Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for the ‘Infrastructure’ Category

Trump Offers Fool’s Gold to Fund Infrastructure

Posted by carldavidson on June 10, 2017

Leo W. Gerard By Leo W. Gerard

USW International President

Via USW Blog

June 9, 2017 – Donald Trump surrounds himself in gold. The signs on Trump buildings shimmer in it. His penthouse in New York is gilded in it.

He claims now to have found the alchemy to conjure $1 trillion in infrastructure gold. He plans to put up a mere $200 billion in federal funds and stir it together with $800 billion in private investment and state dollars.

That is fool’s gold. A falsely-funded infrastructure program is a massive broken promise. America needs real improvements to roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, airports, water systems and railways. That requires a commitment of real tax dollars, not the relinquishment of America’s public assets to profit-seeking private Wall Street entities. Americans should not be charged twice for maintenance of the public good, once through tax breaks to investors and again in outrageous tolls and fees the investors charge.

On Wednesday, standing on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Trump reiterated the pledge he made repeatedly on the campaign trail to put $1 trillion into infrastructure. He said “restoring America” is a promise that Washington, D.C., has broken. “It has not been kept, but we are going to keep it,” he said.

“Taxpayers deserve the best results for their investment,” he said, “and I will be sure that is what they get.” But the plan to turn over public assets to private corporations for tax-supported investment is gold only for the 1 percent who can afford to invest.

The Wall Street Journal reported last fall that to raise the private funds, Trump planned to give massive tax breaks of 82 percent of equity to investors that help pay for infrastructure repair. For citizens, that’s a crappy deal – giving Wall Street control over public assets in addition to being forced to fork over the taxes that rich investors will not pay.

That financial alchemy creates poison, not gold.

In addition, there is no profit in many types of infrastructure that need repair, like schools and hospitals. A corporation can’t collect tolls from children entering their elementary school each morning.

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Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Tax Policy | Leave a Comment »

Casey to White House: Action, Not Studies, Needed for Western PA Locks And Dams

Posted by carldavidson on April 4, 2017

 

Montgomery Locks in Beaver County

By Tom Fontaine

Tribonline

March 31, 2017 – The Army Corps of Engineers has spent more than $17 million over the past 15 years studying what to do about crumbling locks on Western Pennsylvania’s portion of the Ohio River.

Now the White House’s Office of Management and Budget wants it to spend more, according to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton.

“We don’t have time for any more studies, nor are they needed or justified,” Casey said Friday during a stop at the Emsworth Locks and Dams, about six miles downstream of Pittsburgh.

Separately, in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, Casey said a proposed $2.7 billion project to build new, larger lock chambers at the Ohio River’s Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery facilities is being “unnecessarily delayed” by the office’s request for additional study and economic analysis “to determine whether the proposed project is consistent with the policy and programs of the president.”

The Office of Management and Budget did not return a message.

The three Ohio River facilities began operating between 1921 and 1936. They were built to last 50 years. Beaver County’s Montgomery is in the worst shape. Its two locks share a wall that is cracked. If the crack gets bad enough, authorities could be forced to close both locks in a move that would halt river traffic in both directions, said Col. John P. Lloyd, commander of the Army Corps’ Pittsburgh District.

“Surely, maintaining the health of this significant commercial inland waterways corridor, saving project costs and using taxpayer dollars wisely, and protecting and creating thousands of jobs are more than consistent with the president’s policies,” Casey said in his letter.

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

Posted in Infrastructure, mass transit | Leave a Comment »

Public Works: How The Clinton and Sanders Infrastructure Plans Measure Up

Posted by carldavidson on December 1, 2015

By Dave Johnson

Campaign for America’s Future

“Investing in infrastructure makes our economy more productive and competitive across the board.”
– Hillary Clinton

Dec 1, 2015 – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has announced a plan for infrastructure investment. How does her plan stack up against that of her chief competitor, Bernie Sanders?

