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Washington State DOT’s Major Project Delivery Process

John Njord has been asked to perform an independent review of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s major project delivery processes.  The review is scheduled to be completed in September 2013 and includes the SR 520 Floating Bridge projects, the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Columbia River Crossing.

Tom’s Farewell Editorial, John Njord’s Intro

Editors Note – A few months ago I shared with all of you that my wife, Renae, and I have been called on an LDS mission to serve in Rancagua Chile for three years and supervise the missionary work of about 300 young Mormon missionaries there. Subsequently I also announced that John Njord had come on board at Tom Warne and Associates to take over our ongoing client work and to continue the business I started 12 years ago. The transition has been smooth given John’s amazing national reputation and many years of credible service in our industry. Our clients have confidence in him, as he brings great value to our continuing engagements. John will be a great asset to our future clients and I urge you to call him with your needs, or email jnjord@tomwarne.com.

We are excited to head off to Rancagua in a couple of weeks and so this is the last issue of The Tom Warne Report that I will offer edits on for a few years. John will take over starting this week. I know you will benefit from his insights as he shares his thoughts with you as I have. Jeanette Christiansen will continue doing the research and writing as she has so proficiently done for many years.

For those that want to stay in touch while we are in Chile, this can be done in one of several ways. My current email address (twarne@tomwarne.com) will still work and I will check it periodically. The email address that will go directly to me and which I will use every day for church business as well as for my personal email is tomwarne@ldschurch.org. That will be the best one to use while we are gone. Feel free to email me there. In addition, many of our friends have expressed an interest in a blog that we will be doing. It can be found at warnesinchile.blogspot.com. It will be up and running by July 1st.

We wish all of you the very best in our absence. Thank you all for your expressions of support for our service in Chile. It means a lot. The projects we do are great and exciting but it’s our friends in the industry that make this a great profession.

Warmest Regards,
Tom

DOT Secretary Appointee Downplays Tolls as Funding Solution

Land Line Magazine – May 22, 2013

The top candidate for President Obama’s U.S. Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, says interstate tolls should play a small role in the solution to fund shortfalls facing the Highway Trust Fund. In a round of questioning from a Senate committee Wednesday, May 22, as part of his confirmation process to become DOT secretary, Foxx said tolling should only be used as a means to add new capacity.

Foxx was questioned by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, led by Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, and ranking member John Thune, R-SD, about how he planned to run the DOT and solve infrastructure funding challenges.

Foxx told the committee he would use his experience as the current mayor of Charlotte, NC, to deal with the difficult road ahead. He also offered his views on the issues of tolling and a public-private infrastructure bank.

“Tolling, in my work as mayor, has a place,” Foxx told the committee. “But it’s sort of like what I said earlier about an infrastructure bank. We’re not going to toll our way to prosperity in our country. It can be used in some cases to add capacity … but I don’t think it is a complete solution.”

Foxx said his three priorities for transportation are safety, efficiency and building for the future. If the full Senate gives Foxx confirmation, he will take over for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Tom Warne Report

ODOT to move away from ‘Highway-Centric’ Approach

Bikeportland.org – May 22, 2013

The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced another step forward in their approach to highway planning. The announcement is a continuation of ODOT Director Matt Garrett’s recent promises to change the agency’s title of “Highway Division” to “Transportation Division” (April 2012), and provide options to commuters.

“Like all public agencies, ODOT is facing challenges and changing expectations from the public. Funding is increasingly constrained, and because our footprint as an agency is not financially sustainable, we need to be more efficient. At the same time, economic and demographic trends are shifting the public’s transportation needs and behaviors, driving a need for more transportation options.

These forces all point toward the need for ODOT to evolve as an agency, moving away from a siloed and highway-centric approach to business. While ODOT began life as the Oregon Highway Department a century ago, today we are much more. While highways will long remain the core of our portfolio, today we have extensive involvement in rail, freight, public transportation, active transportation, and interfaces with aviation and maritime resources. Governor Kitzhaber has challenged ODOT and the state’s transportation leadership to reenergize this multimodal transformation.” The Tom Warne Report

Gov. Signs $6B Transportation Bill for Va. Roads

The Virginian-Pilot – May 14, 2013

RICHMOND – The tense final days of Virginia’s legislative session have led to a landmark $6 billion transportation funding bill, which was signed this week by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The governor praised the measure as a bipartisan effort 27 years in the making – as the last time state lawmakers put a major investment toward roads was in 1986. In the bill, lawmakers decided to find a new way to finance transportation in the state by converting the 17.5-cent gas tax into a wholesale tax, raising the state sales tax to 5.3 percent and committing more existing revenue to be spent on road needs. To that end, the car title tax will be raised and transportation will also get money from anticipated internet sales tax revenue.

The measure will generate separate funding in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to pay for priority projects in those areas.

In response to criticism from fiscal conservatives, McDonnell said frustration is commonplace with any such compromise. “There will be something in this bill that everyone does not like.” The Tom Warne Report

Sales tax is much more responsive to the ups and downs of the economy. This is a good transition for Virginia and a major milestone for a state that has struggled putting a package together for a long, long time. TW