Every Wednesday, The Ferguson Group (TFG) blog post a series of articles published over the previous week that discusses topics of interest to local governments. Learn about emerging trends and keep up on key policy issues by browsing the TFG Wednesday News Roundup!
The Senate’s Scrooge Session
The Senate may not close the door on 2013 come Friday afternoon after all. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is warning lawmakers that he is prepared to keep them in Washington until Christmas Eve unless Republicans allow for quick confirmation votes on four Presidential nominations.
Technology Offers Congestion Relief on South Florida Roads, Highways
The beginnings of a new transportation management system currently being tested on South Florida highways is looking to reduce traffic congestion, increase public safety, and relay live-feed information to drivers by collecting data on traffic conditions and deploying it to motorists. The project is still in the visionary stages, but offers a view into what the future could mean for motorists traveling on major highways and arterials.
What the Volcker Rule Means for the Municipal Market
Despite a positive nod from the municipal market on the newly finalized Volcker Rule, the inclusion of Tender Option Bonds (TOBs) as a “high risk” investment tool (now limiting banks’ investments using them) may increase financing costs to municipalities as a result of a decrease in demand. Although TOBs represent a small fraction of the municipal market, it is an important example of an untended consequence of the Volcker Rule.
Airports Make Case to Congress for Higher Passenger Fees
In preparation for the next aviation bill, airports are urging Congress to raise the cap on “passenger facility charges (PFCs)” so they will be able to generate more funds locally for infrastructure upgrades at a time when federal money is drying up. Currently, PFCs are capped at $4.50; airport officials are looking to raise the cap to $8.50.
EPA’s Lead-Free Hydrant Mandate Rejected
The Senate passed the Community Fire Safety Act Tuesday, effectively overriding guidance from the EPA requiring new fire hydrants be lead-free by early next year.
County Wealth Varies by Region
Analysis of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau gives a clear representation of household incomes and how they differ in different regions of the country. The maps and accompanying information provided by the Census can show you how your region looks compared to the rest of the country.