SGA news clips, April 15, 2011

City, Others to Work on Transit-Hub Development
Wall Street Journal, 4/15/11
New York City will work with several other local governments to revitalize areas around underdeveloped transit hubs, officials announced Thursday. The plans include adding housing and commercial space along commuter rail lines to encourage more public transportation use and to curtail sprawl. The city will join Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and four cities in Connecticut in the bi-state collaboration.

Highway Funding Is at Risk

Wall Street Journal, 4/14/11
Congress may have to consider a smaller highway-funding bill than initially planned because of a steep drop in revenue from the federal gasoline tax, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said Thursday. The Montana Democrat, speaking at a hearing on highway funding, said lawmakers may have to draft a funding bill covering two years instead of six, which effectively would freeze highway-construction funding at existing levels or lead to a decline.

Decision to move EPA offices from KCK to Lenexa seems flawed
Kansas City Star, 4/11/11
When it comes to thinking green, the federal government may be missing the forest for the trees — at least concerning the relocation of the Environmental Protection Agency from downtown Kansas City, Kan., to suburban Lenexa.

Campaign aims to get Southwest Florida biking, carpooling and using public transportation
The News-Press (Fla.), 4/13/11
In an effort to get more people biking, carpooling and using public transportation, Fort Myers, Lee County and the Florida Department of Transportation are launching a campaign that starts today, and spans through Earth Week, ending April 23. The “Taking it to the Streets” campaign encourages employers, community leaders, students, teams and individuals to participate in activities such as organizing or joining a bike club, carpooling to work, organizing transportation competitions and more.

Ohio smart growth group says local government status quo ‘not a winning strategy
Examiner (Ohio), 4/15/11
Greater Ohio [GO] Policy Center, a smart growth group, released an analysis Thursday of Gov. John Kasich’s 2012-13 state budget. The group whose stated mission is to “grow our economy and improve our quality of life through intelligent land use,” argued that the underlying structure of local government in Ohio must change and the State should drive this change.

CRDA would consolidate state agencies in one Atlantic City center
Press of Atlantic City (N.J.), 4/13/11
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority wants to stimulate the economy in the city’s Downtown section, and it’s looking to use state employees to jumpstart that effort.

Fairfield County has most problems bridges in state
Westport News (Conn.), 4/14/11
The report, “The Fix We’re In: The State of the Nation’s Bridges,” ranked Connecticut 20th among 50 states and Puerto Rico. The report was released last week by Transportation for America, a coalition of more than 350 transportation, pedestrian, housing, and other advocacy groups nationwide.

7 Wilson County bridges rated ‘structurally deficient’
The Tennessean (Tenn.), 4/10/11
Of the 371 bridges in Wilson County, only seven are “structurally deficient,” according to a recent report on the nation’s bridges. But Tennessee Department of Transportation officials, who provided the bridge statistics for the study, said “structurally deficient” bridges are nothing more than an engineering term, and that each of the bridges are safe.

County supervisors sweep in ‘minor’ changes to rural land plan
North County Times (Calif.), 4/13/11
A long-delayed and high-stakes land plan that would cluster growth around rural town cores and limit development in the far backcountry could become county law by Aug. 3. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors provided its final set of directions Wednesday to county planners on the General Plan Update —- a document in the works since 1998.

Smart Growth, Development and Density in North Woodbridge’s Future
Woodbridge Patch (Va.), 4/14/11
“The master plan means jobs closer to home,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor and host of the meeting Frank J. Principi in his opening remarks. In the master plan are various town centers that will utilize mix-use development for work, live and play communities much like the one at Reston Town Center.

Opinion: Stampone: A new economic paradigm for Passaic County
Herald News (N.J.), 4/15/11
Passaic County needs an economic revitalization. We need a plan to create jobs, invest in our infrastructure, and raise our quality of living. A light rail project connecting William Paterson University to the Paterson train station is the type of smart growth development that can bring Passaic County into the 21st century. The possibilities for collaboration between local, county, and state entities are endless.

Opinion: Public transportation needs to be more public

Fourth Estate (University of Wisconsin), 4/13/11
Cars are not cheap to maintain and fill with fuel. Public transportation offers other types of freedom. Being able to get where you want as a passenger gives people time to read or check email. Take a commuter train in a big city like Chicago and people would be taking advantage of time that would otherwise be wasted honking a horn in traffic.

Opinion: Stand up for transit system
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 4/13/11
Bottom line: Our businesses need public transit. We want public transit to thrive. Our political leanings have nothing to do with that fact. Keep cutting bus routes and raising fares, and we will feel it. We don’t need a widened freeway or a rebuilt suburban interchange, yet those projects are sure to be completed – with hardly a fight. Our businesses have been quietly “pro-transit.” But we can’t be quiet anymore.

Opinion: Despite the costs, metro sprawl goes ever-outward
Kansas City Star (Kan.), 4/13/11
Sprawl is continuing at an alarming pace, as new U.S. census numbers show. This is the kind of sprawl that (sorry, suburbanites) costs taxpayers a boatload of money as they build new schools, roads, sewers and water lines and provide lots of services such as public safety. And don’t forget the public money it costs to maintain all those streets, schools, sewers, etc., in the future.

No more freeways?
Houston Tomorrow blog, 4/11/11
Could major metropolitan areas get by without building any more major freeways – ever? That is the conclusion of a new study by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC). Not only that, they found that under the “No More Freeway” scenario, employment and housing opportunities were more evenly distributed throughout the urban areas, and mobility was more, not less, efficient.