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Aluminum recycling rises

Americans recycled 51.9 billion aluminum cans in 2006—500 million more than the year before—according to the Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. In addition, the recycling rate held steady from 2005 to 2006 at 52%.

Windy City springs for new meters

Chicago's Department of Water Management has begun a three-year plan to install electronic water-meter transmitters at commercial and residential properties, at a cost of $40 million. The units will enable department personnel to read the meters as they drive down the street. Most of the 325,000 homes affected had been billed twice a year, based on an archaic formula taking building size, lot width, and number of outside spigots into account.

EPA offers ‘smart growth' assistance

Agencies in six different communities will receive $45,000 worth of technical assistance from the U.S. EPA to help them manage rapid growth. Among the communities receiving assistance: Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky has requested help with implementing smart growth practices that help protect water quality. The area has been plagued with sprawl and a combined sewer system that frequently overflows. For more information or to apply for future funding, visit www.epa.gov.

Newsletter urges smart transportation

Innovator—published by the Federal Highway Administration—is a publication seeking to advance innovative highway construction and management. Among the projects and practices profiled in the first issue: use of time-and money-saving prefabricated bridge components in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and a “smooth pavement” initiative in Arizona and Kansas. To download a copy, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov.

Base marches toward zero waste

Fort Lewis, near the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, has diverted more than 725 tons of organic material and 1400 tons of wood from its solid waste stream, and avoided $174,000 in disposal costs, by reusing material in redevelopment. The initiative is part of the first phase in the base's plan to attain zero net waste by 2025. Other goals the Army is seeking to attain by that deadline: reducing air emissions by 85%, generating all energy used from renewable sources, and reducing potable water consumption by 75%.

House okays 2008 bill for transportation funding

Funding

A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has approved a fiscal year 2008 spending bill that fully funds SAFETEA-LU's highway funding guarantees.

The legislation would provide $40.2 billion for highways, which is $600 million more than the administration requested. In addition, it would provide $9.7 billion for public transportation systems, $300 million more than requested; this jump includes:

  • A $134 million increase in Capital Investment Grants funding for commuter rail or other light rail systems to increase public use of mass transit, alleviate traffic congestion, reduce gas consumption, and save commuters money while reducing pollution.
  • $75 million for the Clean Fuels Grant Program, $26 million more than in 2007, for clean-fuel bus technology.
  • The funding package is far from a done deal, though. Next steps: reconciling the House's request with the Senate's and final approval by President Bush. Visit www.house.gov.

    Yonkers, N.Y., turned several refuse vehicles into artistic masterpieces. Six trucks in the city's solid waste fleet have been wrapped in vinyl printed with the works of local artists, including one high school student, who submitted designs as part of a civic-pride competition. Competition funds (including the $2000 given to each of the artists) came from corporate donations; no public funds were used. Photo: Yonkers Department of Public Works