SGA News Clips, 5/24/11

Move It! How the U.S. gets transportation policy wrong – and how to get it right
The Wall Street Journal, 5/23/11
Robert Puentes writes, “The public sector spends north of $170 billion each year on transportation, and we’ll need to spend even more to modernize our battered infrastructure. But before we start writing more checks, we need to stop and think long and hard about transportation. Not only are we spending too little right now, but we’re also not spending it wisely.”

Cities as software, and hacking the urban landscape
Grist, 5/23/11
“What if saving a rundown city wasn’t about building expensive new infrastructure — hardware, so to speak — but instead reprogramming the existing infrastructure? Changing the software of the place? That’s the analogy used by Marcus Westbury, founder of Renew Newcastle, an innovative initiative that has breathed life into the vacant downtown of that Australian city. Newcastle, which grew up around the coal and steel industries, suffers from a lot of the same problems as Rust Belt cities in the United States. Its major employers shut down in the latter half of the 20th century, its transportation systems were dismantled, and retail decamped for the sprawling suburbs. The core of the city was vacant and neglected.”

Tolling necessary: States stuck with poor roads, few funds, 5/23/11
“The critical transportation funding issues in Pennsylvania are well known. The state needs an additional $2.5 billion a year just to keep up with our current transportation needs, let alone find money for building new bridges and roads.”

N.O. public transportation funding lower than average for area’s size
New Orleans CityBusiness, 5/23/11
“The New Orleans area has access to more than $17.95 million for public transportation projects for fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. The New Orleans figure is the fifth lowest among the 38 areas nationwide with a population of more than 1 million that have access to funding from the federal government.”

To help towns combat sprawl, rewrite of state zoning law is overdue
Boston Globe, 5/24/11
“‘Nearly every state that has seen significant economic growth over the past 30 years has overhauled its planning and zoning legislation… We are losing the race for economic development for many reasons, but among the foremost is our antiquated, arcane and incomprehensible body of land use law,’ he said in his prepared testimony.”