Alaska and Wyoming are the biggest benefactors of Monday's announcement by the Department of Transportation that it intends to set aside nearly $62 million for states to cover repair costs for roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters and accidents.
Just about everyone who worked to build the new Interstate Highway 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, knew that their project would never be "just a bridge." It would never occupy the same category as thousands of other concrete and steel behemoths that millions of American drivers thoughtlessly cross every day.
My son Alden called me at work one morning recently. He wanted to know my thoughts about the word "mankind" and whether it's OK to use the term in an essay. So I blurted out, "Not if you don't want to exclude more than half of the human race!"
The idea of making money from used auto parts conjures up images of thugs in chop shops tearing apart fancy stolen cars. But auto salvage is a perfectly respectable business, and Chicago-based LKQ has turned scavenging into a science. Since 1998 a group of former Waste Management executives have been revolutionizing a mom-and-pop industry by rolling up dozens of scrap yards that turn junkers into usable parts, and convincing insurance companies and body shops that recycled parts are just as good as ones straight from the manufacturer. After the company went public in 2003 the stock returned better than 500% through its peak early last year, landing LKQ (the name stands for Like Kind and Quality) at No. 58 on our 2008 Fastest-Growing Companies list. "Basically, they've got thousands of acres with a bunch of cars lying around," says analyst John R. Henderson of Morgan Keegan. "But there's a lot of money in ripping them apart."
More Americans are expected to travel by car this holiday season - an estimated 2.5% more than last year or 27 million people. And, even though gas has jumped by 30 cents a gallon over the past month, it's still far below last summer's $4 a gallon price levels.
Federal regulators said support plates that were about half as thick as they should have been were the likely cause of the August 1, 2007, bridge collapse in Minnesota that killed 13 people and injured 145.
Investigators trying to figure out what caused Wednesday's massive bridge collapse are focusing on the southern end of the span, which "behaved differently" as it fell, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday.