David Jackson

After Justin Bieber’s calumny against Tacoma this week, the Puget Sound could use some props. And here to deliver, of all things, is a public service announcement for transit and train safety in the form of a beautifully filmed music video by Seattle’s Blue Scholars for Sound Transit, the Puget Sound's regional transit agency.   Check it: 

Between the debt crisis in the Eurozone, the sluggish U.S. recovery, and the after effects of the Japanese earthquake, 2011 was a tough year for many of the traditionally robust regions that drive national economies. But not all. The Metropolitan Policy Program’s new Global MetroMonitor, a study of economic growth in the world’s 200 largest metropolitan economies, reveals that some metro areas grew quite rapidly last year. They were almost all, however, located in developing regions of Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

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A few things from around the Web: We have a payroll tax relief deal as of this morning. My colleague Kenan Fikri analyzed which places would be hurt most if the tax were to go up in January. The giant Columbia River Crossing bridge project for a new I-5 and transit span across the Columbia River contains “one of the first quantitative greenhouse gas analyses ever done at the project level.” Finally, in Aberdeen, Wash. One man’s effort to help the employees of a shuttered diner has resulted in job offers.

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The Washington Metro Board was discussing station names changes this morning. On the agenda:  items like changing Navy Yard-to Navy Yard-Ballpark station and adding Old Town to the King Street station name in Alexandria. Though seemingly innocuous, these debates can be surprisingly contentious.

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More than ten years since Seattle’s Nisqually earthquake, some demolition has begun on the waterfront highway weakened by the temblor.

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The Washington City Paper’s annual beer issue hits the streets today and they have done the region a valuable service:  exploring the high cost of good beer. It’s a good look under the hood look at the costs from kettle to barstool, exploring the inputs and overhead incurred by brewers, distributors, and retailers. The costs that lead that lead to $8 pints. Big culprits, of course, are the high real estate costs of D.C., city taxes, and combative neighbors with liquor license veto powers.  Healthy demand also plays a big role.

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When it comes to federal outlays to states for transportation funding, all 50 (plus the District of Columbia) are all above average. That is they all receive more than one dollar of federal funding for every dollar of gas tax they contribute, according to a new GAO report. That’s made possible by the backfilling of the Highway Trust Fund with general revenues to make up for declining gas tax revenues. In the current budget environment, that arrangement is unsustainable. However, over at the Post, Brad Plumer notes that the elimination of the doner state vs.

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Knowledge may be power, but Seattle leaders are hoping that, at least for buildings, knowledge is less power. Under a new city ordinance that takes effect this month, all buildings over 10,000 square feet--both commercial and multifamily residential--must report their annual energy usage to the city. The goal is to create a baseline for energy efficiency investment decisions as well as to inform buyers and tenants of building energy costs.  The information may also be used to develop future city incentives.

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A Traffic Congestion PSA

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported on its Metro front page that the “D.C. area is No. 1 nationwide in traffic congestion, study says.” As we noted last year, this is most assuredly false. The annual Texas Transportation Institute study, housed at Texas A&M University, measures travel times at rush hour across the nation’s large metro areas.

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Today in Miscellany

Ryan Avent’s new e-book, “The Gated City” is churning through the metro-oriented blogs.  Rob Pitingolo of Greater Greater Washington has one of the more interesting critiques. Speaking of the metro blog space, the Atlantic launched its “Atlantic Cities” site last week. Check Bruce Katz’ big picture essay on the “metropolitan moment.” The New York Times continues its torrid love affair with the “City of Roses” with this piece on Portland’s “bicycle-supported” development, both commercial and residential. Get a room, you two.

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