CONNstruction - Summer 2009 - (Page 11)

newsandviews Think Regionally, Act Regionally Met up with an old friend recently and I was so pleased to hear of his job promotion. He ascended from New England vice president to regional vice president. What confused me was that the region is still New England. Is “regional” becoming a new buzzword? No city is an island anymore. We are constantly hearing about regionalization efforts, with various infrastructure projects to better connect commuters and consolidate transportation systems. The rail line linking New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield has been much talked about, as has the Hartford-New Britain busway, and improving rail service to Boston and New York. These are shining examples of Connecticut’s effort to regionalize. Regionalization has caught on around the country. In Texas, the plans are big, as is almost everything in Texas. The proposed Texas T-Bone elevated high speed rail would connect the Dallas Fort Worth Airport with the cities of Waco, Temple, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Covering 440 miles, the Texas T-Bone is estimated to cost between $11 and $22 billion to build, a true ten-gallon estimate at that. A quick Google search of regional transportation projects clearly indicates that states are thinking regionally and acting regionally. There are long-term regional transportation projects in almost every state. Utah has a 23-year plan that includes highway and roadway improvements, transit and paratransit, trail and pedestrian facilities, congestion mitigation, and air quality improvements. (By the way, paratransit is an alternative mode of flexible passenger transportation that does not follow fixed routes or schedules. Typically, vans or mini-buses are used to provide paratransit service.) From Knoxville, to Puget Sound, there are regional transportation By Faith Gavin Kuhn CCIA Director of Public Information UCAC Executive Director Equipment Dealers Executive Director initiatives. The begging question, as always, for all these projects is funding. The combinations of federal, state, regional, and local funding packages are being offered. Because regional projects are usually long-term efforts, the estimated costs are not static, and inflationary increases have to be factored in and this often delays regional projects. There may be some solace for us in Connecticut and New England, regionally, to know that geographical differences do not change financial concerns – in particular, how to adequately fund regional transportation projects. However, the funding dilemma does mean that regional transportation infrastructure projects should be financially ignored. Regionalization is not just a land-based concept. It should not be overlooked that there is a regional effort to improve air quality, as well. Just a couple of years old, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was the first regional-based effort in the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 10 states participating in RGGI are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island. (Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia are observers!) We are constantly hearing about regionalization efforts, with various infrastructure projects to better connect commuters and consolidate transportation systems. RGGI works as a “cap and trade” system with an auction where participants, from power companies to investment firms, buy and sell allowances to cover carbon emissions. The first such auction was in September 2008, and there were 59 participants. Carbon allowances sold for $3.07 a ton and generated more than $38 million to be distributed among the states participating in the auction. Connecticut expects to receive $4.2 million from the first auction; this money will be invested in energy efficient programs and renewable power technologies. Four more carbon allowance auctions are scheduled for 2009. There is an irony to the state making money on something as difficult to quantify as regional air quality improvements. Yet regional transportation infrastructure projects, which would improve the economy and quality of life on many different levels, (such as job creation, less congestion, and better air quality) are often left to vanish into thin air. CONNstruction / Summer 2009 / 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Summer 2009

CONNstruction - Summer 2009
Adapting to Change
The Future will be Lean and Green
Think Regionally, Act Regionally
Demanding Notice and an Opportunity to Be Heard When a State Agency Changes its Rules: A Call for Democracy
U.S. Supreme Court Expands Employee Protection Against Retaliation
ConsensusDOCS™: Dare to Change
Reauthorization of Federal SAFETEA-LU
Get on the Bus: LiUNA
Get on the Bus: LiUNA
Economic Downturn Gives Owners Time for Business Exit Strategy Planning
AGC/CT Annual Meeting
CONNDOT-CAAPA Paving Conference
Senator Lieberman Visit
UCAC’s Spring General Membership Meeting
Local 478 Education Trust Dinner
Index to Advertisers

CONNstruction - Summer 2009