Smart Growth America (SGA) seeks a program associate to join the land use and development team, and support research, advocacy, communications, operations and coalition-building work for LOCUS, as well as coalition activities for the National Brownfield Coalition (NBC).
Smart Growth America (SGA) and its transportation program, Transportation for America (T4America), are looking to recruit a minimum of two interns to support their technical assistance, research, and advocacy work. Learn about the different projects below.
The Boomerang Tube Manufacturing Facility in Liberty, TX. Photo courtesy via Brinkmann Constructors.
Liberty, TX is one of the many communities where the federal Brownfields Tax Incentive has brought new jobs to formerly abandoned industrial plants.
The National Tube and Pipe (later Allied Pipe and Tube) opened in Liberty in 1973 and eventually became the largest employer in the town. When the company closed in 1993, it left behind a 492,000 square-foot manufacturing facility contaminated with PCBs, asbestos, a polluted retention pond and petroleum.
In 2009 Boomerang Tube, a manufacturer of pipe and tubes for oil and gas customers, announced its intent renovate and expand the old National Tube and Pipe factory into a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The project would bring 350 manufacturing jobs back to Liberty in the process. Boomerang Tube had one significant hurdle, though: an estimated $1.2 million in cleanup costs.
The federal Brownfields Tax Incentive program helped make cleanup feasible for Boomerang. The Tax Incentive effectively limited the impact of cleanup costs on the development budget. Tax abatement and other local incentives also factored in, and Access Industries provided financing for the project. All of this helped clear the way for a $200 million investment in the plant and equipment.
The President’s American Jobs Act would make a considerable and welcome investment in transportation infrastructure…but what would it mean for Complete Streets?
The Woodward light rail project, now under way in Detroit, will give residents better ways to get around and support the city’s business districts at the same time. First discussed by the Detroit Department of Transportation in 2006, the light rail line will run from Detroit’s Hart Plaza to the city limits at Eight Mile … Continued
The nation’s 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 according to a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference is wrapping up today in Washington, DC. Coordinated by the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, the multi-day conference shares ideas and strategies for building a green economy that creates good jobs and preserves America’s economic and environmental security. It brought together a diverse group of agencies and organizations to tackle questions about revitalizing our economy, replacing jobs lost in the “great recession” and building the infrastructure needed to keep America competitive in the 21st century.
Smart growth strategies are a key part of all these goals, and yesterday’s morning plenary at the conference was dedicated to just that. U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL-MN), Amalgamated Transit Union International President Lawrence Hanley, Kaiser Permanente Vice President of Workplace Safety and Environmental Stewardship Kathy Gerwig and American Institute of Architects President Clark Manus spoke on a panel about Sustainable Communities, moderated by Kojo Nnamdi, host of WAMU’s “The Kojo Nnamdi Show.”
Congressman Keith Ellison discussed how sustainable communities have the ability to increase independence, maximize efficiency and encourage innovation. Clark Manus, President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), detailed how AIA is “working with communities on more than just buildings,” and emphasized the possible depth of what “more sustainable, more responsible communities” can offer their residents – from increased access to transportation options to a stronger economy.
Last week, Smart Growth America released a report about how states spent their flexible transportation funds from 2009’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and whether the projects funded with that money created the most jobs possible. The research revealed that most states failed to invest in projects that create the most jobs per dollar: namely, public transportation and road repair and maintenance. Money spent on paving new roads, by contrast, creates fewer jobs per dollar spent, making it a worse value for the government’s money.
The mounting criticism of states’ use of their stimulus funds is coming from people who want to see the U.S. economy recover quickly and effectively. Investing in public projects that create jobs in the short term and economic sustainability in the long term – as public transportation and road repair do – is one of the best ways to do that. As former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening explains in an editorial in The Hill:
Past decisions about transportation spending are detours, not dead ends. While the golden opportunity of ARRA funding has passed, state and federal governments can learn the lessons of ARRA and meet President Obama’s challenge to do what is best for the economy.
Tanya Snyder at Streetsblog highlights the point that states have to make smarter investment decisions if they want to see results:
In just the last month, several reports have quantified…how investing in transportation infrastructure pays off in jobs and economic health. Now Smart Growth America is out with new research showing that it’s not enough to plunk down a bunch of money and expect miracles. You’ve got to do it right.
Megan Owens, spokeswoman for Transportation Riders United explained to The Detroit News that even though Michigan doesn’t spend that much on new roads, the state’s public transportation spending doesn’t even come close:
“We can do a better job of spending on public transportation, especially when you see that SMART and DDOT are looking at cutbacks…We spent as much on widening a few miles of M-59 in Oakland County as we did for all of public transportation in southeastern Michigan.”
A new report out today from Smart Growth America analyzes how all 50 states invested their flexible transportation funds from 2009’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The report examines what projects each state used its funds for, and whether those projects created as many jobs as possible.
Transportation projects create jobs in the short term but can also create the foundation for a stronger economy in the long term – particularly if those projects repair existing roadways or create public transportation options. As Newsweek’s David A. Graham explains:
It’s not enough just to inject money into infrastructure, because not all transportation funding is created equal—or at least, it doesn’t create jobs at an equal rate. As any infrastructure policy wonk can tell you, money spent on fixing up existing systems or building mass transit delivers more jobs, and faster, than building new highways.
Smart Growth America’s new report found that many states didn’t invest their funds this way and in doing so missed a significant opportunity to create more jobs. As a companion to that report, Smart Growth America has released state-specific recommendations for states looking for ways to improve their transportation investments.