Tag Archives: infrastructure

Biden urges more infrastructure investment in TN visit

Vice President Joe Biden called for greater public investment in transportation infrastructure during a Wednesday afternoon visit to a logistics yard in Fayette County, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Dignitaries in suits and railroad workers in orange vests and hard hats listened, sometimes shielding their eyes from the glaring sun as Biden spoke after touring the Memphis Regional Intermodal Facility south of Rossville near the Tennessee-Mississippi border.

In his speech, Biden said America can compete well with any nation in the world in attracting business because of favorable factors ranging from fair courts to productive workers. “But guess what?” he said. “If we do not improve our infrastructure — if we do not improve it — we will not take advantage of being able to lock down for the next 40 years that we remain the best place in the world to invest.”

Biden spoke at the a big logistics yard where cargo containers are transferred between trains and trucks. Federal funds helped pay for the facility.

…The vice president’s visit is one of several he’s making around the country to highlight the seven-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an economic stimulus bill signed by President Obama in February 2009.

The intermodal facility was funded in part by a $52.5 million grant through the program. Most of the remaining cost of the $125 million project was covered by Norfolk Southern Corp., a railroad company…The yard opened in the summer of 2012.

In an intermodal system, the same cargo container can travel by ship, train or truck.

U.S. House approves water infrastructure bill; could help Chickamauga Dam lock

Stalled work on the new lock for Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga is expected to ultimately get a boost after a normally divided U.S. House on Wednesday gave a whopping bipartisan approval to a major water infrastructure bill.

Stalled work on the new lock for Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga is expected to ultimately get a boost after a normally divided U.S. House on Wednesday gave a whopping bipartisan approval to a major water infrastructure bill.

Further from Action Andy:

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., hailed the measure as a “step in the right direction” toward restarting construction on the new lock that ran out of funding in September.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which is the first authorization measure of its type in six years, passed on a 417-3 vote. Senators in the spring passed their own version and the differences are expected to be hammered out in a conference committee.

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., called House passage a “victory for Georgia families,” saying it will benefit a project to make the Port of Savannah more usable by larger ships.

The bill drew bipartisan support as Republicans like Fleischmann and Graves ignored opposition from some conservative groups. Democrats largely held their nose over provisions accelerating environmental reviews of projects, which some environmental groups opposed.

Members of both parties called it a “jobs bill” that will help boost the nation’s water infrastructure, including dams, ports and flood protection. The bill authorizes projects but money will have to be appropriated later.

Eight of Tennessee’s nine congressmen, six Republicans and two Democrats, voted yes on the bill. But Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., was recorded as not voting. All 14 Georgia members voted in favor.

AP story on bad bridges, TN version

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dozens of Tennessee bridges are among the thousands nationwide that have advanced deterioration or are at risk of collapsing, federal data show. That works out to a small percentage of the state’s total number of bridges, but it could be enough to cause concern among drivers who travel them regularly.

The Associated Press analyzed data involving 607,380 bridges in the National Bridge Inventory, which are subject to National Bridge Inspection Standards. On a national basis, there are 65,605 structurally deficient bridges and 20,808 fracture critical bridges, according to the most recently available federal government data.

A bridge is deemed “fracture critical” when it does not have redundant protections and is at risk of collapse if a single, vital component fails. A bridge is “structurally deficient” when it is in need of rehabilitation or replacement because at least one major component of the span has advanced deterioration or other problems that lead inspectors to deem its condition “poor” or worse.

Some 7,795 bridges nationwide fall into both categories. Experts call that combination of red flags particularly problematic.

In Tennessee, 64 of the state’s 19,721 bridges listed on the federal inventory are both fracture critical and structurally deficient. B.J. Doughty, spokeswoman for the state Transportation Department, said the department has current records on 57 of the bridges, which span the state from the Wolf River near Memphis in West Tennessee to Flat Fort Creek in the scenic Frozen Head State Park in East Tennessee.
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Bridge Work (or the lack thereof)

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average U.S. bridge was built to last 50 years and is already 42 years old.
That’s one nugget note in a Bartholomew Sullivan rundown on the nation’s infrastructure problems and the failure of politicians to do anything much about it.
At the same time, Steve Ahillen reports that things aren’t as bad in Tennessee as in other states, insofar as bad bridges go. But then, they’re not so good either.
And there’s a map showing the location of problem bridges in East Tennessee.