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May 14, 2018 1:15 PM, EDT

Capitol Agenda for the Week of May 14: Big Orange Cone

Traffic cones in Las Vegas Eugene Mulero/Transport Topics

Much like MTV’s “The Situation” from the “Jersey Shore,” downtown Las Vegas is under construction this year. The consistent rise in tourism and population persuaded city and state officials to invest in wider roadways, additional transit and walkability options, and improve connectivity across freight corridors. The prevalence of construction projects locally and along the periphery of “Sin City” are such that officials from the freight sector joke the state flower is an orange cone.

PROJECT NEON: Southern Nevada's freight corridor gets the Vegas treatment

INTERSTATE 11: Boulder City braces for new interstate

Ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Infrastructure Week, Transport Topics traveled to America’s playground to check out the Interstate 15 widening for what is known as Project Neon. We also explored the construction of Interstate 11, a route that will circumvent Boulder City to enhance freight access to Phoenix. In interview after interview, everybody from truckers to elected officials complained about traffic on the interstates and local roads. Yet, despite not seeing a robust infusion of funds from the federal government, the Silver State prioritized funding for infrastructure projects to take matters into its own hands, as state Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia put it. Even if that meant living a few years with orange cones all over the place.

Nevada is not alone. In recent years, nearly half of the states have raised fuel taxes to come up with additional funds for road repairs and maintenance. The governors from most of those states, meanwhile, continue to call on federal officials to advance legislation that would facilitate funding for big-scale projects nationwide. Days before Infrastructure Week, the White House indicated that an infrastructure bill won’t be realized this year, despite President Donald Trump’s assertion that it was possible. For cities unable to emulate Las Vegas’ model, roadway congestion likely will keep increasing along deficient infrastructure. Or, to borrow from “Jersey Shore,” we’re going to have a “situation.”

THE WEEK AHEAD: (all times EDT)

May 14: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao delivers keynote remarks at the kickoff of Infrastructure Week in Washington, D.C.

May 15, 8 a.m.: The Brookings Institution and the National Association of Counties host a panel on “Building Inclusive Infrastructure: How the Built Environment Limits Pathways to Opportunity, and What We Can Do About It.”

May 15, 10 a.m.: The Association of American Railroads hosts a discussion to highlight freight rail technology, including autonomous inspection cars and drones, smart sensor technologies, reality simulators and machine visioning technologies.

May 15, 2:30 p.m.: The Senate Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet Subcommittee holds a hearing on, “There’s an App for That: Trends in Mobile Technologies.”

May 16, 8:30 a.m.: The Hill newspaper hosts Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) for a discussion on “NAFTA and North American Competitiveness: A US-Canada Conversation.” Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, will join the conversation.

May 16, 10 a.m.: The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts an event on “Putting Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) to Work in the United States.”

May 16, 5 p.m.: The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee marks up its fiscal 2019 transportation bill.

May 17, 8 a.m.: The Brookings Institution and the National Association of Counties host a panel on “Collaborate to Build: Modernizing Infrastructure Policies to Advance Public-Private Partnerships.” NACO Executive Director Matthew Chase is scheduled to speak.

May 18, noon: The Federalist Society hosts a discussion on “Emerging Technology in Transportation.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

DRIVER PAY: Recruiters are working to keep pace as carriers continue to increase compensation as a way of attracting and retaining drivers, a new survey found. 

579: Peterbilt Motors Co. displayed its all-electric Model 579 day cab tractor at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo, which was held April 30-May 4. 

PLATOON: Platooning developer Peloton Technology will have its two-truck platooning system in day-to-day commercial operation by the end of the year, a company executive said.

BUZZ:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief Ray Martinez will be among the officials scheduled to update House policymakers during a hearing May 22, sources with knowledge of the hearing told Transport Topics.

WHAT WE’RE READING:

It’s Infrastructure Week, again.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

I don’t know that there will be one by the end of this year.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on May 9 regarding President Donald Trump’s massive infrastructure package

Sarah Sanders

 

FAVORITE VIDEO:

Beating up on LaGuardia Airport

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FAVORITE TWEET:

Moment of Zen.

Thanks for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.