Greater City Providence

News & Notes

USDOT Fast Lane Blog: Budget reflects central role of transportation in the lives of Americans, in the vitality of our nation’s economy

It has been more than two years and four months since America’s transportation funding expired. Congress has extended the law with short-term patches eight different times. But, with bridges crumbling and highways choked with congestion, our nation needs the planning certainty that comes from a long-term transportation bill, a bill that puts people back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, transit systems, and airports.

So today, President Obama outlined a six-year surface transportation proposal-part of his blueprint for an America built to last. The transportation budget the President proposed has three broad goals:

  • Creating jobs and investing in infrastructure for our future;
  • Modernizing transportation through focused research and technology; and
  • Pressing forward on our number one priority–safety.

The Atlantic Cities: Why In-Town Big Box Stores Might Not Be As Awful As You Think

City-dwellers love to rag on big box stores. They’re large and ugly and kind of dehumanizing. They require vast seas of surface parking. They sell the antithesis of the idealized urban shopping experience, in which a shopper on foot might hit multiple locally owned specialty shops for her hardware, her art supplies and her bubble bath.

What’s there to possibly like about the big-box alternative?

Well, here is one factor urban critics may not have considered: What if in-town big box stores encourage people to drive less?

Bloomberg: Harvard’s Voluntary Tax Spurs Providence to Press Brown

Brown University, the Ivy League school whose endowment grew to $2.5 billion last year, may boost voluntary tax payments to Providence, Rhode Island, after the city said it was nearing bankruptcy.

Providence is seeking to emulate Boston, which is on pace to raise collections in lieu of taxes from Harvard University and other institutions by 25 percent to about $19 million this year, city documents show. Mayor Thomas M. Menino is trying to double the number of schools, hospitals and cultural institutions that pay by pressing more than 20 that gave nothing last year.

Next American City: What Transit Advocates Could Learn from SOPA

The Stop Online Piracy Act was a bill with bipartisan support introduced into Congress in October 2011. What seemed like a well-meaning attempt “to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property” was later deemed a major threat to the Internet community. By January 18, 2012 major Internet organizations such Wikipedia, Reddit and 7,000 smaller sites lobbied the public (and legislators) to stop SOPA and created a one-day black-out of their content. SOPA died an early death.

I asked friends what the transportation advocacy movement could learn from this incredibly successful campaign to defeat a piece of legislation. Many said “nothing,” others said, “good question,” but one person said “create something that hundreds of millions of people use every day.” That struck me as funny.

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