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WSDOT, FHWA, Seattle Tunnel Partners announce agreements on DBE Program

Seattle — Generating more work for the disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) on the State Route 99 Tunnel Project has been the first consideration for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) as the agency works to reform its DBE program and to respond to a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) report issued last year. 

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ARTBA issues memo to media on ‘Truth about U.S. automobile travel’

 Washington, D.C. — In virtually every recent congressional hearing and many media reports about federal transportation policy, the false claim that “Americans are driving less” emerges in some capacity. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data show U.S. vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 0.3 percent in 2012 and 0.6 percent in 2013. The upward trend is anticipated to continue well into the future as the nation’s economy and population continues to grow. This factual disconnect confuses discussions about the relative viability of various means to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund and support future federal highway and public transportation investments. The reality is that American driving trends are driven largely by macro-economic forces, not agenda-seizing assertions about shifts in societal behavior.

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CDOT Bike and Byways Map now available online

Denver — With the beginning of spring and unofficial start of the bicycling season, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is making its Bike and Byways Map available via a mobile application, providing instant information to cyclists. CDOT’s hard copy of the map currently provides roadway data such as shoulder widths and traffic volumes but the new electronic version will significantly expand the amount of available information. 

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Study shows road safety could be improved by better roadway markings

Montreal, Quebec — As spring finally emerges after a ferocious winter, our battered roads will soon be re-exposed. While potholes and cracks might make news, a bigger concern should be the deterioration to pavement markings, from yellow to white lines, which are a big factor in preventing traffic accidents. A study from Concordia University, funded by Infrastructure Canada and published in Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, found that snowplows are the biggest culprit in erasing roadway markings. The research team also examined the impact of salt and sand on the visibility of pavement markings. The conclusion: a simple switch in paint can save cars — and lives. 

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VDOT suspends Route 460 contract during environmental work

 Richmond, Va. — Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne announced contract and permit work is being temporarily suspended on the Route 460 project in southeastern Virginia while the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) continues the needed environmental reviews.

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Caltrans reports highway pavement healthiest in 10 years

 Sacramento, Calif. — Caltrans has announced that the condition of the pavement on California’s highways is at its healthiest level in more than a decade, according to the recently released 2013 State of the Pavement Report. Caltrans reported that the percent of healthy pavement on the state highway system increased from 75 to 84 percent from 2011 to 2013 — an increase of 4,500 lane miles of smoother pavement.

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CDOT to begin work on westbound Twin Tunnels project

DENVER – Visitors to Colorado’s high country could start seeing lane closures as early as Monday, March 10, for work on the westbound Twin Tunnels project. This Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) project will widen the westbound tunnel bore to accommodate future expansion in the I-70 corridor. Unlike last year’s eastbound project, this westbound project will not add a third travel lane at this time. 

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MDOT's ‘Reality Check’ clears up common transportation myths

 LANSING, MICH. — "Greater funding for transportation should wait." "MDOT should use more salt in winter." The new "Reality Check" series of videos and information sheets from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will examine these and other common transportation misconceptions, and offer explanations for why the reality is very different.

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Caltrans opens 10 miles of new carpool lanes

 San Diego — Caltrans, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and other local and federal officials gathered to celebrate the completion of two major transportation improvements along Interstate 805 (I-805). The two projects will provide the region with a combined 10 miles of new carpool lanes in addition to a Direct Access Ramp (DAR).

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ARTBA offers analysis of Obama Administration's FY 2015 budget proposal for U.S. DOT

Washington, D.C. — The Obama Administration’s budget for FY 2015, released March 4, recommends investing $90.9 billion in transportation improvements, a proposed increase of $18.6 billion over the amount enacted for FY 2014, or a 25.7 percent increase. In a follow up to the President’s February 26 outline of his MAP-21 reauthorization priorities, the administration again called for a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation program from FY 2015 through FY 2018. The new proposal suggests combining the federal passenger rail program with the highway, transit and safety programs to create one surface transportation authorization, most of which would be funded out of the current Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The President proposes augmenting current HTF revenues with $150 billion from “transition revenue generated from pro-growth tax reform.”  

