Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Infrastructure & Environment News

My lack of time to write for this blog has reduced me to a compiler of infrastructure news, though such compilation has always been part of Infrastructure Watch. You can links to several alternative energy articles here.

Low Gas Prices No Problem for Solar

Low gas prices didn’t last long around here (at least they didn’t stay less than $2 per gallon for long). Either way, Tony Randall discusses why low oil prices are not a problem for the continued growth of solar power in Bloomberg.


John Oliver Thinks Infrastructure Sexy

Comedian John Oliver featured America’s infrastructure in a segment on his show Last Week Tonight. Obviously, Oliver’s tone is humorous and mocking, but he presents a thoughtful essay on the issue. You can see it on YouTube.

New Environmental Director in Nebraska

Congratulations to Jim Macy, who was recently appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts to serve as director of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Macy has worked in the area of environmental regulation and compliance for decades, including leadership roles at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

States Take Lead on Infrastructure Funding

Washington senate leaders have proposed to raise the state gas tax to 11.7 cents per gallon over the next three years. The proposal would also redirect a portion of the state’s sales tax to its transportation fund (more here).

Oregon will experiment with a program of fees based on miles driven rather than a gas tax beginning this summer (more here). Many think this is a more rational way to fund highways.

In my home state of the Missouri, the governor came just short of calling for a gas tax hike as part of the state of the state address. Tax Justice Blog has a nice summary of proposals in several other states.

Baltimore Sewers Featured on Radio

The radio program Marketplace featured the Baltimore, MD, sewer system and the issues associated with a large, aging infrastructure (listen to or read the story here). Baltimore is not unique; these problems are plaguing cities across the nation.

San Francisco Opens New Hetch Hetchy Tunnel

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission opened the New Irvington Tunnel. The 3.5-mile, 9-ft diameter tunnel will carry 265 million gallons a day. It is part of the Hetch Hetchy system, which brings water from reservoirs as far away as Yosemite National Park, 167 miles. (Read more about the project at KQED.)

Water and Art

Adres Jacque will build a temporary structure that uses plants to purify water in the courtyard of MoMA PS1. Organisms in the structure will glow in the dark to provide light. See this Fast Company article for more information.

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