EPA announces plan to abandon Kansas City – at the cost of the city and taxpayers

Crossposted from the Huffington Post.

To avoid small costs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be creating big costs for everyone, including the federal government.

The EPA announced on Monday that it plans to move the Agency’s Region 7 headquarters, currently located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, to Lenexa, a site nearly 20 miles outside of downtown. The EPA’s decision violates Executive Order 13514, which requires federal agencies to locate their offices in downtown areas and town centers whenever possible. Not following the Executive Order will cost a lot of money for everyone — including Kansas City and its businesses, EPA employees and U.S. taxpayers too.

As one of Kansas City’s major employers, EPA’s decision hurts the city, which has made great strides in the last decade to revitalize its downtown. “The EPA regional headquarters has been instrumental in our urban revitalization efforts,” Mayor Joe Reardon said in a statement on Monday, and the value of such an employer’s presence in a city’s revitalization efforts goes beyond their immediate impact. The EPA headquarters helped anchor renewed economic development in an area that had seen decades of decline, and the Agency’s decision undermines efforts to build a stronger economy in Kansas City.

The relocation will also mean increased traffic on I-35 and the higher maintenance costs associated with additional cars on the road. The Town of Lenexa projects I-35 to capacity by 2020, just 7 years into GSA’s 20-year lease. The EPA’s move will only hasten the arrival of that saturation point, creating costly delays or requiring even more (federal) money to improve conditions.

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SGA news clips, April 15, 2011

City, Others to Work on Transit-Hub Development
Wall Street Journal, 4/15/11
New York City will work with several other local governments to revitalize areas around underdeveloped transit hubs, officials announced Thursday. The plans include adding housing and commercial space along commuter rail lines to encourage more public transportation use and to curtail sprawl. The city will join Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and four cities in Connecticut in the bi-state collaboration.

Highway Funding Is at Risk

Wall Street Journal, 4/14/11
Congress may have to consider a smaller highway-funding bill than initially planned because of a steep drop in revenue from the federal gasoline tax, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said Thursday. The Montana Democrat, speaking at a hearing on highway funding, said lawmakers may have to draft a funding bill covering two years instead of six, which effectively would freeze highway-construction funding at existing levels or lead to a decline.

Decision to move EPA offices from KCK to Lenexa seems flawed
Kansas City Star, 4/11/11
When it comes to thinking green, the federal government may be missing the forest for the trees — at least concerning the relocation of the Environmental Protection Agency from downtown Kansas City, Kan., to suburban Lenexa.

Campaign aims to get Southwest Florida biking, carpooling and using public transportation
The News-Press (Fla.), 4/13/11
In an effort to get more people biking, carpooling and using public transportation, Fort Myers, Lee County and the Florida Department of Transportation are launching a campaign that starts today, and spans through Earth Week, ending April 23. The “Taking it to the Streets” campaign encourages employers, community leaders, students, teams and individuals to participate in activities such as organizing or joining a bike club, carpooling to work, organizing transportation competitions and more.

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Quick Takes: Mid-October Complete Streets Talk Across the Country

This week’s round-up of Complete Streets talk across the country, from the first inklings of policy development in New Hope, Minnesota to an article in Albany, New York’s Times Union on how Complete Streets are part of comprehensive cancer prevention strategy. [Continue Reading “Quick Takes: Mid-October…”]

Complete Streets