GAO releases report on transit agencies' efforts to meet increased demand

Transit ridership has increased significantly, and a new report from the federal Government Accountability Office details steps that have been taken to meet this demand. “Public Transportation: Transit Agencies’ Actions to Address Increased Ridership Demand and Options to Help Meet Future Demand” addresses: trends in transit ridership and services from 1998 through 2008, challenges, if … Continued

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EPA launches website to increase transparency of regulatory activity

From the EPA press release: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new website called Reg Stat that will enhance public understanding of its regulatory process and the number, type, and range of regulatory documents developed each year by the agency. This new resource is part of the EPA’s continuing efforts to enhance … Continued

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Wasteful Development Subsidies Among Cuts Proposed by Debt Commission

This post was originally published on the Huffington Post.

In its report yesterday, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform encouraged Congress to cut from the federal budget “wasteful spending, including subsidies that are poorly targeted or create perverse incentives…” People who care about making great neighborhoods, take notice. Unbeknownst to most, the federal government plays a massive role in the real estate market by subsidizing and enabling all kinds of development in our communities. With ballooning deficits, now seems like a good time to revisit these subsidies and make sure they are achieving a legitimate public purpose -and not, in the commission’s words, “creating perverse incentives.”

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EPA Recognizes Sustainable Communities with Smart Growth Awards

From the EPA press release: WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognized five projects with the 2010 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for their comprehensive approach to improving quality of life. The projects make cities safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and bicyclists, manage growth to ensure long-term prosperity and health, … Continued

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WH Chat on Energy & Climate Change Legislation on 6/29

On Tuesday, the White House will be answering questions on federal energy and climate change legislation, an issue with direct relevance for state and local sustainability. All are invited to participate online. From The White House Blog: On Tuesday, President Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of Senators to discuss the need for comprehensive … Continued

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Final Bush Budget Leaves Leadership to Next President

Budget 09: Domestic cuts continue
Prepared for Smart Growth America by Advocacy Associates

President Bush has submitted to Congress the final budget proposal of his administration. The $3.1 trillion plan essentially freezes overall non-defense domestic discretionary spending with many key community development programs targeted for significant cuts in funding.

The budget proposal once again calls for a number of planning and community-related programs to be either restructured or eliminated. Many of these ideas have been previously rejected by Congress. For example, this is the fourth consecutive budget which has recommended an overhaul of the Community Development Block Grant program. The budget also recommends using transit funds to fill a projected gap in the highway trust fund.

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A Failure to Lead: President Bush's FY 2008 Budget Proposal and its Implications for Smart Growth

On February 5, President Bush formally unveiled his proposed, $2.9 trillion budget for Fiscal Year 2008. Meanwhile, Congress is still putting the final touches on FY 2007 spending – a task left over from the 109th Congress. The House has passed an omnibus continuing resolution, H.J. Res 20, which sets funding levels through the end of the current fiscal year. The Senate is expected to pass the measure shortly.

The budget plan proposed by President Bush outlines cuts for most non-defense, non-homeland security domestic discretionary spending. It is particularly bleak for most infrastructure and community development programs. Sharp cuts are proposed for many key programs, including public transit, Community Development Block Grants, and water infrastructure funds. Cuts to core EPA programs place the federal government’s only dedicated smart growth program in serious jeopardy.

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New EPA Study: Travel and Environmental Implications of School Siting

New study evaluates the relationship between school location, travel choices and the environment

Over the next few decades, communities making decisions about the construction and renovation of thousands of schools will be challenged to meet multiple goals — educational, fiscal, and environmental.

This study is the first to empirically examine the relationship between school location, the built environment around schools, how kids get to school, and air emission impacts of those travel choices.

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