RoadWorks: We need the right kind of green shoots
- Stephen E. Sandherr, Associated General Contractors of America
The plan “calls for repealing the alternative minimum tax and increasing and extending a series of tax credits and cuts – including the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts – to boost investments in real estate development,” he said. We’re also calling for new incentives on global investment in real estate to make it easier for international investors to put Americans back to work.”
The AGC blueprint also calls doubling federal investments in transportation infrastructure, renovating dated and inefficient federal facilities and investing in clean water, flood control and navigation projects.
“The plan also identifies regulatory revisions that will allow construction investments to flow more rapidly and be used more efficiently,” said Sandherr. “These include streamlining environmental reviews, accelerating licensing of new nuclear power plants, and establishing a federal multiyear capital budget for public works.
“And we need to do more to encourage green construction, while avoiding counterproductive measures like government mandated labor agreements and Buy American requirements,” he said. “Of course, a plan this ambitious doesn’t come for free. We’ve gone to great lengths, however, to pair new costs with new revenue. Doing away with the AMT and extending tax cuts will be partly offset by increases in income, sales and corporate tax receipts that will come with the increased business activity this plan will stimulate.”v
Australias’s transit balancing act –
In with the old, in with the new
Australia, it seems, is facing the same challenges we are when it come to transit. So says the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) report, “Balancing Infrastructure Reinvestment with System Expansion.”
Australia’s transit experts, says the report, face these familiar problems: rising populations, traffic congestion, budget constraints, and the new imperative to be “green.”
The Aussies are apparently using an approaching to these problem that includes balancing old tech and new tech, or as the report says “combining some very simply solutions with cutting-edge technology.” They are, says the report, “employing a balance that is effectively getting the best from each approach.”
On the simple solutions side is the practice of keeping transit vehicles in service past what we would consider their useful life. It’s a low tech way to maintain inventory “and it appears to work.” By doing this the Aussies cut back, or completely do away with, “the need to retrain operators or retool maintenance facilities.”
What’s more, riders don’t seem to mind. On the cutting edge side of the equation the Australians are “pushing the envelope with their use of new technologies, such as video surveillance, smart cards, and real-time schedule information on Blackberries/ personal digital assistants.”
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