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DIRT REPORT UPDATE

By Shane Skelton: Last summer, we published “Improving Upon Our Dig Laws: How State Legislatures Can Help Us Dig Safer,” where we performed an extensive review of the incident data revealed in the Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA) 2014 DIRT report (released in Fall 2015), offered some recommendations states could incorporate into their Damage Prevention programs to improve excavation safety, and offered recommendations CGA could implement to make the data more user friendly.

Specifically, we recommended that states:

1) Implement mandatory incident reporting requirements in state laws and regulations;
2) Increase enforcement efforts to encourage stronger adherence to laws, regulations, and best practices; and
3) Improve utility locating practices to remedy disparity between accuracy of jobs performed by locate firms and those performed by in-house utility locators.

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WHAT WILL PRESIDENT TRUMP SAY TO CONGRESS ON INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING?

By Matt Missentzis: Following his election night victory on November 8, 2016, then President-elect Donald J. Trump promised to make upgrading the nation’s aged and crumbling infrastructure a top priority, saying, “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. The President-elect went on to say, “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”

Since taking office, however, President Trump and his Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao have yet to offer a plan to upgrade our failing infrastructure, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said that, “the infrastructure projects and priorities that the president has talked about it, whether it’s air [traffic] control in our airports or roads and bridges, will be something that he’s going to work on with [the Department of Transportation], but also talk about in his budget …

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OROVILLE DAM IS A STARK REMINDER THAT WITH CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, A DOLLAR SAVED IS NOT A DOLLAR EARNED

By Shane Skelton: More than 180,000 Californians were displaced this weekend as the Oroville Dam – the country’s tallest dam, which houses California’s second largest reservoir – suffered a critical setback. Residents of Oroville, Gridley, Live Oak, Marysville, Wheatland, Yuba City, Plumas Lake and Olivehurst were ordered to evacuate the area without notice for nearly two full days before finally being allowed to return home Tuesday afternoon under an “evacuation warning …

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HOUSE WATER INFRASTRUCTURE BILL INCLUDES CRITICAL HARBOR MAINTENANCE TRUST FUND FIX

By Staff: On May 25, the U.S. House of Representatives’ (House) Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) passed The Water Resources Development Act of 2016. The T&I Committee’s bill summary highlights many of the bill’s provisions, including: • Authorizing appropriations for port, channel, lock, dam and other infrastructure projects; …

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ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE ATTACKS: ARE WE READY?

By Staff: A recent Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) report indicates that the United States electric grid is still vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse attacks, despite recommendations made almost 8 years ago to reduce such an occurrence. The susceptibility of the grid to such a phenomenon is an out-of-the-box threat many regulators and policymakers …

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FEDERAL IMPEDIMENTS TO P3 MARKET GROWTH

By Shane Skelton: The U.S. Public Private Partnership (P3) market is beginning to gain steam. As we pointed out in our Policy Brief, “Innovation in the P3 Marketplace,” states and localities across the country are becoming more creative in the types of infrastructure projects P3s are being used …

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PIPELINE SAFETY LEGISLATION INCHES CLOSER TO BECOMING LAW

By Shane Skelton: Pipeline safety reauthorization legislation cleared another crucial hurdle on its way to the President’s desk on Wednesday when the U.S. House of Representatives (House) Committee on Energy & Commerce (Energy & Commerce) reported their version of the bill out of the full committee ….

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HIGHWAY TRUST FUND OUTLOOK IMPROVED, BUT STILL NOT SOLVENT, ACCORDING TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE

By Shane Skelton: Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its most current Highway Trust Fund (HTF) baseline projecting that the fund would suffer a $107 billion cumulative shortfall by 2026. By almost any measure, this is bad news, but compared to other recent estimates …

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IMPROVING PIPELINE SAFETY BY…DRONE?

By Shane Skelton: Commercial and private drone use has become a frequent topic of discussion around the country and in Washington, DC these days. New regulations and registration requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reports of close calls with air traffic, the desire to use …

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THE EUROPEAN ENERGY UNION: A WIN FOR BOTH CONTINENTS

By Brigham A. McCown: In a first step toward creating an integrated energy grid, the European Commission last week allocated € 200 million ($223 million) for cross-border energy infrastructure projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of energy transportation across European Union members. While these grants …

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NETFLIX AND FLY? A BRIEF LOOK AT IN-FLIGHT WI-FI

By Chanil De Silva: Innovation can be a wonderful thing, especially when it allows you to continue watching your favorite Netflix series while soaring 30,000 feet above the ground. In-flight Wi-Fi initially limited to certain domestic flights is available almost universally, on both domestic …

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INCREASING INTERNET ACCESS THROUGH LIFELINE PROGRAM

By Staff: On March 31, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on a new plan for the Lifeline subsidy, which will help the program’s recipients apply the subsidy to mobile or fixed broadband should they choose to do so. The program originated in 1985 to provide discounted landline phone service to low-income …

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JUST SAY NO TO EUROPE AND NORD STREAM 2

By Debra Cagan: One would think that with plunging oil and gas prices, with suppliers tripping over themselves to desperately gain market share in a flooded market, and more choices than ever in securing gas for the European …

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MOBILE PAYMENT TECHNOLOGIES: WILL CELL PHONES REPLACE WALLETS?

