spending
It would take $77.7 billion in capital spending to bring U.S. transit systems to a “state of good repair,” the Federal Transit Administration estimates. A study, released on July 21 by FTA, says that rail accounts for $59.2 billion of the total, including $42.7 billion for heavy rail. Bus and other non-rail systems comprise the rest. FTA says it would take $18.3 billion annually for 20 years to achieve overall good-repair condition. Reaching that level over six years would require $27.3 billion a year. Just addressing “normal replacement needs” would cost $14.4 billion, the agency says. Hitting any of those
Transportation groups are cheering a Senate proposal to target aid for multimodal infrastructure to move goods. The Focusing Resources, Economic Investment and Guidance to Help Transportation Act, introduced on July 22 by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), would direct the Dept. of Transportation to develop and implement a long-term strategic plan for freight and create a freight planning and development office at DOT.
The only person criminally prosecuted for the deadly collapse of a 200-ft tower crane in Manhattan was acquitted last week of all charges, but New York City’s sweeping safety reforms following the accident remain in place. Photo By Hermann/ny Daily News Rigger accused of mansalughter is free, but questions about crane collapse continue. New York Supreme Court Judge Roger Hayes’ tersely worded verdict declared master rigger William Rapetti not guilty on a multitude of charges, including manslaughter and negligent homicide for his role in the collapse that killed seven and injured dozens more. But several regulations imposed by the city’s
An interim rule issued on July 8 by the Obama Administration requires certain federal contractors to report the total compensation of their highest-paid executives and first-tier subcontractors’ top managers. The requirement will phase in through March 2011. The rule also requires federal contractors grossing $300,000 or more in the last tax year to report first-tier subcontract awards. That mandate took effect immediately.
In an unprecedented collaboration, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, and floor-covering supplier Interface are showing their collective commitment to embodied carbon reduction by joining the board of Building Transparency.