January 15, 2021
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Top Story
President-elect Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan that is geared mostly toward immediate work on vaccine distribution and individual financial relief but includes funds for local governments, transit systems and school construction. Biden intends to follow up with a second plan in February that likely will include a greater focus on infrastructure.
Full Story: Engineering News-Record (tiered subscription model) (1/14) 
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Infrastructure Watch
A project to build a lengthy causeway and a deepwater basin at the port in Nome, Alaska, has advanced with congressional approval. The Arctic Deep Draft project, estimated at $505.23 million, is entering the design phase as it seeks funding.
Full Story: KNOM-AM/FM (Nome, Alaska) (1/12) 
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The rapid advance of sustainability, data and automation technologies is transforming infrastructure markets and creating disruptions that are only compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, write Blair Chalmers, director at Marsh & McLennan Advantage, and Lawrence Slade, CEO of the Global Infrastructure Investor Association. As a result, the magnitude of change will require more than government investment can provide, creating promising new opportunities for the private sector.
Full Story: World Economic Forum (1/14) 
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Louisiana officials are weighing a proposed Interstate 10 interchange in Ascension Parish as they negotiate with the owner of land key to the project. A 2015 study put a $35 million price tag on the interchange, but it could cost more.
Full Story: The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) (1/14) 
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Unexpected "poor soils" in the Minneapolis section of a light-rail line under construction will delay the line's completion beyond a target date of 2023, according to the Metropolitan Council. It's unclear whether the delay will raise the cost of the 14.5-mile project.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (1/14) 
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Trends & Technology
The Federal Highway Administration, academia and 23 state transportation departments are collaborating on a $2 million project to create an open data exchange standard for BIM for bridges. Aaron Costin from the University of Florida is leading academic research for the project, which could become the foundation for a national standard.
Full Story: University of Florida News (1/11) 
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Utah State University is looking to build the state's status as a testing center for electric vehicles as it seeks funding to upgrade the school's Electric Vehicle and Roadway building. Seen as a way to help Utah become the nation's "epicenter" for transportation electrification, the work would require as much as $9.2 million.
Full Story: Deseret News (Salt Lake City) (1/13) 
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Sustainable Development
Michigan has received requests for almost 58% of the $500 million it has available for wastewater projects via the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and through Jan. 31, municipalities can apply for financing for projects that start next year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's separate Clean Water Plan may increase access to water infrastructure funding, but the CWSRF will remain an essential funding vehicle, according to John LaMacchia of the Michigan Municipal League.
Full Story: MLive (Michigan) (tiered subscription model) (1/12) 
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It's largely a mystery where vast global volumes of wastewater containing human excreta go, posing a grave threat to the environment that will only worsen with climate change, writes Jacqueline Thomas, lecturer in Environmental and Humanitarian Engineering at the University of Sydney. What's needed is more and better data to begin to address the problem and meet a United Nations target for clean water and sanitation by 2030.
Full Story: The Conversation (1/12) 
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Regulated by state authorities, developers in Florida would be able to quickly launch projects that could endanger the state's extensive wetlands. That's the fear cited by environmental groups launching a federal court challenge against a decision by the US Environmental Protection Agency to surrender primary regulatory authority for such matters to Florida officials.
Full Story: The Associated Press (1/14) 
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ASCE News Daily
It’s not too late to follow 2021 in style with ASCE's Bridges calendar
(ASCE)
Enjoy an awesome photo on the wall of your home office and freshen it with a new one every month throughout the year. Order your Bridges 2021 calendar today.
Virgin Hyperloop co-founder tells ASCE the technology is ready now
(ASCE)
Josh Giegel, Virgin Hyperloop’s co-founder and chief technology officer, talked recently with Civil Engineering magazine about hyperloop technology and the implications of hyperloop travel on the future of transportation.
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SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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