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Is Smart Growth a United Nations plot to subvert local control and create a world government? Photo (cc) Ashitakka.

News & Notes Agenda 21 and other wacky theories [New Urban Network]

Anti-smart growth ideologues have never shied away from half-truths and dubious arguments, but recent references to Agenda 21, Portland, Detroit, and Denver are unusually strange.

This article co-authored by Wendell Cox and Ronald Utt focuses on the United Nation’s Agenda 21, adopted in 1992, and its supposed connection to the smart growth movement. I guess the point is that if the UN issues a proclamation – in this case in favor of sustainable development – then any related activity must be part of some kind of world-government plot. The UN is also in favor of economic growth, peace, diplomatic relations, and education, and for programs that fight hunger, disease, and tooth decay.

See also: How the Tea Party Is Upending Urban Planning [The Atlantic Cities]


Lawmaker’s high-speed rail plan: Will it fly? [CNN]

How fast can high-speed trains come to the Northeast corridor? Not fast enough for Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida.

The chairman of the House Transportation Committee recently came out with a proposal to create a high-speed rail line – trains that can travel more than 200 mph – between Boston and D.C. in 10 to 15 years. Can it be done in half the time Amtrak said it would take?


Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Safe Streets Amendment [National Complete Streets Coalition]

In a major step forward for Complete Streets, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed a federal transportation authorization bill that includes a measure for the safe accommodation of all users in federally-funded street projects.

Alaska Senator Mark Begich offered the amendment that established this measure and accepted an amendment from Senator John Thune of South Dakota. The Committee voted unanimously in favor of the measure.

The amendments modified S. 1950, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, which is one of the Commerce Committee’s contributions to the overall reauthorization package.

With this measure in place, the proposed bill now directs the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to create standards for the safe accommodation of all road users and allows the Secretary to waive the standards for states that have their own policies.


DOT takes “We Can’t Wait” to heart; TIGER III projects announced ahead of schedule [USDOT Fast Lane]

Federal TIGER III transportation grants announced, Rhode Island left out.


What Does Globalization Mean to Non-Global Cities? [The Urbanophile]

To anyplace that considers itself a “global city” – New York, Chicago, etc – globalization and global competitive reality are the defining lens through which they see their present and future. I happen to think that with the exception of a handful of the most exceptional cities, this is to some extent unhealthy. These cities take too narrow a view. Yet clearly there is an aspect of this global city thing that’s very relevant to them.

But to those smaller places that aren’t global cities, globalization seems curiously absent from the radar.


Transit’s Not Bleeding the Taxpayer Dry – Roads Are [Streetsblog Capital Hill]

“Taxpayers cover costs that should be borne by road users,” asserts the State Smart Transportation Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Road subsidies push up tax rates, squeeze government services, and skew the market for transportation.”

Non-users fork over $779 per household for roads – as opposed to $50 for transit. But most drivers still believe that transit eats a huge chunk of transportation funding while roads are self-supporting. SSTI wanted to dispel that notion, said study author Bill Holloway.

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