SGA News Clips, 5/12/11

A Strategic Investment: Getting Americans to Their Jobs
The Huffington Post, 5/12/11
“Two years ago, President Obama asked us to form a Partnership for Sustainable Communities, an interagency effort led by the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. He challenged us to find ways to help build stronger, more economically resilient and competitive communities — and to provide affordable housing that offered residents access to economic opportunity without the need or expense of owning a car. Today, as gas prices hover around four dollars per gallon, that challenge is even more important.”

Many States Fail to Measure Performance of Transportation Dollars
The Pew Center on the States, 5/11/11
“States spent an estimated $131 billion on transportation in fiscal year 2010, but many cannot answer critical questions about what returns this investment is generating, according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Foundation. The study comes at a time when some members of Congress are proposing that the next surface transportation authorization act, the law that governs the largest federal funding streams for states’ transportation systems, more closely tie dollars to performance.”

Dem senators file bill to create $5 billion transportation fund
The Hill, 5/11/11
“A pair of Democratic senators filed legislation Wednesday that would create a transportation infrastructure fund and seed it with $5 billion. The duo, Sens. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) said the fund would be used to attract private investment in transportation through loans and loan guarantees. They argued the initial start-up money from the federal government would create jobs.”

New Reports: Higher Gas Prices Mean Safer Roads
The Infrastructurist, 5/11/11
“Social scientists, meanwhile, continue to explore the potential benefits of higher gas prices. A new report from Canadian researchers connects higher fuel costs with reduced sprawl. A pair of recent studies from Mississippi State (via The Transportationist) link higher gas prices with safer roads.”

Squeezed Cities Ask Nonprofits for More Money
The New York Times, 5/11/11
“As recession-racked cities struggle to balance their budgets with everything short of feeling behind sofa cushions for loose change, a growing number are seeking more money — just don’t use the word taxes — from nonprofit institutions that occupy valuable land but by law do not pay property taxes.”

Road builders link Reagan, Clinton in push for transportation bill
The Hill, 5/12/11
“The unlikely duo of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton is featured in a new ad campaign from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. The group is using the former presidents from opposite ends of the political spectrum to try to build bipartisan support for a six-year transportation spending bill. The radio spot features Reagan making the case for spending more on transportation.”

Oberstar blames partnership for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, 5/11/11
“Oberstar took on both issues — infrastructure and national focus — in his lecture last week. I’m sympathetic to Oberstar’s arguments: That it’s hard to imagine deficit reduction without a recovering economy; and it’s hard to imagine a recovering, competitive economy without an upgrade in infrastructure.”