JANUARY 2010 WEB EXTRAS
2010 Outlook / Streets, roads, and bridges
A legacy in disarray
Transportation reauthorization could languish for at least half a year longer
Funding, financing, user fees
Pay-to-play tax plan finances five years of road improvements.
Committee Report on the Green Light Plan, issued in April 2005 and incorporating findings from the Frebruary summit.
Website dedicated to the Green Light Plan.
2010 Outlook / Solid Waste
Caught in the middle
EPA's GHG monitoring rule is estimated to cost landfills $5,000 this year, but managers could make money under the House's proposed cap-and-trade program.
2010 Outlook / Urban forestry
Surviving the funding gap
Green is more important than ever, yet budgets are getting even tighter.
Urban forestry grant sources
The U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program provides funding for states, municipalities, and communities - delivered by state forestry agencies. Click here for a list of state agency U&CF coordinators.
The U&CF Challenge Cost-Share Grant program is also available (although this year's call for proposals closed Dec. 15.) This year's grant categories included trees and climate change, human health, energy conservation, and green infrastructure. Other federal agencies that fund urban and community forestry work include:
Products Solving Problems
Forecast: winter warming trend
Asphalt's always ready for repairs with an engine-powered heating system.
Click here to see how the "flameless" patcher works. The hopper on both the truck- and trailer-mounted versions uses electricity from the unit's engine to keep asphalt at the desired temperature. When the unit's not in use, plugging it into a 230V outlet keeps material warm.
World of Concrete's most innovative products
To see the complete list of the World of Concrete's Most Innovative Products candidates, and to vote online for this year's most novel offerings, visit www.mip2010.com. Winners will be announced in March.
The contest is sponsored by Hanley Wood's Concrete & Masonry Construction Products, a sister magazine to Public Works. For more information about the MIP contest, or World of Concrete, visit www.worldofconcrete.com.
Out of the Ordinary
From eyesore to artistry
Bostonites transform defaced utility and light boxes into works of art.
Boston's PaintBox program adds a bit of color to the city landscape.
"The city picked one of my paintings to use as a reference, entitled 'Wires.' They wanted me to incorporate that scene and then just improvise the rest. I used the surrounding landscape where I was standing to fill in the blanks; the colors and textures came from my feelings and instincts at the time. It was summertime, so I just got crazy with bright colors and expressive textures, brush strokes, and dripping."
"I thought that my bright pop art designs would make the boxes look better and add a nice bit of color to the neighborhood. Two of my boxes are right across the street from each other in a lively neighborhood, and when I was painting them, I was surprised at how many of the locals started to take ownership of them. People stopped to chat and assured me that they would keep an eye on the boxes and make sure that no one messed with them. The boxes got painted eight to nine months ago and are untouched."
"This box is in front of an apartment building, and a guy who lives there told me he would check on it regularly and keep it clean. I drive by it all the time and it's spotless, so he must be keeping his promise."
"The first mural (titled 'Urban Oasis') I painted is on Massachusetts Avenue by Boston Medical Center. The inspiration came from a patch of wildflowers and grasses that were growing up through the asphalt in a vacant (soon to be developed) lot about a block from where the utility box is located. I painted it from the perspective of lying down on the ground and looking up at the sky, so the grit and chaos of the busy city street is lost to the peaceful images of nature, surviving against the odds in such an unforgiving urban environment."
"The second mural I painted is in Downtown Crossing, a vibrant shopping district in Boston that has recently gone through revitalization. I titled it 'Urban Renewal' based on the renewal that takes place with leaves every year, while alluding to the revitalization that was taking place in that urban area."
"The third mural I painted is in Copley Square, adjacent to the Boston Public Library. I took my cue from the actual weeds, grasses, and wildflowers that were growing all around the utility box itself and the many other traffic fixtures within the square. I titled it 'Urban Wilds' to emphasize a City of Boston Parks Department preservation program called The Urban Wilds Initiative, which is a program that works to preserve the remaining natural ecosystems within the city of Boston."
"My boyfriend and I are nature lovers and avid outdoors people. This includes fishing for stripers in the Charles River (that runs through Boston) when the herring start running up the river. You know it's happening when you see the night herons and great blue herons as well as fishermen along the banks river right up to the dam in Watertown. The Charles runs by the Brighton Mills area, so I thought it was only fitting to paint the 'Stripe-ahs' on the utility box."
For more about the PaintBox program and participating artists, check out this news video produced by Boston University journalism students.