Smart growth news – July 29

Blumenauer criticizes cuts to smart growth program
Environment & Energy Daily, July 28, 2011
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) yesterday took aim at language in the U.S. EPA spending bill that would eliminate an agency program that helps communities develop with an eye toward environmental and economic sustainability. The Smart Growth program would see its entire budget slashed in the Interior-EPA 2012 spending bill currently being debated on the House floor. The program offers technical and financial assistance to cities and towns looking to expand their infrastructure to emphasize livability and downplay driving and sprawl.

The Latest Target of House Spending Cuts: EPA’s Smart Growth Office
Streetsblog, July 28, 2011
For much of this week, the House has been debating next year’s appropriations bill for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The bill includes harsh cuts to many key safety and environmental programs, including the EPA’s Smart Growth Office. According to the Obama administration’s statement of policy on the bill, “The bill terminates funding for EPA’s Smart Growth program, which contributes to efforts to assist communities in coordinating infrastructure investments and minimizing environmental impact of development.” Smart Growth America opposes the cut, calling it “shortsighted” and saying it would be “detrimental to economic growth.”

Winning the Future by Supporting Local Innovation
The White House Blog, July 28, 2011
Today, I was proud to announce that we are making $95 million available in Regional and Community Challenge grants to support local efforts to build more livable and sustainable communities that ensure that all Americans can afford to live in places with access to employment, schools and public transit options.

$60.9 billion, 30-year transportation plan approved for region
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 27, 2011
The Atlanta Regional Commission on Wednesday approved the region’s 30-year plan to spend $60.9 billion on transportation projects and manage growth.

Alabama tornadoes: Cities turn toward ways to rebuild
The Birmingham News (Ala.), July 27, 2011
It’s a path of destruction now — a tragic trail left when a giant tornado cut across the city of Tuscaloosa, killing dozens of people, destroying businesses and ripping neighborhoods to shreds. But someday, it could be a valuable asset — a greenway stretching through the heart of the city that connects Tuscaloosa communities, provides a corridor for pedestrians and bicyclists, and serves as a perpetual memorial of the terrible tornado that struck three months ago today.

Delaying Infrastructure Improvements Could Cost Nation Trillions, Report Says
WOWK (W.Va.), July 28, 2011
Deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 870,000 jobs and suppress the growth of the country’s gross domestic product by $3.1 trillion by 2020. That’s according to the report “Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends on Surface Transportation Infrastructure,” released July 27 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

WCNY to develop $20M headquarters in downtown Syracuse
The Post-Standard (N.Y.), July 28, 2011
WCNY will start construction in the next few weeks on a $20 million project to transform an empty warehouse on the edge of downtown Syracuse into its new home that will include a learning center, a concert auditorium, a cafe and other amenities.

DTE to relocate 300 employees downtown
The Detroit News (Mich.), July 28, 2011
DTE Energy Co. is the latest company in southeast Michigan to decide to move employees from the suburbs to Detroit.

Taunton Zoning Board of Appeals considers development of downtown residences
The Taunton Gazette (Mass.), July 27, 2011
The creation of new residential opportunities downtown is anything but a pipe dream, according to Dean Harrison. Harrison, executive director of non-profit The Neighborhood Corporation, said if the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals tonight approves a pair of special-permit requests submitted by his TNC, the stage will be set for meaningful redevelopment of the downtown district.

Opinion

It’s later than you think to protect open space
The Post-Standard (Mass.), July 29, 2011
Inexorable. Suburban sprawl’s march through America’s rural spaces is inexorable. The 2010 census shows that rural America now accounts for 16 percent of the nation’s population, the lowest percentage ever, down from the previous low of 20 percent 10 years ago.

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