Today’s Pickup: States buying fewer bonds to fund infrastructure projects

Road paving

Good day,

On July 31, the. U.S Dept. of Transportation issued a proposed rule seeking more private investment in public transit projects. While that is an encouraging sign to many that the Trump administration is moving ahead with the president’s infrastructure push, it is also a sign to some that the government is moving no closer to unveiling a plan of its own.

Officially called the Private Investment Project Procedures, the proposal aims to reduce regulatory hurdles that prevent more private participation in infrastructure. While the government seeks to reduce barriers, though, states are concerned about reimbursements for projects and that has led to a drop in the number of projects, according to Reuters.

Through July, new municipal deals to fund transportation, utilities and power projects were down 19.4% to just $50.7 billion, the news organization reported.

James Grabovac, a managing director at McDonnell Investment Management, tells Reuters that states may be reluctant to engage in significant projects with the lure of a $1 trillion federal investment program looming on the horizon.

Did you know?

Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that an economy based on self-driving vehicles will grow to $800 billion by 2035 and $7 trillion by 2050.

Quotable:

“I think people started to realize that the agenda within the Trump administration wasn’t going to accelerate as quickly as had been advertised.”

- Randy Gerardes, director of municipal securities research at Wells Fargo, on the drop in states issuing bonds for infrastructure projects

In other news:

Sleep apnea rule officially withdrawn

Weeks after FMCSA signaled its intent to withdraw a sleep apnea rulemaking, the agency has officially done just that, removing the rule and leaving no formal protocol for the referral of drivers for treatment. (CCJ)

Last-mile driving job growth

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, couriers and messenger companies added 3,200 jobs in July. (Wall Street Journal)

FedEx to skip holiday surcharges

FedEx said it will not implement holiday surcharges for home deliveries this season, unlike UPS which has already said it will. (Transport Topics)

Government struggles with synthetic drug use

As use of synthetic drugs grows in the country, the NTSB and FMCSA are struggling to get a grasp on how to handle them. (Transport Topics)

States in fight to secure autonomous vehicle tests

States are battling with each other to become test grounds for autonomous vehicle testing, with legislators passing bills to encourage testing and wooing startups conducting those tests. (Trucks.com)

Final Thoughts

The good news for many when Trump took office was the promised $1 trillion infrastructure project. But with that seemingly going nowhere at the moment in Congress and no concrete proposal from the White House, reports are no emerging that states are seeking fewer bonds to pay for improvements without some certainty from Washington. It seems improvement is stuck in a rut.

Hammer down everyone!