Archive: Jan 2015

  1. Leading from the Left Coast, Once Again

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    Happy New Year and enjoy the extra $550.  That’s the amount the average American stands to save in 2015 from falling gas prices.  What’s not to like about that? Crumbling roads and bridges, for one.  Our lead story examines the recurring drama of the National Highway Trust Fund and how we might restructure our major infrastructure funding source to better reflect our environmental and equity values.  As usual we look to good ideas from the states to shame our gridlocked Congress. While we ponder the best way to raise money for infrastructure, let’s also enjoy an extraordinary moment in California history. Last week our Governor started a fourth term by proposing that within 15 years we increase our share of electricity derived from renewable sources to 50%, reduce our use of petroleum in cars and trucks by 50%, and that we double the efficiency of our existing buildings.  And then he proposed huge spending increases for all levels of education in his budget a few days later. That’s a bold vision for the future.  Time for Congress to follow.

    Sincerely,

    Cecilia V. Estolano, Jennifer LeSar, Katherine A. Perez-Estolano

  2. Investing in California’s Safety Net

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    Although the California economy continued its rebound in 2014, the Golden State’s economic upswing has been uneven. High unemployment still persists in significant portions of the state, and salaries for low- and mid-wage workers have not managed to keep pace with inflation [PDF]. While the Governor’s budget aims to address these inequities, in part, by increasing and reallocating investments in K-12 education and by bolstering the state’s community college system, it may also be time to reevaluate the state’s role in sustaining a strong social safety net. As we move toward environmental, public education, and higher education policies that aim to address issues of social inequity, anti-poverty advocates have argued that we should also look at how restoring funding for anti-poverty programs to pre-recession levels can help ensure that all California families can participate in our growing economy. (more…)

  3. Is Reshoring Here to Stay?

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    Image from Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bisgovuk/7158078668/in/photostream/

    Image from Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bisgovuk/7158078668/in/photostream/

    As the manufacturing sector in the U.S. continues to grow, there has been much talk about companies’ efforts to repatriate jobs that were sent offshore. As global economic conditions continue to make producing abroad less competitive in some contexts, policymakers and politicians are trying to lay the groundwork to attract manufacturers looking to return to the states.. But while the number of companies that have chosen to move some (or all) of their operations back to the U.S. has grown, the cumulative effect on the economy thus far is negligible. So is reshoring a temporary anomaly brought on by an evolving global market, or is this a long-term trend? And what does this all mean for an expanding U.S. manufacturing sector? (more…)

  4. Time to Ditch the Highway Trust Fund

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    In what has become the norm for transportation finance in the U.S., the national Highway Trust Fund is once again on the brink of insolvency. Everyone acknowledges that the federal gas tax meant to finance transportation infrastructure – and left unchanged since 1993 – can’t keep up with the country’s growing transport needs. And while low gas prices have state and national politicians mulling an oft-contemplated (but rarely successful) attempt to raise fuel taxes, it may be time to consider a completely different tactic. In the face of dwindling fuel tax revenue, state governments are trying new approaches to finance transportation improvements. Can these state experiments transform transportation at the national level? (more…)

  5. New Pedestrian Bridge in the Works for LA River

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    With the first phase of Glendale’s aptly named Riverwalk project complete, designers, planners, and the public are now weighing options for a bike and pedestrian bridge that will span the LA River. The structure will span one of three potential locations in the seven-mile long Glendale Narrows. (more…)

  6. New Greenhouse Gas Inventory Standard for Cities

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    During last month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru the World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities Climate Change Leadership Group (C40), and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) launched a new standardized methodology for cities to track their greenhouse gas emissions, the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). (more…)