Also, how will Clinton and Sanders pay for their plans? On that question, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recently came up with a set of principles we can use to judge this.

Clinton’s Infrastructure Plan

Clinton on Monday announced a plan for investing in infrastructure improvements. Meteor Blades laid out the need for infrastructure investment at Daily Kos in “Clinton proposes $275 billion spending for infrastructure“:

… 11 percent of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient and a fourth of them are functionally obsolete. Similar deficiencies can be found in schools, dams, levees, railroads, the electrical grid, and wastewater facilities. In its 2013 quadrennial report card on U.S. infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers said the nation would need to invest an additional $1.6 trillion by 2020 to put its infrastructure into good repair. And that doesn’t include innovative infrastructure like universal broadband.

Clinton’s infrastructure plan is detailed at her website in “Hillary Clinton’s Infrastructure Plan: Building Tomorrow’s Economy Today.” Here is a distillation:

● $250 billion dollars in infrastructure investment, spread out over five years as additional spending of $50 billion each year.

● An additional one-time $25 billion to seed a national infrastructure bank. The bank will support up to an additional $225 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of credit enhancement. These are loans to states and cities which will require tolls, fees, etc. to pay off.

● Spending priorities include “smart investments in ports, airports, roads, and waterways”; “giving all American households access to world-class broadband and creating connected ‘smart cities’”; “building airports and air traffic control systems”; “a smart, resilient electrical grid”; “safe and reliable sources of water”; “a national freight investment program”; “upgrade our dams and levees to improve safety and generate clean energy”; safe, smart roads and highways that are ready for the connected cars of tomorrow” and “the new energy sources that will power them.”

● A promise of “a faster, safer, and higher capacity passenger rail system.” But the plan does not mention high-speed rail. (Note that a single high-speed rail system from Los Angeles to San Francisco is expected to cost up to $60 billion, which alone is almost one-fourth of Clinton’s entire five-year infrastructure investment for all infrastructure needs.)

Sanders’ Infrastructure Plan

Clinton’s $275 billion infrastructure plan offers modest spending and contains few specifics. Contrast that with candidate Bernie Sanders, who has proposed a highly detailed, $1 trillion plan.

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Posted in 2016 Election, Infrastructure, Sanders, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

A Step Forward on Green Jobs, But Will the GOP Block It?

Posted by carldavidson on February 3, 2015

Montgomery Locks and Dam on Beaver County: Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Dan Jones said locks and dams funding on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania and West Virginia will receive nearly $47.97 million based on President Barack Obama’s proposed numbers. The Montgomery Locks and Dam in Potter Township could be among those receiving funding.

Locks and dams funding increases for southwestern Pennsylvania

By David Taube

Beaver County Times

Feb 3 , 2015 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – An Army Corps of Engineers spokesman said the president’s proposed budget calls for significant increased spending on the Ohio River.

Spokesman Dan Jones said locks and dams funding on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania and West Virginia will receive nearly $47.97 million based on President Barack Obama’s proposed numbers. Typically, Jones added, those figures do not change drastically from what’s approved by Congress.

That compares to a previous budget of $30.8 million, he said.

The federal government also will invest $58 million in unallocated dollars to locks and dams in western Pennsylvania, which involves funding already approved by Congress and the administration, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said in a statement Monday.

The unallocated money relates to the current 2015 federal fiscal year, which began Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30. The president’s budget is for the upcoming 2016 federal fiscal year, which begins this fall.

Casey had asked federal staff for that other investment so a lower Monongahela River project could begin constructing a river chamber portion and support existing contracts, he wrote in a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.

It was not immediately clear if or how that $58 million change could benefit other locks and dams projects in the state as Casey’s press office stated it would.

Posted in GOP, Green Jobs, Infrastructure | Leave a Comment »

‘Moral Mondays’ Launched in Western PA

Posted by carldavidson on October 28, 2014

Protesters Rally for Officials to ‘Do the Right Thing’

People gather at the Beaver County Courthouse to raise awareness of several social and economic issues.

