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May 2014

Why the Senate Transportation Bill Will Devastate Transit

Tanya Snyder | StreetsBlog USA

Transit officials lined up today to make clear that holding transit spending at current levels — as the Senate’s transportation authorization bill does — will put transit systems at risk of falling further into dangerous disrepair.

The backlog for transit maintenance and replacement stands “conservatively” at $86 billion, according to the Federal Transit Administration. That backlog is expected to keep growing at a rate of $2.5 billion each year without a significant infusion of funds.

To put it another way, the country needs to spend $2.5 billion more per year – from federal, state and local sources – just to keep the state of the nation’s transit systems from getting even worse. Read more

Minneapolis mulling extra $3.5 million for Nicollet Mall project

Eric Roper | Star Tribune

After receiving just below what they sought at the Legislature to renovate Nicollet Mall, city leaders are mulling whether to contribute $3.5 million to the project in order to leverage promised private dollars.

The overhaul of Minneapolis’ signature street is expected to cost $50 million. The Downtown Council has said it is prepared to match up to $25 million, but the Legislature awarded the project $21.5 million in the final bonding bill.

“Since we got something less than $25 [million], we’re talking now about what we might do so as not to leave money on the table, if you will,” said David Frank, the city’s director of transit-oriented development. Read more

High-speed rail to give passing bump to Florida economy

Dave Berman | FloridaToday.com

The company seeking to start high-speed passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami claims its project of adding and upgrading rail lines would generate a significant short-term boost in terms of jobs and economic impact in Brevard County.

Long-term, though, the impact would be minimal because All Aboard Florida’s trains would pass through Brevard, but not stop here.

During the next two years, as new track is built between Orlando and Cocoa, the study consultants estimated it would generate 704 direct and 740 spinoff jobs within Brevard.

All Aboard Florida on Wednesday released an economic impact study that found that those jobs would have a payroll of $80.9 million a year. Read more

Newark: Plan to convert business’ land into park stalls approval of housing project

Chris De Benedetti | The Argus

In late March, Trumark Homes’ plan to build nearly 250 houses had just one more hurdle to clear for city approval.

Two months later, that final step has stalled, as ongoing talks between the developer, Newark leaders, and a business in the middle of the project site have yet to yield an agreement.

The problem?

Gallade Chemical, a Newark company that supplies chemicals to high-tech businesses, owns land that the city wants to convert to a two-acre park. And Gallade has not yet agreed to sell its property to make way for the park, which is part of Trumark’s plan to build 244 single-family homes on nearly 24 acres around the intersection of Enterprise Drive and Willow Street. Read more

The 7 Year History of Santa Monica’s Most Controversial Development

Bianca Barragan | LA Curbed

In February, the Santa Monica City Council approved the huge Bergamot Transit Village multi-use development for a site in the Bergamot Arts District near a future stop on the Expo Line extension. Two days ago, following a massive NIMBY protest that managed to get the project on to a future ballot for a public referendum, they unapproved it. Now it’s back to the drawing board for developer Hines, which has been working on this project since 2007. This may be one of the most controversial projects in a city known for development controversy. We’ve traced its sordid history: Read more

Turning the Twin Cities Into Sim City

Katherine Kersten | Wall Street Journal

Minneapolis: Here in the Twin Cities, a handful of unelected bureaucrats are gearing up to impose their vision of the ideal society on the nearly three million residents of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region. According to the urban planners on the city’s Metropolitan Council, far too many people live in single family homes, have neighbors with similar incomes and skin color, and contribute to climate change by driving to work. They intend to change all that with a 30-year master plan called “Thrive MSP 2040.”

The Met Council, as it’s known here, was founded in the 1960s to coordinate regional infrastructure—in essence, to make sure that sewers and roads meet up. Over the years, its power to allocate funds and control planning has expanded. Now, under Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton—who appointed all 17 current members—the council intends to play Sim City with residents’ lives. Read more

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