President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have supported including a $2 trillion infrastructure package in a stimulus bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has pushed back. Trump cites zero interest rates as a good reason to proceed with infrastructure projects as part of a pandemic relief package, but McConnell and other Senate Republicans have advocated for a bill narrowly focused on economic relief.
The US Army Corps of Engineers will open 20 of the 350 bays of the Bonnet Carre spillway today to relieve pressure on Mississippi River levees protecting New Orleans. The unprecedented fifth opening in five years will eventually include up to 105 of the spillway's bays.
Princeton University researchers have developed an initial design for kinetic umbrellas that could be tilted to form a flood-protection canopy. The team gathered more than 100 years of data and used computational modeling to show the hyperbolic paraboloid-shaped concrete umbrellas could withstand a wall of water about 75% of their deployed height.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to spend more than $1 billion on 188 road projects this year in a repair season that could benefit from pandemic-reduced traffic flow. County and city projects also are planned.
TC Energy has not begun construction in Montana on the Keystone XL pipeline, despite expectations it would Wednesday. The developer has postponed construction to later this month, although spokeswoman Sara Rabern says the situation is fluid.
Effects of the coronavirus pandemic are evident under social distancing rules in Oregon, but major rail and airport construction projects proceed in the Portland area. In some cases, hiring is down and workers have requested time off.
Tolling has proven to have many benefits for manufacturing businesses, which save on shipping and receiving costs when tolls decrease road congestion in urban corridors, writes Bill Cramer, communications director for IBTTA. Tolls are a particularly important tool as the US "faces a multi-billion dollar shortfall in highway infrastructure investment, with little appetite for the public investment or associated tax increases that would clear the backlog," Cramer writes.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused car traffic to drop by 90% and truck traffic to fall by 12% year-over-year on Canada's Confederation Bridge. The toll bridge has gone cashless, operators no longer share booths and pedestrian traffic has been suspended to help slow the outbreak.
Traffic on North Texas toll roads dropped by 44% in the third week of March compared to the same period a year ago, according to the North Texas Tollway Authority. Traffic declined by 28% year-over-year during March, according to the NTTA.
Approximately 2,000 doctors and nurses took advantage of toll-free RFID stickers last week on highways in the Philippines, according to the San Miguel Corporation. SMC President Ramon Ang reported an 80% year-over-year drop in vehicle traffic during the last two weeks of March on the South Luzon Expressway.
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