Georgia Has Infrastructure Money in the Bank
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
GEORGIA INFRASTRUCTURE BANK: Three years after it was created, Georgia's infrastructure bank has received just four applications for loans from local governments. It awarded only a single loan for $1 million, and has $32 million left in the bank, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Governor Nathan Deal backed changes that will now let local governments use the money for repair and upkeep, not just new projects. "This is one of the more progressive things that we've done to assist local governments," Deal says.
RAIL REJECTIONS: The fighting over public transit funding continues in Ohio . Governor John Kasich already rejected federal money for high-speed rail and redirected federal dollars originally destined for public transit. Now, Ohio lawmakers effectively have gutted a plan to add a streetcar line in Cincinnati, by barring any state funding for the project, the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. "Of the several dozen being proposed across the United States," adds The Transport Politic , "the streetcar project in Cincinnati is one of the most promising because it connects what is one of the country's most densely built center cities to a major university."
Meanwhile, North Carolina Republicans are looking to follow the lead of Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin in refusing federal stimulus money to build high-speed rail. Seven North Carolina lawmakers are sponsoring a measure, which they say will protect state taxpayers and prevent competition with the state-owned N.C. Railroad, writes the News and Observer . Democratic Governor Bev Perdue opposes the measure. The move comes after the state Department of Transportation announced it will receive $461 million to improve service between Raleigh and Charlotte, according to the Charlotte Observer .
But in Arizona , the state Department of Transportation will develop a statewide rail plan, including a study of whether to link Phoenix and Tucson with passenger trains, the East Valley Tribune reports. "There's a lot that needs to take place before the shovel hits the dirt," an agency spokeswoman told the paper, "but we are certainly glad to be part of a discussion when it comes to rail."
STATE FERRIES: Washington State legislators want to make fewer cuts to the state ferry system than Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire proposed, reports the Kitsap Sun . The House and Senate versions vary slightly, but both rely on fare increases. The Senate would also build a new 144-car ferry. Both the governor and the House called for reduced service as well, although the governor would eliminate more trips, explains Business Week . Meanwhile, a panel in the Hawaii Senate advanced a measure that would revive ferry service for the island state, two years after courts shut down the Hawaii Superferry, reports the Honolulu Star Advertiser . The Hawaii Department of Transportation, however, only offered "lukewarm" support for reviving the service, the paper notes.