By Shane Skelton: For the many Americans who still begrudge the major societal shift from cash to credit and debit cards, the future may become even more troublesome as mobile wallets become more common. What’s more, is that while mobile wallets are still catching on, a …

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AII BOARD MEMBER, CHRIS KILGORE, FEATURED IN WASHINGTON POST

By Staff: Originally posted on the Washington Post. Even before the Coast Guard helicopter got airborne that morning, the crew could see the glow from the fire on the horizon, 40 miles away. Two ships, one of them a fully loaded oil tanker, had collided in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas ….

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REVISITING RAIL SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES

By Staff: Last August, we released a rail safety report, “Back on Track: Bringing Rail Safety into the 21st Century,” which focused on technologies and best practices that if incorporated would improve passenger and freight rail safety. At the time we noted that we wanted to kick start a conversation on the …

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CONGRESS BEGINS WORK ON WRDA REAUTHORIZATION

By Shane Skelton: On February 24, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure held a hearing titled, “A Review of United States Army Corps of Engineers Reports to Congress on Future Water Resources Development and Chief’s Reports.” The hearing was held in anticipation …

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NEVADA SOLAR CRISIS DEEPENS AS REGULATORS DENY GRANDFATHERING PROVISION

By Staff: In a new twist to a long running solar energy battle, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada denied a provision to grandfather approximately 17,000 solar customers into the original utility rate and voted to keep the new metering policy in place. Solar advocates can claim a small victory in …

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BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT

By Staff: On December 2, 2015, the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a markup (vote) on a discussion draft bill aimed at facilitating the deployment of broadband Internet service. Among other things, the bill aimed to remove barriers to broadband access by …

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HIGH-SPEED INTERNET ACCESS: A LUXURY NO MORE

By Chanil De Silva: High-speed Internet had in the past been associated with affluence, while many households used dial-up modems and many more had no Internet access at all. Over time, the Internet – initially developed as a defense resource – has become …

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AII LATEST REPORT HIGHLIGHTS JONES ACT POLICY AS OUTDATED

By Staff: Read the full report here. Aii released a new report today, “The Jones Act: Protectionism v Global Trade,” calling the Jones Act outdated and inconsistent especially as the United States is entering new global markets and removing longstanding barriers to trade. The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act …

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AII EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PUBLISHED IN PUBLIC SECTOR DIGEST

By Staff: Read full article here. Aii’s Executive Director, Shane Skelton was published in this month’s issue of Public Sector Digest. The article titled, “Tackling the Infrastructure Deficit: Using Private Dollars for Public Projects,” proposes alternative methods for funding the nation’s crucial infrastructure projects …

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INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY DOMINATES NTSB’S 2016 “MOST WANTED” TRANSPORTATION SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

By Chanil De Silva: The NTSB released its annual “Most Wanted” transportation safety improvements for 2016. The list covers aviation, highway, marine, rail and pipeline networks and has been called a “roadmap from lessons learned to lives saved”. This year’s list …

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NEW TRAINING PROGRAM ANOTHER STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FOR DAMAGE PREVENTION EFFORTS

By Staff: Reducing, and eventually eliminating, instances of excavation damage should be the underlying goal of every Damage Prevention program. There are a number of parties involved in every excavation project – facility owners and operators, locate companies, One Call centers, and excavators. Plus, there are multiple governmental bodies and industry groups …

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AFTER REAUTHORIZATION OF MOST DOT MODAL ADMINISTRATIONS, PHMSA AND FAA LINGER

By Staff: On December 4th, President Obama signed a $305 billion highway bill marking a large victory for Congress and the White House. To the casual observer, it may seem as though infrastructure legislation can finally be put in the rear view mirror for another half decade – this is not so …

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EU ENERGY PANEL HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

By Staff: Watch this video on vimeo. Aii released a new video highlighting remarks from its recent policy discussion on Capitol Hill. The forum, hosted on December 1st, examined infrastructure connectivity f the European Union and resulting implications on U.S. energy policy. The panel featured representatives from Eastern and Central Europe and …

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THE FAST ACT: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

By Chanil De Silva: President Obama signed a five-year, $305 billion, surface-transportation funding bill into law on Friday December 4th.  The bill, known as the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) is the first long-term transportation-funding bill since 2005. The …

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AII HOSTS EVENT ON EU ENERGY CONNECTIVITY IN U.S. CAPITOL

By Staff: The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure hosted an expert panel discussion on European energy connectivity and its impact on U.S. energy policy decisions in the U.S. Capitol on December 1st. The experts throughout the event underscored the significant role America can play in alleviating the EU’s infrastructure challenges and particularly …

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TRANSPORTING CRUDE OIL BY WATER HIGHLIGHTED AT RECENT CONFERENCE

By Ashley Vanbuskirk: INFONEX’s Crude-by-water and Crude export conference took place this week in Houston, Texas, on November 17-18th. The event hosted many influential experts in the oil and energy industry, including Aii’s Chairman, Brigham McCown who updated attendees on the crude oil export ban reform process. The annual conference is considered a …

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WILL HYPERLOOP’S EVER BE A REALITY?