By Kirstin Kennedy

Beaver County Times

Oct 28, 2014 – BEAVER — Everyone knows the First Amendment gives citizens the right to assemble. Few regularly exercise it.

But that wasn’t the case Monday evening on the steps of the Beaver County Courthouse, when over 30 people gathered with signs and chants.

Willie Sallis, president of the NAACP in Beaver County, said he helped to gather the protest to pressure elected officials to "just do the right thing."

"What is the moral thing to do? … That’s what we’re trying to keep alive with the union and the civil rights leaders," he said. Sallis paired with several other organizations — including members of local labor unions — for the rally, with the hope of raising awareness of several social and economic issues.

Inspired by a recent lecture given locally by the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Sallis dubbed the rally Moral Monday.

"What’s the right thing to do for the poor?" Sallis said. "What’s the right thing to do for health benefits? What’s the right thing to do when it comes to jobs? What’s the right thing to do when it comes to minimum wages? All we’re saying is, ‘Look, do the right thing.’"

On the courthouse lawn, participants chanted, "Keep it fair; we care."

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Posted in Green Energy, Green Jobs, Infrastructure, NAACP, safety net, trade unions, Voting Rights | 1 Comment »

Time to Narrow the Target: It’s Not ‘Washington,’ It’s Rightwing Republicans

Posted by carldavidson on October 27, 2014

Ideology and Investment

By Paul Krugman
New York Times Opinion

Oct 26, 2014 – America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.

But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.

Some background: More than seven years have passed since the housing bubble burst, and ever since, America has been awash in savings — or more accurately, desired savings — with nowhere to go. Borrowing to buy homes has recovered a bit, but remains low. Corporations are earning huge profits, but are reluctant to invest in the face of weak consumer demand, so they’re accumulating cash or buying back their own stock. Banks are holding almost $2.7 trillion in excess reserves — funds they could lend out, but choose instead to leave idle.

And the mismatch between desired saving and the willingness to invest has kept the economy depressed. Remember, your spending is my income and my spending is your income, so if everyone tries to spend less at the same time, everyone’s income falls.

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Posted in 2014 Election, Infrastructure, Right Wing | Leave a Comment »

Wolf Highlights Inland Port Infrastructure for PA Job Potential

Posted by carldavidson on October 27, 2014

Tom Wolfe holds election rally at Aliquippa Elks Lodge

Tom Wolf, right, shakes hands with Beaver County commissioner Joe Spanik before an election rally on Sunday, October 26, 2014, at the Aliquippa Elks Lodge on Brodhead Road in Aliquippa.

By David Taube

Beaver County Times

Oct 26, 2014 HOPEWELL TWP. — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf visited Beaver County again on Sunday, calling the election a chance for voters to say what they are not and what they could be.

The York County businessman echoed a recent campaign statement that Pennsylvania’s job creation was the worst in the country since 2011, based on federal data, suggesting the state could capitalize on its port access as one economic possibility. He also repeatedly stated that residents shouldn’t take polls too seriously.

Speaking to 60-plus people at Aliquippa Elks Lodge 1221 on Sunday, he said the upcoming election is a chance to move Pennsylvania and the country in the right direction.

“If you want to look at Pennsylvania over the last four years, it’s really a clinical test of the last 40 years,” Wolf said. “What we’ve been told over the last 40 years is ‘The real world is an unfair place. Let that 1 percent take over, and they’re going to show us wonderful things.’

“It hasn’t worked,” he said.

Wolf has visited Aliquippa or Hopewell Township several times in the last few months, and Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker said Wolf’s third visit on Sunday meant he was now family. He visited Aliquippa Elementary School on Aug. 25 and the Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School on Oct. 13.

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Posted in 2014 Election, Democrats, Infrastructure | Leave a Comment »

New Castle Firm Takes the Green High Road

Posted by carldavidson on June 24, 2014

 

 

Battery technology grows to meet demands of renewable energy

By Michael Sanserino
Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 24, 2014 – Those skeptical of renewable energy as a viable power source often note that the wind doesn’t always blow nor does the sun always shine.

