Thursday, October 19 marked the deadline for cities to apply to become the home of Amazon’s second corporate headquarters, a $5 billion project that is expected to eventually employ 50,000 people with average salaries of more than $100,000. The competition, which the company announced last month, sparked a bidding war that demonstrated the growing importance of ecommerce and logistics to the nation’s economy and that allowed many parts of the country to tout their infrastructure assets and, in some cases, to recognize the infrastructure challenges they may need to face in the future.

Unmanned aircraft systems—commonly known as drones—have changed the landscape of public and private life. The many uses for drones include law enforcement surveillance, wildlife tracking, disaster response and recreation. For this reason, state governments have considered a diverse spread of policies aimed at defining, regulating and, in some cases, prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, since 20131. Bills defining drones and establishing rules for their use are highly variable at the state level.

On Monday, March 21st, the House approved a measure which provides a short-term extension of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs through July 15, 2016. The current authorization was scheduled to expire on March 31, and this will give lawmakers more time to enact long-term, comprehensive legislation.

With a short-term reauthorization set to expire March 31, the U.S. House Transportation Committee took the first step in getting long-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, off the ground. On Feb. 11, the committee passed a bill that would extend funding for the FAA until 2022, and also increase funding for airport infrastructure, privatize air traffic control and integrate drones into American airspace. The big question, however, is whether the bill will survive.

Traditionally, launching satellites and other equipment into orbit has been the exclusive purview of the federal government, with NASA building and launching the equipment.  However, in recent years several private firms have entered the industry, launching on contract for private firms as well as federal agencies, especially the Department of Defense.  These launches are extremely expensive, with costs running from $100 million to $460 million, depending on the contractor and...

If you missed the Supreme Court's decision in Northwest v. Ginsberg it is understandable.  The case had been much overshadowed by the Court's decision the same day in the campaign finance case discussed here in this blog.  

In Northwest v. Ginsberg the Supreme Court held unanimously that an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim related to Northwest terminating membership in its frequent flyer miles program was preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) because the implied covenant claim was based on a state-imposed obligation.

Alaska lawmakers are considering asking voters to create a state infrastructure fund that would help pay for airport, road and other projects around the state. Meanwhile, Connecticut and Kansas are among the states with similar trust funds that are looking to prevent future raids on those funds when times are tight. I also have my usual weekly round-up of items this week on the future of the Highway Trust Fund and MAP-21 reauthorization, state activity on transportation revenues, public-private partnerships, and multi-modal strategies being employed in various states and communities around the country.

This new report from the Southern Legislative Conference examines the increasing number of aeronautics companies that are locating, relocating or expanding their manufacturing operations in the South, a trend particularly discernible in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

The benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the nation’s infrastructure were touted this week as the 2009 federal stimulus package turned five years old. Meanwhile policymakers and analysts continued to express concern about future federal and state infrastructure investment both in Washington and state capitals.

Hopefully many of you have had a chance to dive into my recent post on the Top 5 Issues for 2014 in Transportation. It’s part of a series across all our policy areas here at CSG that has become a popular annual feature. The expanded version of the transportation list (which I have newly updated this week) includes extensive links to related articles and resources from throughout 2013. Now with nearly a month of 2014 under our belts, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at those Top 5 issues through the prism of the New Year and the transportation stories it has generated so far. I have updates on MAP-21 reauthorization and the future of the Highway Trust Fund, the legacy of MAP-21, continuing state activity on transportation revenues, the evolution of public-private partnerships and states and communities working on finding solutions for a multi-modal transportation future.

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