Pluribus AM: How states are using AI to improve your commute

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 10, 2024. In today’s edition, how states are using AI to improve traffic flows; Youngkin orders phones out of schools; Missouri to ban eviction moratoriums:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Road safety and traffic management are early tests for states seeking to adopt new AI systems. California, Florida and Texas have all embraced new AI programs in the transportation sector, using new systems to manage traffic flows and detect incidents on the roadways.

Connecticut is using federal funds to pay for research into AI’s applications in detecting deteriorating infrastructure. Pennsylvania’s transportation department is using AI to develop lighter concrete blocks and new noise-absorbing materials for walls.

Despite the new focus on AI after the launch of ChatGPT, states have been working on new technologies using machine learning for at least a decade. Back in 2014, the Illinois Department of Transportation partnered with a University of Illinois AI lab for a real-time traffic monitoring program. AI isn’t just here, it’s been here all along. Read more at Pluribus News.

DISASTER RELIEF: President Biden said he did not connect with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who is managing the state response to Hurricane Beryl, until Tuesday afternoon, when Patrick requested and Biden approved a disaster declaration. Gov. Greg Abbott, traveling in Asia, has spoken with FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell, according to a spokesman. (Houston Chronicle)

EDUCATION: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has issued an executive order to establish state guidance and model policies restricting the use of cellphones in public schools. School districts will need to adopt no-cellphone policies by Jan. 1. (Associated Press)

HOUSING: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has signed legislation preempting cities from imposing eviction moratoriums. The legislation also includes a provision allowing some counties to establish land banks that would enable governments to acquire, manage and develop vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties. (St. Louis Public Radio, Kansas City Star)

ENERGY: Ten Northeastern states have signed a memorandum of understanding to coordinate efforts to accelerate clean energy transitions. The agreement is part of a first-in-the-nation initiative to increase the flow of electricity between different Northeastern power grids. (Maine Morning Star)

In Politics & Business

WISCONSIN: A state judge has rejected an effort to recall Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), saying signatures were collected under old legislative district lines that are now barred from use in an election. It’s the third time a recall effort targeting Vos has been tossed by the courts. (Associated Press)

WHITMER: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is kicking off a book tour to promote her memoir, “True Gretch,” a month before the Democratic National Convention. She has events planned in Seattle, San Francisco, Martha’s Vineyard and Washington, D.C., along with four stops in her home state. (Michigan Advance)

CRIME BLOTTER: Alabama Rep. Kelvin Lawrence (D) has been charged with forgery, Attorney General Steve Marshall’s (R) office said. Lawrence allegedly made or altered a builder’s license, though further details weren’t immediately available. (

MORE: Longtime South New Jersey political kingpin George Norcross pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges accusing him of illegal threats and extortion related to the redevelopment of the Camden waterfront. New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin has charged Norcross and five co-defendants in a 13-count indictment. (

By The Numbers

15 miles per hour: The speed limit for cyclists and e-bikes on Mackinac Island, established under new legislation signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). The car-free island’s convention and visitor’s bureau backed the bill. (Detroit Free Press)

$626 million: The amount Michigan economic development officials have cut from an incentive plan for a Ford electric vehicle battery plant, after the company said it would create 1,700 new jobs, down from the initial 2,500 it once planned. The state initially agreed to a more than $1 billion incentive package to land the project. (BridgeMI)

Off The Wall

An ammunition company is installing computerized vending machines in grocery stores in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas that will allow patrons to pick up bullets during their shopping trips. The company, American Rounds, uses age-verifying technology to make sure customers are old enough to use their machines. (Associated Press)

A New Jersey resident who loves Wawa has collected a full set of order slips from the retailer’s food counter, from 0 to 999. Tyler Gyurisin said his collection started as a joke, but now he wants to take a photo in front of every Wawa location in the country. He likes Wawa’s mac and cheese and iced lattes. (UPI)

Quote of the Day

“I’m not too worried about Kansas at this point.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R), on his state’s efforts to keep the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals on their side of the border. Parson met with Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quintin Lucas (D) on Tuesday to discuss keeping the teams. (Kansas Reflector)