2. April 2012 13:35
Editor's note: Don't miss yesterday's April Fool's Day post, Truck driver shortage officially over
- The US spends about 2% of its GDP on infrastructure. China spends 9%, India spends 8% and Europe, 5%. Poor road conditions cost the average motorist more than $400 in added vehicle maintenance per year, according to a report from the Treasury Department.
- The US Corps of Engineers submitted a $4.731 billion budget to Congress, which is under review by the Water Resources Subcommittee. The budget was the subject of a hearing on March 27. Harbor maintenance and dredging is one of the functions. Flood control is another of the areas that the Corps is responsible for.
- The floods in 2011 left serious navigation problems in some harbors, such as those on the Lower Mississippi River. The opening of the expanded Panama Canal is projected to increase the number of large container and other vessels, putting a burden on the harbors without sufficient depth. The budget has cut $40 million from duties of the Corps. A proposal recommends to spend only half of the money being collected for harbor maintenance.
- The increase in fuel-efficient cars in the US has lessened the demand for gasoline, thus a reduction in the amount of fuel taxes collected. This has caused concern in the states and has some states looking into increasing state taxes on gasoline. A recovering economy has resulted in more gas and diesel sold, but it is still producing less tax than previous years.
- The 90-day highway funding bill passed the House and was ratified by the Senate. This avoids the shutdown of public transit systems, highway safety and construction programs through June 30.
Port and exports pipeline
- With six months before the Longshoremen contract would expire, a meeting was held in Tampa to discuss ideas and suggestions among employers and the Longshoremen's Association. The position that Daggett has expressed contains certain negotiation provisions that would be difficult, if not impossible, for the employers to meet.
- US meat and spirits exporters look to accelerate sales in South Korean market. The elimination of or reduction of tariffs in the market has generated excitement in sales of liquor and meat in the country.
Image by Team New Orleans, US Army Corps of Engineers