Vermont delegation seeks to stimulate economy with transportation waiver

first_imgVermont delegation seeks to stimulate economy with transportation waiverWASHINGTON, DC, November 24 – In order to stimulate the economy and meet pressing infrastructure needs, the Vermont congressional delegation is seeking to waive the state and local match requirement for all federally-funded highway, transit and rail projects through September 2009.The move would give Vermont and other states facing tight budgets a much-needed boost to improve roads and bridges, support public transit agencies and upgrade rail lines at no additional cost to the federal government.Transportation officials have reported that because of growing budget deficits at the state and local level, many ready-to-go projects simply cannot move forward without untying the strings of the required match. Under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act, states are typically required to meet a 10 or 20 percent match for federally funded projects.By waiving the match requirements, states and municipalities will be able to continue upgrading the nation’s crumbling infrastructure while stimulating the economy and quickly creating new jobs. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch are drafting legislation they plan to introduce in the coming weeks that would grant this waiver through September 2009.Leahy said, “It’s clear that Vermont’s infrastructure has suffered due to limited state funding. By allowing the free flow of federal funds to these projects, Vermonters will see improved roads and bridges, as well as additional jobs. With tight state budgets all over the country, Congress has a responsibility to enable the completion of projects that are already lined up and ready to go.”Sanders said, “Any economic recovery package should first improve our crumbling infrastructure by improving our roads, bridges and public transportation. The elimination of the state and local match would complement increased funding and heighten the effectiveness of economic recovery efforts. Our nation’s state and local governments are currently taking in far less revenue due to falling property values and reduced sales tax revenues, and also face higher borrowing costs in credit markets. These cities and towns are on the front line of our economic crisis and they would be the first to benefit from reduced matching requirements.”Welch said, “Vermont’s growing transportation budget shortfalls and lengthening project backlogs are bad news for our state’s economy and worse news for the safety of its drivers. As our roads and bridges crumble and our economy falters, we must work hard to find common-sense solutions to both problems. This no-cost waiver is a solid first step on our road to recovery.”last_img read more

State judge’s ruling raises another hurdle for planned $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics plant in Louisiana

first_imgState judge’s ruling raises another hurdle for planned $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics plant in Louisiana FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Advocate:A state district judge sent critical air permits for a $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics complex back to state environmental regulators so they can take a closer look at the St. James Parish facility’s emissions impacts on Black residents living nearby.Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Trudy White issued the finding during a hearing Wednesday, telling the state Department of Environmental Quality to more properly evaluate the environmental justice questions surrounding the project, plaintiff’s attorneys said.White ruled two weeks after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it would be suspending its wetlands permit for the facility along the Mississippi River to review its own analysis of alternative sites and failure to look at potential sites in neighboring Ascension Parish. Formosa officials said White’s ruling did not suspend the air permits in the interim, but her ruling does add another layer of uncertainty for a project that is expected to create 1,200 permanent jobs, tens of millions of dollars per year in state and local taxes, and millions more in spinoff benefits once built.Along with the Corps wetland permits and a local land use permit, the state air permits allow FG LA, the Formosa Plastics affiliate behind the project, to operate and help clear the path to significant construction investment. The Corps’ decision earlier this month had already halted major construction activities.Last year, a joint investigation by The Advocate, Times-Picayune and ProPublica using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency modeling data found Formosa and other new industrial proposals since 2015 posed an acute impact on predominantly poor and black river communities, though white communities hardly escape it either.Known as the Sunshine Project, the Formosa complex will produce the raw materials for a variety of plastics and has been permitted to emit more than 800 pounds of toxic pollutants, nearly 6,500 tons of criteria pollutants known to cause ground-level ozone and respiratory ailments, and more than 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, DEQ says.[David J. Mitchell]More: Judge delays crucial permit for Formosa plastics plant; requires deeper analysis of racial impactslast_img read more