By Ashley Vanbuskirk: What if you could get from Los Angeles to San Francisco, or from Washington, DC to Columbus, OH in 30 minutes, moving comfortably at up to 800 miles per hour[1], all without parking at an airport, waiting in a long security line, or leaving your water bottle and toiletries behind? …

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PHONE TO INTERNET: A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME IN EXCAVATION SAFETY?

By Staff: As technology continues to improve, the manner in which we use the Internet, TV, water, electricity, and other utilities has changed dramatically. The Internet allows us to watch movies or find answers to any question online in a moment. High definition TV make it possible to track a puck with …

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CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT: WHEN THE RAIN DANCE DOESN’T CUT IT!

By Chanil De Silva: California has been suffering one of the worst droughts on record, reaching its 4th year in 2015. The severity of the situation led Gov. Brown of California to declare a drought state of emergency in January and …

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THE INFRASTRUCTURE SCORECARD: PRESIDENTIAL RACE 2016

By Staff: Infrastructure is the backbone of the American economy. Roads, bridges, railways, pipelines, and airports alike connect America, permitting the free flow of people and goods across the continent. The state of the nation’s infrastructure has been in the spotlight recently due to a variety of unfortunate incidents, ranging from bridges …

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BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE

By Staff: A well built, well maintained, modernized infrastructure network is a key component of a strong economy. The state of U.S. infrastructure has been in decline in recent years, and is nowhere near the envy of the world as it once was. While only tangentially related, the U.S. economy has also …

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CALLING ON CONGRESS TO ACKNOWLEDGE EXCAVATION DAMAGE FOR PHMSA REAUTHORIZATION

By Staff: Click here to read the letter. As Congress prepares to vote on the reauthorization of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the end of this month, the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) wants to be sure members of Congress pay special attention to the primary cause …

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ICYMI: RAIL SAFETY EVENT

By Staff: “…you can mitigate a problem, but if you prevent it in the first place, you don’t have to mitigate. And so it’s a matter of looking at track integrity. It’s a matter of looking at human factors, which those two are the biggest causes of derailments.” (David Friedman, Vice President, Regulatory …

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DIVERTING DERAILMENTS: WORKING TOGETHER FOR RAIL SAFETY

By Staff: The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure is hosting a rail safety event this Thursday at the George Town Club in Washington, D.C. The roundtable discussion will cover topics related to safety on the nation’s rails related to both passenger and commodity networks. The basis of the discussion is a …

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NEW TECHNOLOGIES MEAN SAFER RAIL CROSSINGS

By Staff: Higher standards and better safety technology have helped reduce the danger of railroad crossings over the half-century. Every safety improvement gets closer to an accident-free system, but track crossings remain inherently risky. With crossing related fatalities on the decline throughout the 21st century, the nine percent uptick in deaths in …

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“BACK ON TRACK: BRINGING RAIL SAFETY INTO THE 21ST CENTURY”

By Staff: Click here to read the report   The nation’s bedrock infrastructure is aging, and railroads are no exception. Tracks and rail beds are not equipped to handle the demands of growing traffic. From the 4,400 percent growth of oil train shipments to the recent devastations in commuter rail incidents, the …

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CAN CALIFORNIA’S INFRASTRUCTURE STAND UP TO NATURAL DISASTERS?

By Staff: California may be beautiful, but it is no secret that the state is subject to extreme conditions earthquake, drought, fire, and flood almost seem to replace winter, spring, summer, and fall. But despite the occasional shakedown, The Golden State has flourished as the seventh largest economy in the world. This …

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INFRASTRUCTURE FIX LOOKS TO INTERNATIONAL FUNDING

By Breanne Kincaid: Global wealth is increasing, and so too are the growing number of international elite looking to emigrate from their native country in search of their next opportunity. The U.S. EB-5 Visa Program offers a win-win solution for both wealthy foreign investors interested in living stateside, and …

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BUILDING NEW SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR THE NATION’S INFRASTRUCTURE

By Staff: It has been two years since The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) infamously slammed the quality of US infrastructure with a D+ grade. Transportation infrastructure – the highways, mass transit, aviation, water, and railways traversing the country – have traditionally received the majority of their funding from the public …

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ENERGY AS AN INSTRUMENT OF FOREIGN POLICY

By Staff: A Report Published by Aii Click here to read the report.  Energy is a common commodity required by every nation that influences every aspect of economy, civil society, and even foreign policy. With advancements in technology and renewable energy sources, countries throughout the world are re-focusing on their energy infrastructure to encourage …

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PREVENTING TRAIN ACCIDENTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

By Staff: Train accidents happen. It’s why so many independent bodies exist to drive the rail industry towards constant improvement. But even with the less than 16 accidents per million miles travelled in 2014 reported by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), every incident carries the possibility of loss of life, disruption of …

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