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Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 4:32 PM
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The 5 Biggest U.S. Infrastructure Projects Plus 5 at Risk

The 5 Biggest U.S. Infrastructure Projects Plus 5 at Risk


April 2012

By Ryan Holeywell, Daniel Lippman



Read More: http://www.governing.com/topics/tran...5-at-risk.html

Quote:
The Five That Are Happening

1. Dulles Transit Extension

Washington, D.C., residents often try to avoid flights out of Dulles International Airport, located more than 20 miles from downtown, for good reason. With no Metro rail access, trekking to Dulles often involves a long car ride, an infrequent bus or an expensive taxi. That will soon change, thanks to the biggest expansion in the history of the Metro system. Upon completion, the Silver Line will provide public transportation access from downtown D.C. to Dulles, as well as the Northern Virginia suburbs of Tysons Corner, Herndon, Reston and Ashburn. In addition to connecting the airport to the region’s transit system, the new line should help reduce traffic congestion on the Beltway.....

2. Otay Mesa East

In the San Diego region, there are two border crossings. One is the busiest U.S.-Mexico crossing for personal travelers. The other is the second-busiest crossing for commercial trucks. As a result, vehicles traveling north can find themselves sitting in line for hours to cross. Local economic studies argue that those delays are costing the U.S. billions of dollars each year, with much of that loss concentrated in the San Diego area. To alleviate the bottleneck, state and local officials are planning a third land port in the area. The proposed Otay Mesa East port facility, along with a new 2.5-mile roadway connecting it to the highway system, could cost as much as $715 million.....

3. O’Hare Modernization

More than 65 million passengers pass through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport each year, and those travelers have experienced their fair share of delays. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost a quarter of the flights both in and out of the nation’s second busiest airport weren’t on time. As O’Hare traffic grew during the 1970s and 1980s, the airport’s capacity couldn’t keep up. But now a major modernization project is increasing the facility’s efficiency and capacity, helping to reduce flight delays. In 2008, O’Hare finished a new runway, extended another and built a new air traffic control tower. The Chicago Department of Aviation hopes to complete two more runways in 2013 and 2016.....

4. Crescent Corridor Expansion

The existing system for moving most goods across the country has long been based on railroads and an array of interstate highways. But increasing congestion on the nation’s roads has sparked renewed interest in intermodal transportation and an increasing role for methods other than trucking. Spurred by interest from freight companies eager to save money on costly long-haul truck routes, railway company Norfolk Southern is working to upgrade the Crescent Corridor, a freight rail network that runs through 13 states and connects New Orleans to New Jersey. A series of projects will lay 300 new miles of track and build or expand intermodal terminals in 11 markets. Construction has already begun on terminals in Memphis, Birmingham, Ala., and two Pennsylvania communities.....

5. Alaskan Way Viaduct

In 2001, seismic experts began considering the possibility of strengthening Seattle’s iconic Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double-decker elevated highway that skirted downtown along Puget Sound. The team’s work was prescient: An earthquake struck in the midst of their study, damaging the structure. Replacing the viaduct turned out to be more cost-effective than repairing it. The effort hasn’t been easy. For nearly a decade, the project has been subject to bitter political debate over whether the elevated road, which effectively cut off downtown Seattle from the waterfront, should be replaced with a tunnel. Mayor Michael McGinn won election in 2009 after campaigning against the tunnel, which he said would be too expensive. Since then, however, the tide has turned. In a 2011 referendum, voters endorsed the tunnel plan, allowing the project to move forward.....

... And The Five in Limbo

1. Columbia River Crossing

This joint Oregon-Washington project, which could cost up to $3.5 billion, would replace the existing Columbia River bridge that connects Portland to the suburb of Vancouver, Wash. Additionally, the project would rebuild a series of highway interchanges around the bridge, extend light rail across the river, improve the existing highway, and build pedestrian and bike paths. Officials say the effort will also improve safety, since there is an average of one collision per day in the project area, nearly double the rate on similar urban highways. It’s viewed as an important investment in the region’s economy, since the more than $40 billion of freight crossing the existing bridge each year is increasingly facing delays due to congestion.....

