Launch Slideshow

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Holdin' the Line in '09

Holdin' the Line in '09

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    This map shows the most common response to our outlook survey by EPA region.

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    This table shows the most common response to our outlook survey by department budget.

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    We asked readers how operations (O&M) and capital improvement (CIP) budgets this year compare to 2008 levels.

Regardless of how much of the legislation is devoted to infrastructure, numerous parties will be working in the same space at the same time.

“We haven't seen this level of funding since the 1950s, but we're still coordinating projects much the same way we did then,” says Martha Bednarz of Envista, a company whose software allows public and private utilities to share project dates and locations. “For the economic stimulus to work the way the new president envisions, we'll need to use new technology to manage all the infrastructure projects getting under way at the same time.”

The wild card is whether the law requires funds to be dispersed through the states or allocates them directly to cities and counties that have approved projects ready to go.

And that depends in large part on Raymond LaHood, an Illinois Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years before being named U.S. Transportation Secretary last month. His appointment was applauded by Building America's Future, a coalition formed last year by the governors of California, New York, and Pennsylvania to promote the value of infrastructure investment to U.S. economic growth.

“The new Administration and Congress are poised to make a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure,” the organization announced in response to LaHood's nomination. “We call on them to reform the failed policies of the past and craft a bold economic recovery bill that addresses urgent national needs and delivers results, cost-effectiveness, accountability, and transparency.”

Candidates for the Cabinet position had included Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is the transportation planning agency for the San Francisco Bay Area.

What to expect over the next 18 months for …

National funding legislation. 32

Air pollution initiatives. 37

Streets, roads, bridges, and public transit 42

Authority over public rights of way . 45