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$600 Million available for sixth round of TIGER funding

 ST. PAUL, Minn. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined President Barack Obama to announce that $600 million will be made available to fund transportation projects across the country under a sixth round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s highly successful Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program. The announcement was made at the Union Depot in St. Paul, which received $35 million in the first round of TIGER to renovate the facility and restore tracks.

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U.S. DOT report on highway, transit conditions points to need for more investment

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that a new report on the state of America's transportation infrastructure, 2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance, confirms that more investment is needed to maintain and improve the nation's highway and transit systems. The Department of Transportation's Conditions and Performance report, based on 2010 data, estimates all levels of government would need to spend between $123.7 billion and $145.9 billion per year to maintain and improve the condition of roads and bridges alone. 

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TxDOT reselects Atkins for five-year, statewide toll-plaza planning, development, and implementation contract

Austin, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reselected Atkins as its statewide prime consultant for toll-plaza planning, development, and implementation. Under the terms of the five-year, $10 million contract, Atkins will provide planning, development, infrastructure design and coordination, and construction oversight services, as well as system installation, integration, and testing services for TxDOT toll and managed-lane facilities throughout Texas. 

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ADOT&PF earns ASCE Engineering Project of the Year Award

 Juneau, Alaska — The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ (ADOT&PF) Hyder Causeway Reconstruction and Trestle Replacement Project received the Juneau Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2013 Project of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes the Alaska project that best exemplifies outstanding engineering skill through the design, coordination and construction.

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Boulder-Denver U.S. 36 express lanes get TIFIA loan

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for $60 million that will help pay for the reconstruction of U.S. 36 express lanes in the Boulder-Denver area. The new TIFIA loan is in addition to an earlier $54 million TIFIA loan provided to Colorado to rebuild U.S. 36, bringing the Department’s total support for the project to $114 million. 

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Concrete industry research points to importance of road design in emission reduction

Washington, D.C. — The new emission standards for cars and gasoline announced recently by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) ignore opportunities to reduce pollution through enhanced infrastructure. Researchers at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub recently found that how the road is constructed could have a significant impact on the fuel economy of cars and trucks, and less fuel means less emissions. Research models predict the use of stiffer pavements, for example, could reduce fuel use by as much as 3 percent. This would create a reduction of 46.5 million tons of CO2 each year. 

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CDOT finds benefits and financial challenges to high-speed transit

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) issued two draft reports summarizing the feasibility of high-speed transit systems in both the Interstate 70 Mountain Corridor and I-25 Front Range Corridor. Both studies – conducted by CDOT’s Division of Transit and Rail (DTR) and a team of outside experts – confirmed high speed transit is technically feasible in both corridors, but not financially feasible in either corridor at this time. 

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NDOT announces upgrade of highway bond rating

 CARSON CITY, NEV. — The Nevada Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the State Treasurer’s Office, announced that Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has raised its ratings on Nevada’s $441.4 million in highway revenue bonds from AA+ to AAA, the highest possible credit rating.

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MDOT salt supplies holding up, but winter costs are eating into summer maintenance budgets

 LANSING, MICH. — Despite using more salt than anticipated due to worse-than-average winter weather, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and local transportation agencies are working together to stretch remaining salt supplies through spring. However, winter cost overruns and an anticipated worse than usual pothole season are already squeezing summer maintenance budgets.

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Salt companies fail to bid on ODOT mid-season salt contract

COLUMBUS, OHIO — A request from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to provide road salt to local communities in need has received no bids from salt companies. 

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Headlines From Around The Web

N.C. DOT to cut 400 positions (Winston-Salem Journal)
Georgia DOT commissioner resigns (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Georgia DOT loses another top manager (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
New Road Signs Will Now Wait (The New York Times)
WYDOT staffer wins national post (Billings Gazette)
Schneider named acting IDOT director (The State Journal-Register)
Selection of MDOT director delayed (Hattiesburg American)




HubDOT Exclusive

In replacing the Willamette River Bridge, the Oregon Department of Transportation makes steps to ensure the structure's ecological footprint is as small as possible, leaving room for natural habitats to flourish.

  Bringing new life to the I-5 Willamette River Bridge

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