2. Denver FasTracks

One of the country’s most ambitious transit projects, the FasTracks system will culminate in 122 new miles of commuter and light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit service across the Denver area. It’s part of the region’s goal to push transit-oriented development that will reduce sprawl, congestion and pollution. Residents voted in 2004 for a 0.4 percent sales tax to fund the $4.7 billion effort. Then the costs started ballooning. The latest estimate is that the project will cost $7.8 billion to complete by the original 2024 target date. In the last year alone, the cost of one particular commuter line has increased from $894.6 million to $1.7 billion, due largely to stalled negotiations with an existing freight line. Some officials are now discussing whether they could cut costs by turning the rail line into a bus route, even though that’s not what voters originally agreed to.....

3. NextGen

When airplanes are delayed, nobody wins. Airlines lose money. Passengers become inconvenienced. Airports get overwhelmed. That’s why the FAA is touting an effort that it says could reduce delays by 35 percent by 2018. The project, which aviation administrators began planning in 2003, is dubbed NextGen, and proponents say it would revolutionize air travel in this country by switching from radar-based to satellite-based flight-tracking technology. That, along with other technological advances like improved weather forecasting and communication systems, would allow planes to fly more direct routes instead of following the existing, inefficient flight paths that are arranged like highways in the sky. The result: More flights in the air at any given time, fewer delays and less wasted fuel.....

4. California High-Speed Rail

It started off with the kind of heady promise and excitement that prompted comparisons to California’s most iconic infrastructure project, the Golden Gate Bridge. The visionary plan was for 800 miles of high-speed rail lines connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Riders could whoosh from Southern California to Frisco in an unheard-of two hours and 40 minutes. The train would reduce air pollution and ease congestion on the state’s famously clogged freeways. Construction would create tens of thousands of new jobs. Voters in 2008 approved $9.95 billion in bonds to usher in a new era of transit for the Golden State.....

5. Second Avenue Subway

First proposed in 1929 and more recently dubbed by New York magazine as “the line that time forgot,” the Second Avenue subway line on the East Side of Manhattan has been a perennial wish-list item for the better part of a century. The line would ease overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line, which currently shuttles 1.3 million people every day, but over the years it’s been repeatedly delayed by economic downturns and political in-fighting. A construction attempt in the 1970s was eventually aborted due to lack of funds. Finally, in April 2007, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) broke ground on the Second Avenue line. The first phase -- a $4.45 billion two-mile section with two new tunnels and three new stations on the Upper East Side -- could be operational by the end of 2016, according to the MTA.....

.....
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 7:51 PM
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Two things:

First, I'm surprised that CREATE, the massive Chicago area project to reduce freight rail congestion, isn't on the list.

Second, I'm surprised about the soaring cost of NYC's Second Avenue Subway project. I mean, this is getting preposterous. What ever happened to the days when you could get an army of men together with some shovels and just BUILD stuff? Perhaps New York needs to look into some sort of public-private partnership and other creative ideas, such as higher user fees, to get this project done (think: Rahm Emanuel). It's not like they would have to look far to find the private equity: we're talking about a line that runs from the Upper East Side to the Financial district.
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 7:58 PM
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They're not consistent about what's a "project."

Seattle has $20 billion of light rail coming or under construction, already passed by voters. But that's apparently not a "project." Rather it's a bunch of projects.

But Denver's Fastracks is considered a "project" despite being a similar collection of many projects.

Another half-assed report...
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 8:04 PM
Nowhereman1280 Nowhereman1280 is offline
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^^^ I think everyone needs to stop taking these reports and lists so seriously. This isn't meant to be a comprehensive analysis of America's infrastructure projects. If you wanted that you could get it, but it would cost you thousands of dollars. For example, some guys at my firm are putting together a massive analysis of the state of American intermodal shipping to sell to clients to provide a comprehensive view of where the growth can be expected as a result of things like CREATE and the general rail boom that is going on. That is not going to be just posted online for everyone to read.

This kind of stuff is thrown together with only a few days of research and published in order to stimulate discussion, not to be relied upon as the end all be all of infrastructure news. And guess what it does? It stimulates discussion on this forum and elsewhere. It makes people go "well hey, what about this project?" and then everyone talks about which projects are the best. That's the point. The point is not to update you with an ultra detailed analysis of what is going on. You'd have to pay a ton of money if you wanted that because that kind of information is not free.
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 8:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
They're not consistent about what's a "project."

