Ideas for creating better DOTs at Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2013

How can state departments of transportation (DOTs) cut costs while creating better transportation choices and creating quality jobs?

That’s what Smart Growth America’s Vice President Roger Millar will discuss at this year’s Good Jobs Green Jobs conference, on April 16, 2013 in Washington D.C. Joining Millar for a panel discussion called “Not Your Father’s DOT” will be Eric Sundquist, Managing Director, Smart State Transportation Initiative and Douglas Shinkle, Senior Policy Specialist, National Conference of State Legislatures.

Many state DOTs face falling revenues but rising demand for services. In response to these challenges, DOTs across the country are changing the way they do business. Agencies are taking new approaches to transportation that fit the unique demands of their states and that provide greater benefits at less cost. They are improving existing services in the short term and planning effectively for the long term. They are adopting innovative yet pragmatic reforms. They are reevaluating and retooling traditional practices to ensure that those practices continue to provide users with a robust, economically beneficial transportation network.

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Smart growth news – June 10, 2011

‘Smart growth,’ water savings are linked
El Paso Times (Texas), June 6, 2011
Higher-density “smart growth” neighborhoods located in the right places could delay by decades an expensive plan to pump water to El Paso from other parts of Texas, the city’s top water official said Wednesday. “It’s not a matter of water supply; it’s a matter of infrastructure,” Ed Archuleta, El Paso Water Utilities president and chief executive officer, told members of the Public Service Board at their Wednesday meeting.

Chelmsford hosting Smart Growth seminar
Wicked Local Chelmsford (Mass.), June 9, 2011
It’s easy to be confused by the economic terms bandied about, particularly “growth” and “development” – but wonder no more. These words and others will be explained at an event starting Thursday, June 16 at the Chelmsford Senior Center. The economic development consultant Smart Growth America will hold a presentation on sustainable growth practices, especially as suggested in the Chelmsford Master Plan, from 7 to 9 p.m. A full-day workshop will take place the following Friday.

Trumka speaks to Chamber board directors
The Hill, June 8, 2011
On Wednesday morning, Trumka told a closed meeting of the Chamber’s board that the country needs to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure. The push for more spending on roads, bridges and highways has become a common cause this year for the labor federation and the business group. Trumka and Tom Donohue, the Chamber’s president and CEO, have made several joint appearances together, including testifying together before Congress.

Community uniting to reverse sprawl trend in Winston-Salem
Yes! Weekly (NC), June 8, 2011
On June 2, around 75 people attended Smart Growth vs. Urban Sprawl, an event at Temple Emanuel designed to highlight both the negative aspects of sprawl and a number of alternatives through video, guest speakers and song. Joines and Bennett were two of the guest speakers, along with Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn of the temple, Russ Dubois of the Creative Corridors Coalition and Judy Hunt, one of the city’s principal planners.

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Detroit business owner: "It is almost impossible to recruit to Michigan"

Andrew Basile, Jr., a patent lawyer in metro Detroit, is fed up with Michigan’s sprawl. More specifically, he’s fed up with Michigan’s ongoing loss of talented workers who are leaving the state in the thousands. Basile’s law firm has been directly affected by the trend, hard pressed to find employees locally and unable to entice qualified workers from other places to move to Michigan. And in a letter to Michigan Future published on Streetsblog earlier this week, Basile explains why he believes this is happening: “People – particularly affluent and educated people – just don’t want to live here.”

Basile correlates his law firm’s labor shortages with Detroit’s “poor ‘quality of place,'” a term he uses to describe the area’s spread out development patterns. He points to a lack of transportation choices and missed opportunities to invest in downtowns as reasons, at least in part, why so many Detroiters have left the area. As Basile describes his frustration with Michigan’s failure to innovate and the toll it takes on his business, it’s hard not to sympathize with him:

I noted sadly the other day that the entire Oakland Country government complex was built in a field five miles outside of downtown Pontiac. I find that decision shocking. What a wasted opportunity for maintaining a viable downtown Pontiac, not to mention the open space now consumed by the existing complex.

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Good Jobs, Green Jobs on the benefits sustainable communities bring to jobs and economies

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.”

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Photo by Keith Mellnick/Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference

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.

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