But advancements in battery technology are helping keep energy flowing on those dark, windless days.

“It’s happening at a record pace,” said Lisa Salley, vice president and general manager of energy and power technologies at Underwriter Laboratories, a Northbrook, Ill.-based independent safety consulting and certification organization.

The goal is to increase the usability of renewable energy, which currently accounts for 21 percent of all electricity generated worldwide but just 11 percent of consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“One of the areas that’s been neglected in the past has been the storage component of renewable energy sources, and that includes wind and solar, of course,” said Tom Granville, CEO of Axion Power International.

That, however, is changing. Power, chemical and material science companies, locally and elsewhere, are investing heavily in battery technology. Some are improving existing technology while others are developing new chemistry to create entirely new battery structures.

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Posted in Green Energy, Green Jobs, Infrastructure | Leave a Comment »

Economic Justice Battle in Pittsburgh

Posted by carldavidson on June 17, 2014

12 30 Civic Arena

The site of the former Civic Arena in the lower Hill District of Pittsburgh.

Hill District leaders urge affordable housing, funding in Penguins’ arena redevelopment

By Tim Schooley

Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Business Times

June 12, 2014 – It wasn’t written in as part of the agenda for the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting.

But a court-required status update by the Sports & Exhibition Authority on the progress of the former arena site redevelopment by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Lower Hill District came with a call by community groups for more affordable housing and for funding applications to include more of the neighborhood.

The leadership of the Hill Community Development Corp., the Hill Consensus Group and One Pittsburgh used what was otherwise a routine update on the process of applying for grants and building roads and sewer systems into a call for the Pittsburgh Penguins to meet more of their demands and concerns.

Carl Redwood, a community organizer for the Hill District Consensus Group, criticized an established variance approved by the ZBA for the Pittsburgh Penguins that allows the team to generate private revenue from the publicly owned arena site while the SEA applies for state and federal grants and loans to subsidize development plans for the 28 acre property.

In reiterating a call for a $1 per car fund from the parking revenue to invest in community improvements, Redwood expressed a concern in the city’s African American community that new development will result in displacing established residents who lack the income to be included in them.

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Posted in Infrastructure, Organizing, Pittsburgh, Racism | Leave a Comment »

A Few Green Jobs Coming Our Way? Push The Budget Through…

Posted by carldavidson on March 9, 2014

Obama proposal sets aside more funds for Mon River, Olmsted lock projects

20140305Locks1 Overlooking the landside lock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and barge industry executives walk atop the Charleroi Lock and Dam during a tour of the Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 of the lower Monongahela River in June 2012.

Overlooking the landside lock, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and barge industry executives walk atop the Charleroi Lock and Dam during a tour of the Locks and Dams 2, 3, and 4 of the lower Monongahela River in June 2012.

By Len Bolselovic

Beaver County Blue via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 4, 2014 – President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget includes $9 million for continuing long-delayed work on a vital lock and dam project on the Monongahela River, more than four times the funding it received in the current fiscal year.

The White House budget proposal also includes $160 million for continuing construction at an Ohio River infrastructure project plagued by massive cost overruns. Paying for that project, located about 600 miles down the Ohio from Pittsburgh at Olmsted, Ill., has prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from providing additional funding for the Mon River work and other projects.

The barge industry and the federal government evenly split the cost of major lock and dam construction projects overseen by the Corps. The industry’s share is generated by a tax barge operators pay on the diesel fuel they use.

But river industry officials have complained about covering cost overruns at Olmsted, where the price tag has ballooned from $775 million when Congress authorized the project in 1988 to $3.1 billion.

More than half of the 200-plus locks and associated dams overseen by the Corps were built more than 50 years ago, which is how long they were expected to last.

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Posted in Green Jobs, Infrastructure, labor, Obama | Leave a Comment »

 
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