Archive: Mar 2012

  1. Show me the Money

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    Given our current economic climate, securing funds for long-range transportation projects has been a challenge for cities across the nation. Over the next decade, California’s transportation needs are projected to be funded at less than 50 percent[PDF]. Some governments have addressed the problem by turning to private entities that construct, operate, and maintain their transportation infrastructure. Similarly, the ever popular public-private partnership promises to lessen the burden on local government, but even that funding mechanism falls short. To help cover that gap, voters in several regions throughout the nation have chosen to tax themselves to provide a dedicated funding stream for transportation projects.While residents in some metro areas are paying more to fund public transportation projects, they’ve seen their personal transportation costs rise. Housing and transportation now rank among the highest household expenses. On average, the cost of housing and transportation make up about 57 percent of household income [PDF]. Many Americans have already adjusted their behaviors in response to these increasing costs. People are driving less, buying more fuel efficient cars, and moving closer to urban cores with better transportation options. But these improvements are incremental, and we need sustainable funding sources to foster integrated strategies that reduce personal transportation costs while maintaining (or improving) mobility.One option is to promote mixed-income housing around transit. For moderate- and low-income families that are particularly burdened by rising transportation and housing costs, living near transit is one way of potentially reducing those costs. (more…)

  2. How California’s Clean Tech Ecosystem is Coming Together

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    Image from the Danish Wind Industry Association: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45030669@N02/4136599974/

    Image from the Danish Wind Industry Association: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45030669@N02/4136599974/

    California is the nation’s undisputed leader in clean-tech investment and innovation. The state attracts about $2.8 billion in clean-tech venture capital, amounting to 57 percent of the $4.9 billion invested nationally. All of this is encouraging news for a nascent sector trying to establish itself in a weak economy. (more…)

  3. Filling the Gap in Innovative Ways

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    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping that public-private partnerships can save the city’s ailing infrastructure. He recently proposed the establishment of a Chicago Infrastructure Trust. The fund would act as a mechanism that would enable the city to leverage resources and find new forms of funding for public infrastructure projects. (more…)

  4. RDA Clean-Up Bill Advances

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    Many communities and public officials have been struggling for the last few months to sift through the upheaval caused by the dissolution of California’s 400 redevelopment agencies (“RDAs”).

    Currently, the Legislature is considering a variety of clean-up measures to assist local communities in smoothly winding down the obligations and assets of the redevelopment agencies. One such piece of legislation is Assembly Bill 1585 (Pérez), which makes a variety of technical and clarifying changes to the wind-down process. It also seeks to preserve approximately $2 billion for affordable housing by transferring outstanding unencumbered balances in the Low and Moderate Income Housing Fund (L&M) to local housing agencies. (more…)

  5. The Senate Passes its Transportation Bill. Your Move, House.

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    Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/question_everything/3392270666/sizes/z/in/photostream/

    Washington’s transportation bill saga continues. After months of heated debate, a lack of support for the House Transportation Bill has Speaker John Boehner looking for alternatives — and it looks like the options are running out. Conservative Republicans are unwilling to lend support to previous spending bills floated by the Obama administration and the Senate, and their proposed budget has faced opposition from liberal and conservative groups alike. (more…)