Policies that Work: A Governors’ Guide to Growth and Development

To effectively address the challenges posed by growth and development, states must put in place programs, policies and structures that allow them to see and respond to the “big picture” of statewide development patterns. State government needs to be structured in ways that foster collaborative policies and investments instead of inhibiting them. Many specific policies … Continued

Michigan legislature proposes improvements to Brownfields TIF program

The former Michigan Bell and Western Electric Warehouse is being rennovated to become a home for the Neighborhood Service Organization and 155 housing units for homeless individuals. The project is made possible by federal and state historic tax credits, federal brownfields tax credits and a 10-year tax abatement from the City of Detroit. Photo copyright by Michael G. Smith. Used with permission.

New legislation moving through the Michigan State Senate could make it easier for developers to clean up and rebuild on brownfields in the state.

Michigan’s Senate Bill 1210, an amendment to the state’s Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act (Act 381), is likely to see significant changes this year. If enacted, the bill would promote urban development throughout the state, reduce regulatory requirements, streamline the approval process. Here’s an overview of how.

New report: State transportation decisions could save money and reduce carbon emissions

Download the ReportA new report released today by Smart Growth America and the Natural Resources Defense Council found that transportation policies in every state could save money and reduce carbon emissions by making smarter decisions with state funds.

In “Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy,” SGA and NRDC found that current transportation policies in almost all 50 states either fail to curb carbon emission rates or, in some cases, actually increase emissions. This contradiction between state policies and broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions means not only that many states are missing opportunities to protect clean air; it means they are missing economic opportunities as well.

In a press conference this morning, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening remarked:

Transportation makes up an enormous proportion of our national economy and our environmental impact: it must be front and center as we think about how to get the most out of our public investments. The states that rose to the top in this report, California, Maryland and New Jersey, are there because they are meeting the challenge to innovate.

If The Onion covered last week’s TIGER 2 announcements

Kittery-Portsmouth Memorial Bridge, originally uploaded by cmh2315fl.

If The Onion were covering last week’s TIGER 2 announcements, the headline would be: “DOT to replace the deteriorating Kittery-Portsmouth Memorial Bridge; other 70,997 bridges out of luck.”

Serious policy analysts don’t talk like that, but in fact the US Department of Transportation rates 12 percent (71,000) of the nations’ bridges as “structurally deficient,” which means that a bridge has a major defect in its support structure or its deck is cracking and deteriorating.

TIGER 2 will repair of three (3) of them.

North Carolina passes Sustainable Communities Task Force legislation

The North Carolina General Assembly recently passed legislation establishing a Sustainable Communities Task Force within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. North Carolina is now the latest state to recognize the connections between cross-agency governance at the state level, coordination with stakeholders at the local level, and sustainable communities on the ground.

Press coverage of the 120 day transportation stimulus report

The report we released yesterday analyzing the first 120 days of transportation stimulus spending — with the help and leadership of many state partner groups — has been getting some good media coverage from coast to coast. Here’s a roundup of coverage from the first full day of the report release. Articles that have quotes … Continued

120 days in, SGA reviews the stimulus spending on transportation

Download the full report (1mb pdf) Within the $787 billion stimulus bill that became law in February, Congress provided states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) with $26.6 billion in flexible funds for transportation projects. Today marks 120 days from the apportionment of the funds to the states. The 120-day mark is significant because it is … Continued

We can put thousands back to work quickly and responsibly with smart transportation spending

Investing first in repair and maintenance can prevent another disaster like Minnesota’s I-35W bridge collapse. Tell your Governor to invest in the future with smart, proven, ready-to-go transportation spending. Creative Commons Flickr photo by Poppyseed Bandits. Earlier this week, we highlighted a new Smart Growth America report that details 20 proven and ready-to-go ways for … Continued

2008 at the Ballot Box: Continuing the Trend

The results of November’s Presidential election may have represented a change of direction for our country, but at least one trend at the ballot box remained unchanged from the past few elections: Taxpayers across the country again approved a bevy of ballot measures to conserve land, protect farmland, promote smart growth; and expand public transportation, … Continued