My colleague Mark Muro discusses the oil spill and its implications for energy policy with Diana Lind of Next American City, including the near term prospects on investment in clean energy innovation and the legislative prospects for the next month. Worth a listen.
This past weekend’s “This American Life” had a powerful report out of Albany on New York state’s budget crisis. It featured a lengthy interview with Lieutenant Gov. Richard Ravitch, a veteran of the state’s, and New York City’s, budget morass of the 1970s. Also featured is a surprisingly sympathetic Gov.
Items worth reading from around the web: Comings and goings: Forbes magazine has a nifty online tool that shows county migration patterns based on IRS data. The numbers are from 2008, however, and don’t take into full account the migration stagnation that has occurred since the onset of the recession. One thing that probably remains true is the status of Texas as a migration magnet--click on Harris (Houston), Travis (Austin), and Dallas counties--due to its relatively decent economic performance over the last year.
With negotiations ongoing between the federal government and freight railroads over what the rules will be as states plan to implement high speed rail on their tracks, it worth looking comprehensively at the state of passenger service in the nation today and its operator, Amtrak. There is, after all, $8 billion in play. Fortunately, author James McCommons has tackled this task by spending a year riding Amtrak routes all across the country and interviewing the regulators, advocates, and businessmen who impact that service along the way. His book, Waiting on a Train, paints a bleak picture.
Stuff worth reading around the web… Interested in some of the research (and advocacy) behind the ubiquitous ads plumping freight rail? Go here. Blast from the (1970s) past? Arizona Interstate signage solely in metric. Can anyone say kalaka? UIC research says red light cameras increase accidents. Help wanted. The ever trenchant Elana Schor has left Streetsblog for Greenwire.
This Friday is Bike to Work Day in which bicycle commuters and their one-day companions get free coffee and other refreshments at various pit stops around their cities and regions. Seemingly in anticipation, this video from the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands has been making the rounds of the series of tubes in recent days. This is what a 33 percent mode share for bicycle commuters looks like.
Though Arizona may face multiple boycotts over its controversial new immigration law, filmmaker Richard Robert Rodriguez appears poised to cash in on the controversy. His new film Machete, set to release in September, tells the story of a Mexican ex-federale--called, as it happens, Machete (Danny Trejo)--set up in a failed plot to assassinate an anti-immigration U.S. senator (Robert DeNiro) to boost the popularity of his deportation efforts. The blades and bullets fly as Machete seeks vengeance on his double-crossers.
If a state gas tax is dedicated to “highway purposes,” can you build light rail on Interstate lanes presumably funded with said tax? We’ll find out in Washington state, where a prominent developer is suing the state over the question. At issue is whether the Puget Sound regional transportation agency can build light rail on the HOV express lanes of the Interstate 90 floating bridge over Lake Washington (yes, it floats and it sank once) in order to connect the job rich Eastside (Microsoft, Expedia, etc.) with Seattle proper and its scads of commuters both traditional and reverse. Under an amend
Some recent items across the transom worth reading: Aaron Renn on federal urban policy; Mary Newsom chronicles former mayors Manny Diaz and Greg Nickels' thoughts on the contentious relationship between cities and states; and The Portland Mercury examines the fits and starts of the Rose City's South Waterfront redevelopment--home of the really cool aerial tram. See also my colleague Bill Frey's analysis of Arizona's demographics as they relate to the state's new immigration law.
In which we, semi-regularly, highlight articles and resources of note: Can St. Louis compete? A Post-Dispatch series looks at the region’s challenges as the next economy emerges from recession. Witold Rybczynski examines private sector involvement in city building and finds it crucial for these constrained times. Conan might be off the air, but his former partner in feud, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, soldiers on as his city recorded its first calendar month without a homicide since 1966.