A recent survey of 43 state transportation departments found a 21% increase in bids over 2016, but material and wage inflation were starting to impact the industry, according to people at a recent Wall Street investors conference. "Global growth momentum should continue and accelerate across most sectors into 2018," analyst Andrew Wittmann of Robert W. Baird & Co. said.
Spending by states on transportation projects increased 7.6% from 2016 to $70.2 billion, and overall capital spending increased 5.7%. The increased spending reflects "states' significant efforts at addressing both the maintenance and expansion of [their] transportation systems," a National Association of State Budget Officers report says.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is building a $4.7 billion rail line in San Jose, and the agency is trying to decide whether to construct one or two tunnels through downtown. A panel of experts recently recommended the two-tunnel option, and the transportation authority is expected to make a decision in January.
A chemical plant run by a BASF Total Petrochemicals joint venture in Port Arthur, Texas, released 106 million gallons of raw sewage and industrial discharges during Hurricane Harvey, part of 149 million gallons from 200 plants. The company said the spill was mostly rainwater that included no harmful chemicals and that "process water systems were not compromised."
A recent audit of the camera readers at the Ohio River Bridges found that problems with the system could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost toll revenue. The audit found that the cameras were often not taking clear pictures and that some of the cameras were misaligned; Kapsch, which operates the system, said it is reviewing the audit.
Conditions are ripe for a strong Thanksgiving holiday travel season, and the Maine Turnpike Authority is predicting over 1 million transactions, which would be a record. Mild weather, a strong economy and low gas prices are combining to get people on the road.
A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that half of the electric vehicles sold worldwide in the third quarter were sold in China, as the Chinese government is making a strong push with the new technology. The report states that 287,000 were sold over the three-month period that ended in September, a 63% increase, and it predicts that in 2017, sales of electric vehicles will top 1 million for the first time.
Kane County, Ill., wants to build a $37 million toll bridge over the Fox River, and it is expected to award a contract to Jacobs Engineering Group that will help it through the decision-making process. The county must decide on the amount of money to borrow, the cost of maintenance and toll rates.
Pennsylvania has developed a system that helps emergency personnel respond when drivers are trapped in a vehicle during inclement weather or other conditions, and 511PAConnect has won several awards, the state's governor said. The system sends out a geotargeted wireless emergency alert to cell phones that includes instructions and updates.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wrote off $11.3 million in unpaid tolls between November 2012 and January 2017, and the agency had $72 million in unpaid fees from outstanding tolls. The MTA has moved toward open-road tolling at the nine bridges and tunnels under its jurisdiction, and it says the data used for the audit were old.