On infrastructure, hope remains but skepticism reigns

On infrastructure, hope remains but skepticism reigns

PHOENIX – Infrastructure advocates are bearish on the near-term success of President Donald Trump’s ambitious plan to “rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure” following the apparent collapse of his push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite the administration’s continuing assurances that transportation, where the backlog is greatest, is a top priority for Trump.

Bloomberg News

The President’s 10-year $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which likely will rely on incentivizing private investment in certain types of infrastructure including energy and other non-transportation projects, has an uncertain outlook as the administration prepares to present legislation to a Congress deeply divided both along party lines and within the President’s own Republican Party. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said at a White House town hall with business executives Tuesday that the legislation could come as soon as May. Trump told the business leaders that his emphasis is going to be on “shovel ready” jobs that can get started very quickly.

“We’re going to be very strong that it has to be spent on shovels and not on other programs,” Trump said. “If you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days, we’re not going to give you the money for it. I don’t want to send $1 billion to New York and five years later find out it was never spent.”

But the President, who ran in part on his reputation as a dealmaker, has struggled to build the coalition of support he needs to advance his legislative agenda. A Republican replacement for the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, collapsed after House Republican leaders and the White House were unable to convince some of the most conservative Republicans to back the bill. The legislation had no Democratic support, and would likely have had an even tougher time advancing in the more moderate

Senate even if it had cleared the House.

Yet there is bipartisan agreement that infrastructure spending is necessary, with policy groups representing state departments of transportation, road builders, and engineers sounding a near-constant alarm about the crumbling state of America’s infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest “Infrastructure Report Card” for the U.S. last month, giving the nation’s overall grade a D-plus. The report card cited estimates of hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded highway projects, as well as much-needed investments in ports, mass transit, aviation, and other critical infrastructure.

Jack Basso, principal and transportation financing consultant at Peter J. Basso & Associates LLC and former chief operating officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said he believes that the failure of the healthcare legislation hastens the need for an infrastructure bill.

“I think it (failure of healthcare reform) makes the need more urgent,” Basso said. “So I think it may help to move up an infrastructure measure. However, the congressional leadership still seems lukewarm to moving this year.”

Basso said that help for infrastructure finance may be better placed in a comprehensive tax reform bill, another key Trump priority.

“I believe the tax reform bill is the best shot,” Basso said.

Bob Poole, director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, also cast doubt on the infrastructure bill’s near-term outlook, though he sees some hope for standalone bills and tax reform efforts.

“I’m still somewhat skeptical that we will see a major infrastructure bill this fiscal year,” Poole said. “The upcoming major policy battle will be over tax reform; that might include something for infrastructure, in the form of repatriated corporate tax revenue, but I wouldn’t count on that since many conservative members want to use those revenues to offset corporate and personal income tax rate reductions.”

“The most likely piece of infrastructure to see action in this fiscal year is air traffic control, which the President has said he wants separated from the Federal Aviation Administration and converted into a user-fee supported nonprofit corporation. That would lead to a large reduction in passenger ticket taxes and the use of revenue bonds

to support large-scale capital modernization of the air traffic control system.”

Chris Hamel, head of U.S. Municipal Finance at RBC Capital Markets, said that the healthcare bill experience could be looked at two ways.

“The healthcare experience represents further evidence of the challenge of getting something through Congress,” said Hamel. “Or you could say it was an excellent

learning lesson on how to approach issues in the future.”

“I am encouraged that infrastructure remains a top three issue among Washington policymakers with respect to what’s on their agenda,” he added.

Hamel said it isn’t clear how impactful the bill will be for the muni market, but hopes that it will encourage P3 development in a way that is positive for the market.

Market participants have so far been frustrated by the lack of specificity from the

Trump administration, which so far has advanced a plan that seems tailored more toward projects with a clear user fee revenue stream available. Fitch Ratings has called for a more specific proposal on how non-revenue-generating projects will be financed.

“The policy goal would be to better facilitate the use of tax-exempt financing in the P3 execution model,” Hamel said.

Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, has said that the administration’s infrastructure policy would cover a wide variety of projects, including an upgraded air traffic control system and a modernized electric power grid.

Jim Watts contributed to this report


MA-Ago calls for Smart Grid Pilot Program in Worcester, Massachusetts (“Pilot Program”) INVESTIGATION…

(617) 727-2200
(617) 727-4765 TTY

Mark D. Marini, Secretary
Department of Public Utilities
One South Station, 5th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02110

Re: Massachusetts Electric Company and Nantucket Electric Company each d/b/a

National Grid, D.P.U. 17-53

Dear Secretary Marini:

On March 15, 2017, Massachusetts Electric Company and Nantucket Electric Company d/b/a National Grid (“Company”) filed a petition with the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) seeking approval of recovery of the Company’s costs through December 31, 2016 for its Smart Grid Pilot Program in Worcester, Massachusetts (“Pilot Program”), and for approval of the Company’s proposed Smart Grid Customer Cost Adjustment Factors (“SGCCAFs”) and Smart Grid Distribution Factors (“SGDAFs”), for effect May 1, 2017. Pursuant to the Department’s April 7, 2017 Notice of Filing and Request for Comments, the Office of the Attorney General submits this letter as its preliminary comments.
The Office of the Attorney General requests that the Department fully investigate the Company’s proposed recovery of its Pilot Program costs and its proposed SGCCAFs and SGDAFs in an administrative adjudication. Such formal investigation should provide the opportunity for a full procedural schedule with dates for discovery, expert testimony, evidentiary hearings, and submission of briefs, and should comply with all other requirements set forth in G.L. c. 30A, § 11.1
/s/ Alexander M. Early
Alexander M. Early
Assistant Attorney General
cc: Alan Topalian, Hearing Officer
Service List
1 See the Attorney General’s Notice of Intervention filed in this docket for a description of the Office of the Attorney General’s authority to participate in this proceeding pursuant to G.L. c. 12, §§10 and 11E and the common

URGENT-Hearing April 26th – 5G Transmitters Placement Streamlined in California

Reply-To: rola masri <rolamasri@sbcglobal.net>


It’s been brought to my attention that when you click on the names of the Senators below you can only send an email if you live in their district. Below are email addresses of the Legislative Directors for each Senator and the email addresses for each Senator’s office. Please use these emails instead.
Tell California State Senators “NO” on SB 649
SB649 will streamline placement of small cell Distributed Antenna System (DAS) on electric and light poles in front of businesses and residences.  This bill eliminates the power of local control and jurisdiction and gives it to the Federal Government to take over control of all placement of small cell distributed antenna systems (DAS) throughout the state of California. SB.649: Wireless Telecommunications Bill Read more at Oppose CA  
California Bill SB 649 is at the Governance and Finance Committee right now.  
Please write and/or call the senators and tell them to vote ’NO’ to CA Bill SB 649.  
In addition , please write on their twitter account. 
Your comments will be perpetually in cyberspace and everyone will see it.  
We need many people to show up at the hearing on April 26, 9:30am, Room 112 at the Sacramento Capitol.
We will meet at Starbucks at 8:30 am on 4/26/17: 1123 12th St/L St., Sacramento, CA 95814 ($12/day early bird parking next door on 12th St. near Hyatt Regency). 
We will meet there and then walk over to the meeting together. Mark Graham is the designated speaker all others will state name and that they oppose SB649.

If you live outside of California
We still need your help!  Please make calls and use the *67 numbers before dialing so your number comes up as ‘private’.  We need as many people as possible making calls and showing up at the hearing!

See Phone Numbers Below. Click on Senator’s Name to email.
SenatorMike McGuire (Chair) – 2nd Senate Dist — North Coast/North Bay, 
State Capitol Rm. 5061, email:   senator.mcguire@senate.ca.govPhone: 916-651-4002
SenatorJanet Nguyen (Vice Chair)34th Senate Dist — NW Orange County, 
State Capitol Rm.  3048, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4034
SenatorJim Beall:15th Senate Dist — Including cities of San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, 
State Capitol Rm. 2082, email via website portal Phone: (916) 651-4015
SenatorEd Hernandez22nd Senate Dist — San Gabriel Valley communities
State Capitol Rm.  2080, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4022
SenatorRobert M. Hertzberg18th Senate Dist  —  San Fernando Valley
State Capitol Rm.  4038, email via website portal, Phone:  (916) 651-4018                                                                
SenatorRicardo Lara33rd Senate Dist  —  LA & LA County-various cities
State Capitol Rm.  5050, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4033
SenatorJohn M. W. Moorlach37th Senate Dist – Much of Orange County
State Capitol Rm.  2048, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4037 
Points to help you draft letters, make calls and/or give testimony at the hearing, provided are some sound bites for you to give to the Governance& Finance Committee:
    • Taking away property rights will result in lowered property value
    • Lowered property value will then lead to lowered property tax revenues
    • US NTP $25 million dollar study proved RF emissions from cellphones causes DNA breaks, cancers of the brain and heart.
    • Over 220 international scientists have sent an appeal to the WHO that RF emissions are already out of control, and this statement was made two years ago.
    • Increase in health care costs due to growing health problems amongst the population
    • Lowered productivity at work due to negative health impacts from the increased wireless radiation exposures
    • Lloyd’s of London and Swiss Re, two major insurance companies of the world, will not cover medical expenses incurred due to exposure to electromagnetic radio frequency radiation (EMR) (i.e. cellphones, wifi, cell tower, antennas, DAS, IoT devices, smart meters, etc.)
    • Environmental devastation from loss of oxygen producing foliage due to damage of trees and vegetation from EMR exposures
    • Environmental devastation from astronomical increases of approximately 124,416 lbs. of CO2 per city every day, or 1.6 trillion lbs. of carbon per year nationwide emissions from powering up the 5G DAS infrastructure 24/7 (and this does not include the carbon footprint created from all the other IoT network and clouds)
    • Fiber optics is the best and only solution.  They are energy efficient, less vulnerable to shut down due to EMP or hacking, and do not create hazardous RF emissions that cause damage to health and the environment
    • Russia has denied 5G rollout in their country.  Instead, they are utilizing fiber optic cables to deliver the internet to every private resident.
    If you have any question please email Mark at mark.graham@scientists4wiredtech.com