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News & Notes

→ GoLocalProv: Guest MINDSETTER™ Aaron M. Renn: My First Impressions of Rhode Island

Thinking about it this way, the basic problem of Providence (and by extension the rest of Rhode Island) becomes obvious: it is a small city, without an above average talent pool or assets, but with high costs and business-unfriendly regulation. Thus Providence will neither be competitive with elite talent centers like Boston, nor with smaller city peers like Nashville that are low cost and nearly “anything goes” from a regulatory perspective. There’s little prospect of materially changing either the talent/asset mix or the cost structure in the near term even if there was consensus to do so, which there isn’t. So expect struggles to continue, even if there’s a bit of lift from a change in national macroeconomic conditions.


→ DC Streetsblog: Will Massachusetts Tax Parking Lots to Fund Transit?

Here’s a transportation funding idea that aligns incentives nicely: taxing parking lots to pay for transit.

That’s what one former high-ranking state official is proposing for Massachusetts, ahead of a big announcement by the state Department of Transportation. Earlier this week Governing Magazine looked at the parking lot tax plan, part of a series of policy recommendations laid out by former Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary James Aloisi.


→ The Atlantic Cities: America Is a Walking Disaster

In much of America, walking – that most basic and human method of movement, and the one most important to our health – is all but impossible. Maybe not literally impossible, but inconvenient at best, and tragically dangerous way too often.


→ DC Streetsblog: Pro-Bike Republican Tom Petri to Chair Key House Transpo Panel

The Republican co-chair of the Congressional Bicycling Caucus is getting a leadership position with some real gravitas. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) was just named the new chair of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee in the House — the epicenter of the chamber’s surface transportation legislation.

The list of Republicans who support active transportation is pretty short these days, and Petri is at the top of it. He’s a frequent speaker at the National Bike Summit and similar gatherings.


→ Governing: Top Reasons People Stop Using Public Transit

Some studies show that transit riders value consistent travel times even more than shorter travel times, making reliability an especially important issue for agencies to consider if they want to retain customers.


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5 Responses to News & Notes

  1. Jen Coleslaw January 17, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    As someone who moved from one awesome place to a much less awesome place, I find that I haven’t made too many friends by starting off with “I’m a carpetbagger” and “you’re doing it all wrong.” But good luck to Aaron!

  2. Tony P January 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    On the Walking Disaster piece I have to say this. In RI the urban area is for the most part very walkable. But once you get past Cranston, RI things get dicey. In Warwick you’re less likely to find sidewalks and once you get towards East Greenwich or North Kingstown, that is entirely car culture.

    It’s the suburbs, that’s what screwed everything up.

  3. Jack January 22, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    We all hear about how RI has a “business-unfriendly” reputation.

    Besides taxes, can anyone shed light on what these unfriendly conditions/regulations for businesses are? Not sure what exactly contributes to that reputation as people always cite the unfriendly environment but never really elaborate on what causes it.

  4. RunawayJim January 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I know in Providence it’s the confusing zoning laws.

  5. Jen Coleslaw January 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    I have heard from friends who have opened shops and businesses and they complain universally about the permitting and licensing process.

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