Smart Growth News – December 13, 2012

Today’s stories:

140 acres in Detroit sold to grow trees
Detroit News (MI) – December 12, 2012
A divided City Council approved a controversial initiative to sell about 140 acres of vacant land for the Hantz Woodlands project Tuesday over raucous public opposition.

Bill would protect those tidying vacant properties
Columbus Dispatch (OH) – December 13, 2012
A state bill would allow residents and neighborhood groups to clean up vacant, neglected properties without the fear of being cited for trespassing.

Maryland officials call for hike in gas tax
Washington Examiner – December 12, 2012
Numerous local leaders in Maryland clamored Wednesday for an increase in the state’s gas tax, sales tax or tolls to pay for the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to pay for transit and road improvements.

Decision on Honolulu rail lawsuit expected soon
Hawaii News Now – December 12, 2012
Today was the much anticipated day that the rail lawsuit was back in court. While both sides presented their arguments the judge did not make a decision, instead saying that will come in short order.

Dayton names MnDOT chief, rejects gas tax
Star Tribune (MN) – December 12, 2012
Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday rejected a proposal to raise gasoline taxes any time soon to fund highway improvements.

LaHood touts DC Silver Line as a ‘gold star’ project
The Hill – December 12, 2012
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood touted the inclusion of the extension of Washington, D.C.’s MetroRail to Dulles International Airport in a recent list of good transportation projects for the environment on Wednesday.

Upper floor housing rehabs spur neighborhood growth
Model D Media – December 13, 2012
The upper floors of historic downtown buildings throughout Michigan hold literally hundreds of thousands of square feet of economic potential. When renovated as living spaces, these spaces can increase the value of the buildings, generate new revenue for downstairs businesses, build a cluster of daily customers for local businesses, and create a day-and-night vibrancy to downtown neighborhoods.

$35 million mixed-use, hotel development for downtown Royal Oak moving forward
MLive – December 13, 2012
Royal Oak’s Planning Commission gave “conceptual approval” to a $35 million mixed-use development in a former car dealership in Royal Oak.