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Top stories summarized by our editors
9/24/2021

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Reliability Corp. have more than two dozen recommendations to help Texas avoid another occurrence of last winter's catastrophic power outages, including that power providers should be required to winterize their plants. That echoes a mandate made after the state's 2011 winter blackouts. "I can guarantee you that this time, FERC will not let these recommendations be ignored or watered down," said FERC Chairman Richard Glick.

SmartTake: A recent blog from Michael Webber, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, outlined the "grimly familiar" steps taken in the 2011 and 2021 crises. 

  1. Finger pointing and misdirection
  2. Investigations and forensic analysis
  3. Implementation of solutions (or lack thereof) 

Webber's overview is a good outline of the problem. However, one interesting paradox comes up. Webber writes "we need to stop designing the infrastructure of tomorrow based on the assumptions of yesterday." He then follows that sentiment by urging the same winterization "steps that were called for 10 years ago." That definitely feels like yesterday. One might wonder if perhaps Texas needs to do even more than what was suggested 10 years ago if it's going to keep up with the wrath of climate change. --Evan

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The Associated Press
9/24/2021

A survey of transit riders finds the pandemic has changed their expectations, with 74 percent of respondents citing a desire for tech-based solutions or apps to streamline the experience and offer real-time information. Tricia Thomas from PublicInput notes, "technology is truly the key to engaging people and helping them elevate their voices."

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Government Technology
9/24/2021

Volvo's forthcoming luxury electric vehicles will not sport leather seats, as part of the automaker's commitment to sustainability, the automaker has announced. Starting with the C40 Recharge, high-quality recycled materials will be used instead of leather in Volvo's EV interiors.

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Electrek
9/24/2021

NASA is planning to send an ice-hunting rover to the moon, with the 950-pound vehicle to land west of the Nobile Crater near the moon's south pole. The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover is equipped with three spectrometers and a drill to draw samples as deep as 3.3 feet.

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LiveScience
9/24/2021

Early work on the final stage of repairs to the cracked West Seattle Bridge is set to begin soon. Most of the work on the final phase, however, won't begin until November after crews next month take delivery of needed materials and install crew platforms.

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KIRO-TV (Seattle)
9/24/2021

Boston's acting Mayor Kim Janey is expected to sign an ordinance approved by City Council that will require buildings larger than 20,000 square feet to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2050. The ordinance will apply to about 4% of the city's building stock, which accounts for about 60% of the city's building emissions.

9/24/2021

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is collecting feedback on an estimated $19 million effort to widen 22 miles of Interstate 26 near Interstate 95. The project also includes interchange improvements.

9/24/2021

Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., are planning round-the-clock operations to accommodate growing volumes that have been evident at most of the nation's ports. But observers say that more measures will be needed over the long term to meet demand.

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Transport Topics
9/24/2021

A recent Supreme Court decision allowed PennEast to use eminent domain to condemn rights of way to build a $1 billion, 120-mile pipeline between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but PennEast says it must clear other legal and regulatory hurdles before it can begin acquiring property. The company's decision to eschew condemnations in Pennsylvania "is a strong indication that the project will not go ahead, since the pipeline can't be built along the proposed route without these lands," said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and ReThink Energy NJ.

9/24/2021

Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers plans to begin work next month on a project to add 117,000 square feet to its terminal while remodeling 164,000 square feet. The $331 million project will also consolidate security checkpoints as part of the goal to speed operations and accommodate future growth.