Seattle has $20 billion of light rail coming or under construction, already passed by voters. But that's apparently not a "project." Rather it's a bunch of projects.
...
just a few years ago Seattle had billions in monorail projects coming, approved by voters and, well, you can tell by the lack of monorail trackage in Seattle that voter approval doesn't mean jack there.
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 8:49 PM
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This list is crap....based on what....if anything these projects in limbo will be delayed or scaled back.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 9:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
just a few years ago Seattle had billions in monorail projects coming, approved by voters and, well, you can tell by the lack of monorail trackage in Seattle that voter approval doesn't mean jack there.
The voters repealed the monorail. It was related to a significant overestimation of the revenue its tax would generate, and their reaction to the long-term financing the monorail agency presented in response. Basically it was the Denver problem but not spurred by the economy. Sound Transit is doing pretty well. Revenues have fallen a bit like they have everywhere, but they're still building most of the system, and doing it on a similar schedule. And the whole thing remains popular with voters.
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Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 10:13 PM
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"Frisco"? Really?
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 1:15 AM
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The website says that these among the highest profile infrastructure projects. I can definitely believe the Silver Line.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 2:00 AM
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The second avenue subway is neither "in limbo" nor "at risk". It Is very much an active construction project that may not be complete by 2016 (shock), but it will be completed.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 3:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
just a few years ago Seattle had billions in monorail projects coming, approved by voters and, well, you can tell by the lack of monorail trackage in Seattle that voter approval doesn't mean jack there.
If voter approval doesn't mean anything then the voter repel of the monorail project wouldn't mean anything either would it?
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 4:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Two things:

First, I'm surprised that CREATE, the massive Chicago area project to reduce freight rail congestion, isn't on the list.

Second, I'm surprised about the soaring cost of NYC's Second Avenue Subway project. I mean, this is getting preposterous. What ever happened to the days when you could get an army of men together with some shovels and just BUILD stuff? Perhaps New York needs to look into some sort of public-private partnership and other creative ideas, such as higher user fees, to get this project done (think: Rahm Emanuel). It's not like they would have to look far to find the private equity: we're talking about a line that runs from the Upper East Side to the Financial district.
The Upper East Side is the problem. You've got some of the most powerful people in the US and the world living in the area, and the subway construction is incredibly disruptive. Consequently the line has been seriously overbuilt with insanely pricey station caverns, bored tunnels, and such instead of ripping up the length of Second Avenue and building the whole damn thing from the top.

Also, the soaring cost of the subway is (partially) a reflection of how badly New York needs extra capacity. Engineers and builders know exactly how strongly the city wants and needs relief for the Lexington Line, especially after 100 years of inaction, and so they're getting every penny they can out of the city and the Feds.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 5:01 AM
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"Frisco"? Really?
I thought the same thing when I read it. He's obviously not from the Bay Area
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Where's the East Side Access project's $6.3 billion on this list? I think the biggest LIRR expansion in 100 years, bringing Long Island commuters into Grand Central for the first time, trumps a couple of those.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 11:58 AM
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Another project that could be added to either of these lists depending on what day it is is the $2.2 billion Detroit River International Crossing/New International Trade Crossing, which will finally offer a direct, seemless freeway-to-freeway connection between Windsor's provincial highway system and Detroit's interstate routes, and create a redundancy for the narrow and aging (and privately-owned) Ambassador Bridge. Currently, on boths sides the Ambassador Bridges truck traffic begins and ends on surface streets before being directed to the controlled-access freeways.

There is talk that Governor Snyder will try to bypass the legislature (which is bought and paid for by the privately-owned bridge owner), and just order it built. Even Ohio's Republican-led legislature recently passed a resolution urging the building of the bridge, so it's not even a partisan thing, anymore.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2012, 8:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
This list is crap....based on what....if anything these projects in limbo will be delayed or scaled back.


I don't think Denver's FasTracks is in "limbo." 2/3rds of it is currently already under construction. The remaining 1/3rd if fully funded, but simply having issues with greatly inflated costs, meaning the sales tax revenue to start those remaining 1/3rd of FasTracks won't become available until about the year 2030.

That is, of course, assuming no PPP offers are made and accepted. Parsons already made an unsolicited bid to Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain the north corridor EMU, however RTD Denver had to turn the offer down. Now Keiwit Construction has made an unsolicited bid to Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain the remainder of the I-225 LRT line and it is currently being reviewed. If accepted, the line could be built right away, without additional local sales tax passage.

