Making the most of limited transportation dollars: WYDOT does it right

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) across the country face tightening budgets, and one DOT recently stepped up to make the most of the funds it has.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) has positioned itself responsibly for the future. On November 16, the agency announced it will stop approving highway expansion projects and will focus resources toward repair of the state’s existing road system. This announcement comes just months after the publication of Repair Priorities, a report by Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, which made recommendations along these lines.

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Smart growth news – November 8

Boise writes new city blueprint
Idaho Statesman, November 8, 2011
Boiseans don’t like strip malls. They don’t like architecture that’s out of scale with pedestrians. Nor do they like development patterns that line thoroughfares with parking lots. They do like walkable mixed-use developments like Bown Crossing, Hyde Park and the 36th Street Garden Plaza, with homes, cafes and parking lots tucked out of sight and the needs of pedestrians balanced with those of drivers. That’s what Boise city staffers learned during the past four years as they worked with residents to develop a new comprehensive plan, the first since 1997.

The myth of the progressive city
Salon, November 7, 2011
[T]wo or three decades ago, there may have been some truth to the notion that the American city is a union-driven bastion of populist progressive economics. But today, while cities may still largely vote Democratic, they are increasingly embracing the economics of corporatism. The result is that urban areas are a driving force behind the widening intra-party rift between the corporatist, pro-privatization Wall Street Democrats and the traditional labor-progressive “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”

A Bridge Too Far? U.S. Infrastructure’s Future Depends on Current Debate
International Business Times, November 7, 2011
America’s bridges are crossed an average of 4 billion times every day; 282 million of those treks involve structurally deficient spans. As America’s infrastructure ages, the ranks of deficient bridges will grow, doubling by 2030 if not addressed, according to Transportation for America.

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Smart growth news – July 7, 2011

Key Senate Dem: Two-year transportation bill coming
The Hill, July 6, 2011
A leading Senate Democrat said Wednesday that the chamber will likely move forward with a two-year measure funding roads and public transportation – not a six-year bill, as originally planned. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of Environment and Public Works Committee, also told reporters that lawmakers would have to fill a roughly $12 billion shortfall for those two years, and that her committee would mark up the $109 billion legislation in the next few weeks.

Bank plan would help build bridges, boost jobs
MSNBC, July 6, 2011
American has fallen to 23rd in infrastructure quality globally, according to the World Economic Forum. It will take about $2 trillion over the next five years to restore the country’s infrastructure, says the American Society of Civil Engineers. Given America’s weak economy and rising national debt, the government can’t promise anything close to an amount that dwarfs most countries’ total economies. But a national infrastructure bank could help.

UN environmental initiative is the Tea Party’s new nightmare
The Daily Caller, July 6, 2011
Tea Partiers aware of the initiative are eager to get the word out and stop what they see as an encroachment of an international agenda, manifest in local planning programs such as smart growth, land use policies, and green building codes.

Five Bay State projects will create housing and boost transit
New Urban Network, June 30, 2011
Five projects in eastern Massachusetts — the majority of them along mass transit lines — have been chosen by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to receive a total of $1.5 million in aid from the Barr Foundation and the New York-based Ford Foundation. They are the first projects to be selected in the Alliance’s Great Neighborhoods program, which promotes development not dependent on the automobile.

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Misguided Budget Cuts Proposed by House Leadership Take Aim at Programs Driving Economic Growth

Washington, DC – Leaders of the House of Representatives submitted their recommendations this week for the 2011 federal budget, including cuts to several programs that create jobs and drive economic growth. Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement in response:

“The budget proposed by the Republican House leadership takes aim at America’s middle class and attempts to balance the federal books on their backs. Many programs on the chopping block are meant to help this country’s economic recovery and cutting these programs is short-sighted and counterproductive. What’s worse, many of these cuts will take their highest toll on families and communities – precisely the people Congress should be working to help right now.

Leaders of the House of Representatives submitted their recommendations this week for the 2011 federal budget, including cuts to several programs that create jobs and drive economic growth. Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement in response:

“The budget proposed by the Republican House leadership takes aim at America’s middle class and attempts to balance the federal books on their backs. Many programs on the chopping block are meant to help this country’s economic recovery and cutting these programs is short-sighted and counterproductive. What’s worse, many of these cuts will take their highest toll on families and communities – precisely the people Congress should be working to help right now.

“Our leaders in Congress need to take a close look at the federal budget and cut programs that are wasteful, outdated and no longer effective in the 21st century economy. At the same time, however, Congress should protect and promote programs that help jumpstart the private sector, allow local leaders to respond to local economic needs and provide clear and effective outcomes.

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