Smart growth news – February 1, 2012

National News:

Transportation bill throws bones to GOP base
Politico – January 31, 2012

No earmarks, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, cutting Amtrak’s budget, forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and ending mandatory spending on bicycle and pedestrian paths — what’s a diehard Republican not to like?

LaHood announces fourth-round funding of TIGER program
Jacksonville Business Journal – January 31, 2012

The next round of TIGER funding, called TIGER 2012, will make $500 million available for surface transportation projects having a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area or region.

Obama to Detail Housing Refinance Plan
Time – February 1, 2012

Obama on Wednesday was to draw attention to a proposal he outlined in his State of the Union address to allow homeowners with privately held mortgages to take advantage of record low rates, for an annual savings of about $3,000 for the average borrower. Obama was detailing his plan during a visit to a northern Virginia community center.

Chart of the Day: A Nation of Renters
The Atlantic Cities – January 31, 2012

Renting is on the rise – the number of housing units occupied by renters rose by 749,000 in the last quarter of 2011, according to the Commerce Department. According to this graphic, renters have surpassed buyers. Home ownership rates are also falling, at its lowest level since 1998.

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Smart growth news – January 31, 2012

Train in Vain
Slate – January 27, 2012

The idiotic Department of Transportation rule that’s hobbled America’s mass transit—and the wonderful regulation that may soon replace it.

What Pictures Can Teach Us About Walkability
The Atlantic Cities – January 30, 2012

I’m not sure there is any one word that describes my concept of a sustainable community place more than walkability. At least when it comes to describing the physical aspects of a place. Is it safe, comfortable, and enjoyable to walk in? Does it have an abundance of places to walk to and from? Is it human-scaled? If the answer is yes, chances are that it also has many of the characteristics that smart growth and urbanist planners strive to achieve: density, mixed uses, connectivity, appropriate traffic management, street frontages, opportunity for physical activity, and so on.

House Republicans to unveil transportation bill
Washington Post – January 30, 2012

Spreading about $260 billion over a five-year span, the House proposal would continue to fund transportation programs at close to current levels.

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