Category: Infrastructure

By on September 6, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

The electric vehicle revolution, if you want to call it that, won’t happen in the “I woke up and everything was different” manner envisioned by hard-core EV enthusiasts.

EVs are no longer new to the automotive scene, but there’s still a vast gulf between the opinions of politicians and automakers and that of the buying public. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Americans polled in a recent study say they aren’t ready or willing to add an electric vehicle to their household. Read More >

By on August 12, 2016

2016-toyota-mirai-6-1

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been in development for as long as hybrids, but while one of those technologies can be found in any Walgreens parking lot, the other still occupies a tiny micro-niche in the marketplace.

Besides the lack of refueling infrastructure, hydrogen-powered driving is hindered by the high cost of fuel cells. After receiving $6 million from the feds, Ford Motor Company and the Los Alamos National Laboratory hope to change that, the Detroit Free Press reports. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV

Yesterday the Obama administration announced “an unprecedented set of actions” to grow the U.S. plug-in electrified vehicle market.

The initiative represents a broad collaboration between federal agencies, state governments, major automakers, utilities, and others to aid the ongoing push to make electric cars viable alternatives to the internal combustion variety.

Perhaps chief in a laundry list of public and private sector agreements is up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for commercial scale charging — including fast charging — to create a nationwide network.

Read More >

By on July 17, 2016

Bridge Collapse

The United States is in a pretty bad spot. Even as the economy recovers from the depressing lows of 2008 and 2009, road, trail, and air travel infrastructure in the United States is failing at an alarming rate. Many underfunded municipalities are even ripping up paved roads and replacing them with gravel as a way to ease budgetary shortfalls.

But is there anything the United States can do to catch up with degrading roads, failing levies, and overflowing airports? Before you pump that cheap dino juice into your Maibatsu Monstrosity today, give this report from Business Insider a watch.

Read More >

By on July 11, 2016

pumping gas

The Garden State remains the cheapest place to fill up in the Northeast, and you can thank government indecision for it.

Lawmakers in New Jersey can’t decide on what to do about their state’s bone-dry transportation fund, and residents are equally divided on how to pay for future road projects. That means pump prices will stay low for the time being. Read More >

By on June 29, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Prototype on road, Image: Tesla Motors

Eager to find locations to expand its U.S. recharging network, Tesla Motors is busy seeking new partners, with fast food, gas stations and convenience stores being top of mind.

One of the chains Tesla is attempting to seduce is the jack-of-all-trades Sheetz, according to the Washington Post. With hundreds of locations in the mid-Atlantic region, Appalachia and Ohio, Sheetz — maker of the Shmuffinz breakfast sandwich — operates a gas bar, convenience store and fast food restaurant at its locations.

It’s the place to be, and Tesla wants a Supercharger on that property. Read More >

By on June 23, 2016

new jersey

A looming bump in New Jersey’s gas tax would mean fewer drivers from neighboring states crossing the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to take advantage of the state’s famously low pump prices.

The state’s transportation fund is almost empty, roads and bridges need repairs, and Democrat lawmakers and select Republicans are putting pressure on Governor Chris Christie to send the gas tax skyward, according to the New York Times.

How much higher? Try 23 cents/gallon more. Read More >

By on June 7, 2016

alternatives

“Just because you’re paranoid,” my father used to joke, “it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” WMATA, the metro rail system of Washington, DC, has long been infamous for subpar service, indifferent adherence to schedule, and a truly staggering amount of crime that includes over 100 reported felony assaults in a four-year period.

Starting today, however, WMATA added a new nightmare for commuters who have already been brutalized into submission: the “SafeTrack” program that features maintenance “surges” to replace dangerous and degraded sections of railway. The resulting closures and delays have riders looking for alternatives to WMATA — but isn’t WMATA supposed to be an alternative to owning and operating a private automobile? What’s at the end of this “alternative” rabbit hole?

But if you needed another reason to quit WMATA besides WMATA asking you to quit, there’s a very good “alternative” reason out there as well: roving gangs of rapists.

Read More >

By on May 13, 2016

2015-ford-mustang-1

It’s a great reason to ditch the bike and leave downtown Portlandia.

Oregon drivers will soon feel more wind in their hair, all thanks to the Oregon Department of Transportation and a dictate from the federal government. Read More >

By on April 19, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – Exterior

When you’re in conversation with a self-described urbanist, it’s usually impossible to avoid numerous references to Amsterdam, that progressive utopia of bikes, tulips, marijuana-smoking tourists, and more bikes.

Well, expect to hear about it even more, now that Dutch parliament has passed a Dutch Labor Party motion to ban the sale of internal combustion vehicles in that country after 2025, according to Auto Express. The bill, which requires senate approval to become the law of the land, would see existing gas and diesel vehicles grandfathered, and the sale of new ones banned. Read More >

By on April 14, 2016

Map from the January 1971 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Interstate System Route Log & Finder List. "The routes and route numbers shown are those designated as of October 1, 1970."

Somewhere between storming the beaches at Normandy and marching into Berlin, General Dwight D. Eisenhower became enamored with the German Autobahn system of superhighways, and so resolved to create a similar system in the United States — or so goes the legend.

After the war, America began to build out from its crowded urban cores, placing new homes and businesses where before there was farmland and wilderness. At first, these new developments were reachable only by hastily expanded surface streets, and longer distance trips used the U.S. Highway system of two-lane roads first designed in the 1920s.

For a forward thinking superpower, this was not enough. Enter the Interstate Highway System — and the Highway Trust Fund that literally paid to pave its way.

Read More >

By on April 13, 2016

Ford headquarters concept

Referring to one’s corporate buildings as a campus is en vogue, from Apple’s planned Spaceship HQ to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. Yesterday, Ford Motor Company announced plans to transform its facilities in Dearborn into a green, modern, and high-tech work environment.

The 10-year plan will co-locate over 20,000 employees in the Dearborn area. Ford currently has a hodgepodge of more than 70 disconnected buildings along Oakwood Boulevard, many of which have been around since the Falcon and Galaxie were being sold in showrooms.

Read More >

By on April 1, 2016

Preston Perry, tractor owner

If this catches on, local governments will have to choose between anarchy and saving on infrastructure repair.

An 84-year-old man in rural Nova Scotia, Canada just did what many of us have always fantasized about — he rolled out his own heavy equipment to fix the road in front of his house, according to Global News.

Preston Perry of Upper Nine Mile River was sick to death of the suspension-bending potholes in his gravel roadway, and — like Charles Bronson in any movie starring Charles Bronson — stormed out the door to take matters into his own hands.

Read More >

By on March 3, 2016

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announce "A Vision for High Speed Rail," April 16, 2009, Image: Chuck Kennedy/White House

The year is 2010. Hope and Change still lingers in the air. The water in Flint, Michigan is passably safe to drink. And Donald Trump doesn’t have a single pledged delegate to his name.

This year saw $8 billion from the $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated to dozens of so-called “high speed rail” projects across the country. The projects were said to be “shovel-ready” — and some were — but many are still ongoing, er, creating jobs today.

Read More >

By on February 1, 2016

2015 Nissan Leaf

Electric vehicles aren’t rollin’ coal anymore — or, at least, not nearly as much as they used to.

Reuters reports coal-fired electricity generation is now at a 35-year low in the U.S., and November 2015 was the fifth month in a row more natural gas than coal was used to produce electricity.

That’s not all. From Reuters:

With just one month of data missing in 2015, some analysts think power companies may have burned more gas than coal for the full year for the first time in history.

Oh, and guess what’s dirtier than natural gas when burned? You bet: gasoline.

Read More >

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