infrastructure

When Congress completes a five-year transportation bill this week, it will mark the first time in a decade that Americans will be moving forward with a long-lasting plan.

Big infrastructure projects take years to complete, so it's vital to have enduring funding, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a press briefing Wednesday. Since 2005, lawmakers have not passed a highway spending bill lasting more than two years.

With the Iran nuclear deal all but locked up for President Obama, Congress still faces an uncommonly busy month. Lawmakers return from recess on Tuesday with a government shutdown looming, as well as questions about the United States’ debt limit and the Highway Trust Fund.  NPR’s Domenico Montanaro talks with Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd about where lawmakers’ priorities lie.

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And it's not you. The traffic is getting worse.

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The workweek got off to a rough start for New Jersey rail commuters recently. A disabled train blocked one of the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River to Penn Station during the Monday morning rush hour.

Thousands of people were left scrambling to find another way into Manhattan.

"This really sucks," said Ira Kaplan of Basking Ridge, N.J. "Much worse than past summers."

Kaplan was among thousands of commuters who took a train to Hoboken, where they waited on sweltering platforms for another train to New York.

More than 1 million people die in traffic deaths around the world each year — that's drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians combined.

It's a problem in the United States: There are 11.4 deaths a year per 100,000 population. It's a problem in low-income countries like Zambia, where the comparable figure is 23.8 deaths. And it's a huge problem in the middle-income world. The Dominican Republic records 41.7 deaths per 100,000, and was ranked in 2013 as the most dangerous country in the world for drivers.

Congress is one tiny step closer to funding America's highways, as the Senate decided Wednesday night to open debate on their transportation bill as the July 31 deadline looms. The Highway Trust Fund has been in dire straits the last few years, spending more than it's taking in. Because it gets its money from the federal gas tax, the trust fund has suffered as cars have grown more fuel-efficient and some Americans have cut back on their driving.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanyoungblood/sets/72157608808169605
by Jonathan Youngblood

A new report from the transportation group known as TRIP finds Oklahoma City roads are among the roughest in the nation.

KOSU's Michael Cross spoke with Associate Director of Research and Communication Carolyn Kelly about the study.

For more on the report visit TRIPnet.org.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 2,000 dams in Oklahoma have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up with them, and many need repairs. And this spring’s record rainfall is putting dams under even more pressure.

Catastrophic flooding used to just be part of life in Oklahoma. Ask anyone who was around in the late 1950s, like Allen Hensley, who grew up on Rock Creek in south-central Oklahoma.

“My dad took me down and showed me Rock Creek when I was a boy; and a beautiful corn crop,” Hensley says. “And the next day it was water, flooded.”

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahomans in charge of fixing the state’s rural roads and bridges are raising concerns over a state budget cutting $72 million from funding.

Randy Robinson with the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma says the money is designed to replace dilapidated and dangerous bridges across the state.

"That have been around in the 20s and 30s and 40s that are just no longer capable of holding up the loads and holding up the traffic."

Robinson says Oklahoma remains an agricultural state which is dependent on getting products to market.

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