This November, Denver's RTD will attempt to pass a new sales tax, to double the existing FasTracks sales tax. If passed, the $7.4 billion total for FasTracks will be completed by 2022 and an additional ~$1.6 billion will be constructed from 2025-2032. That would bring FasTracks total cost up to $9 billion. reason being, under this plan, ~80 miles of BRT would also be added to the existing FasTracks plan. Possibly also a streetcar line(s) in downtown Denver.

Is that in limbo? really only thing in "limbo" are completion dates for 1/3rd of the lines and whether or not FasTracks will be expanded into an even larger project with a new sales tax passage this November. It all gets built, with or without the tax (except the additional BRT and Streetcar proposals being added). The new tax will just accelerate the 1/3rd of FasTracks not already under construction and adds even more elements to the already massive plan.

And if you want to look at individual elements of FasTracks, the Eagle P3 EMU is a $2.185 billion Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain portion of FasTracks, fully funded and under construction. It is the largest public transportation PPP Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain in the USA. It might actually be the only one in the USA, at least so far. This is being financed with $450 million in private financing and also has $1.03 billion in federal grants, in addition to local sales tax contributions.

Quote:
Background on the Eagle P3 Project

The Eagle P3 Project is being delivered and operated under a concession agreement that RTD has entered into with a "Concessionaire" that has been selected through a competitive proposal process. The selected Concessionaire is known as Denver Transit Partners (DTP), a special purpose company owned by Fluor Enterprises, Uberior Investments and Laing Investments. Other leading firms involved in the team include Ames Construction, Balfour Beatty Rail, Hyundai-Rotem USA, Alternative Concepts Inc., Fluor/HDR Global Design Consultants, PBS&J, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Interfleet Technology, Systra, Wabtec and others.

The Eagle P3 Project concession agreement requires DTP to design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) the East Rail Line, Gold Line, Northwest Electrified Segment (NWES) (segment 1 of the Northwest Rail Line) and Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility project under a single contract. RTD will retain all assets while shifting much of the risk of designing and building the project to DTP. The Concessionaire has also arranged around $450 million of private financing for the project. This allows RTD to spread out large upfront costs over approximately 30 years, making it more affordable, much like a 30-year mortgage versus a 15-year mortgage. In return, RTD will make service payments to DTP based on their performance of the operation and maintenance of the project.

The Concessionaire will provide and maintain the rail vehicles for the three commuter rail corridors. The proposed rail vehicles are similar to vehicles being supplied to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia.

The Concessionaire will also operate and maintain everything it designs and builds, assuring safe and reliable commuter rail service for almost 30 years. For more detail about the constituent projects please click on the appropriate items: East Rail Line; Gold Line; CRMF.

Source: http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/ep3_2
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Last edited by SnyderBock; Apr 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2012, 10:28 AM
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How on EARTH does 2 miles of subway with only 3 stations end up costing $4.5 billion? Even London's Jubilee Line extension, which had huge cost overruns and serious engineering issues,but was a significantly larger project in scope, 'only' cost GBP3.5 billion.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2012, 6:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
How on EARTH does 2 miles of subway with only 3 stations end up costing $4.5 billion? Even London's Jubilee Line extension, which had huge cost overruns and serious engineering issues,but was a significantly larger project in scope, 'only' cost GBP3.5 billion.
The SAS is significantly longer than the Jubilee extension and is being built under far more valuable real estate (in fact, most valuable in the world), whereas Jubilee was built under South London and East London for the most part.

And that £3.5bn figure was a 1999 figure.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2012, 6:37 PM
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Second Avenue Subway isn't "in limbo". It's fully funded and opening in 3-4 years.

The MTAs' current five-year budget fully funds the completion of Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, and begins the East Bronx Metro North rail line and LIRR Main Line expansion.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2012, 7:04 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyunltd View Post
The SAS is significantly longer than the Jubilee extension and is being built under far more valuable real estate (in fact, most valuable in the world), whereas Jubilee was built under South London and East London for the most part.

And that £3.5bn figure was a 1999 figure.
Right! And, since I'm bored at work, lets do a conversion!

£3.5bn in 1999 could be: £5,190,000,000.00 using the per capita GDP conversion in 2012 currency (which seems to make sense, as this is a large value in comparison to the nation's GDP). source

£5.19bn in USD today is worth:

British pound sterling to United States dollar
5,190,000,000.000000 £ = 8,211,052,578.565670 US$

source

Thats a lot of dough!
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