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News & Notes

Would $12,000 Convince You To Move Closer To Work? [Fast Company]

How much cash would it take to get you to move closer to your work? For the purposes of this exercise, imagine that your work is in one of the more, shall we say, unsavory parts of Washington, D.C. and you live in a nice, quaint suburb in Virginia. Would you accept $12,000? Washington, D.C.’s Office Of Planning thinks you might–so the organization is launching a pilot program that will match employer contributions of up to $6,000 to convince people to move closer to their work or public transit.


A mighty role in downtown Worcester [Boston.com]

WORCESTER – Stand on one side of tiny, wedge-shaped Federal Square, on the southern edge of this city’s downtown, and the perspective is gleaming. What once was a boarded-up multiplex is now the glassy facade of the restored Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, a venue for touring Broadway shows that draws audiences from all over fast-growing Worcester County.

Stand on another side of the square, and the pawnshop that doubles as a check-cashing emporium is difficult to miss, while empty storefronts are easy to see. Then again, the dive bar is gone now, replaced by an establishment that serves craft beers. Apartments a few doors down from the theater are being rehabbed. A couple of small restaurants have popped up.


The Rejected Windfall [The New York Times]

The difference between states that want better infrastructure and those that do not is likely to grow in coming years. Some states will accept federal aid and tax themselves to pay for better trains, upgraded roads and bridges, and effective water systems. Others will not.


Federal ‘Complete Streets’ legislation introduced [New Urban Network]

Rep. Doris Matsui, a Sacramento Democrat, and Steven LaTourette, a Republican from the northeast corner of Ohio, have introduced the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2011 – a bill that would put federal muscle behind the growing campaign for accommodating the needs pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users as well as motorists.

The legislation “would require each state’s department of transportation and metropolitan planning organization to put in place a Complete Streets policy that ensures all Federally-funded transportation projects accommodate the safety and convenience of all users,” the Sacramento Press reported.


Ray LaHood: A driving force in White House [Politico]

When President-elect Barack Obama named Ray LaHood to his Cabinet shortly after the 2008 election, it was clear the former Republican congressman from Illinois had a clear upside for the White House: bipartisan credentials for a Democratic administration, strong GOP relationships from 14 years in office and formidable political skills honed during three decades working on Capitol Hill, even if he had little formal experience handling transportation issues.

In most presidential Cabinets, a low profile is a fact of life for heads of second-tier departments such as the Department of Transportation, and the Obama administration doesn’t seem to be the exception. Few people outside Washington could name Hilda Solis as labor secretary, find Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a group photograph or identify Energy Secretary Steven Chu | a Nobel laureate.

But LaHood has become a highly visible point man for crises ranging from runaway Toyotas to air-traffic controllers caught napping on the job | and he successfully managed $48 billion in stimulus money for rail, airport and highway upgrades.

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One Response to News & Notes

  1. Tom May 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    For a few years, Montreal has been paying families up to $12,500 for buying a home or condo in the city, if you have at least one child. I think it’s been labeled a success, but I haven’t seen any numbers or anything.

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