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Companies Expend Energy to Gain Approval for Wind Projects

Recent issues of Wind Energy SmartBriefs included details of significant projects that were moving through various stages of the approval process:

Senate Confirms All Five NLRB Nominees

The Senate voted on July 30 to fill all five seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Kent Hirozowa, Nancy Jean Schiffer and Mark Gaston Pearce, all Democrats, were each confirmed for seats on the NLRB, an agency that deals with labor issues. The two Republican-backed nominees, Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson III, were also confirmed with a voice vote. “Once confirmed, the NLRB will have five Senate-confirmed nominees for the first time in a decade. They are eminently qualified,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor before the votes.

New App Lets Congress Share Drivers’ Pain

On July 30, Building America’s Future (BAF) released a new mobile app called “I’m Stuck” that will allow delayed drivers around the country to directly and immediately email their U.S. Representative or Senator to share their frustration. “Members of Congress will no longer have the luxury of remaining unaware of their constituents’ daily commuting travels and troubles,” noted BAF. “This real time reporting will send a message to Congress that we need to start investing in our nation’s strained and deteriorating transportation networks.”

Legislation Would Grandfather in Heavy Trucks Using Highway 41 in Wisconsin

The House of Representatives has passed a bill introduced by Republicans Tom Petri and Reid Ribble to ensure that trucks exceeding 80,000 pounds that use U.S. Highway 41 in Wisconsin will continue to be able to operate on it after the road becomes an Interstate, which is likely to occur early next year. Both men, who are members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, pointed out that the highway needed to remain a fully-function road because it was a major part of the regional economy, serving as the main throughway between Milwaukee and Green Bay.  

Connecticut Lines up Over $1 Billion for Roads

On July 26, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) announced that the State Bond Commission approved more than $537 million in state funds to finance a series of construction and maintenance projects through the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s capital infrastructure program, including 250 lane miles of state highway resurfacing and more than 40 bridge restoration projects around the state.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Tolls to Increase for Sixth Straight Year

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) has approved a toll-rate increase of 2 percent for E-ZPass customers and 12 percent for cash customers, effective January 5, 2014. This will be the sixth consecutive annual increase. New revenues from the increase will help fund the Turnpike’s capital-improvement plan, which is focused mostly on completely rebuilding the 73-year-old toll road and widening it from four to six lanes.  

Texas Lawmakers’ Deal Could Steer Rainy Day Fund to Transportation

On July 26, Texas legislators reached a deal to take an estimated $848 million in oil and gas taxes that would normally flow into the Rainy Day Fund to help pay for transportation. The money would only be spent on non-toll roads and bridges and could not be spent to pay off debt. Because oil and gas revenues to the fund is set out in the Texas Constitution, the new plan would require passage of a constitutional amendment, which takes a two-thirds vote in both chambers and the approval of a majority of voters.

Alliance Launches North American Interoperability Hub

The Alliance for Toll Interoperability (ATI) and Secure Interagency Flow LLC reached an agreement on July 19 to supply, implement and operate a North American interoperability hub for billing tolls, based on license plate camera reads and transponders. Agencies can enroll in the program starting in September, and the system will start operations by the end of the year. Since its founding in 2009, ATI has grown to 43 toll road operators from the United States and Canada.

Top Safety Expert to Present Keynote Address at Crane & Rigging Workshop

This year’s SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop will open with a Keynote Session on “Increasing Self Responsibility for Safety.” The Workshop is expected to attract more than 450 attendees from around the world to the Hilton at Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Fla., on September 18-20.

SC&RA’s August Webinar to Focus on Crane Stabilization

David Duerr, P.E., President of 2DM Associates, Inc., will present SC&RA’s webinar on Crane Stabilization at noon Eastern on  August 13. Duerr will detail the steps necessary to prepare the job prior to its start, how a mobile crane imposes loads on its supporting surface and how those loads change during the performance of a lift. He will also review how mats disperse the crane’s load and how the underlying soil responds. This webinar is free for SC&RA members and $49 for nonmembers.