Metro Policy

This summer’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) report on government subsidies to oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables in 2010 is causing quite a stir in energy circles. The report finds that U.S. energy subsidies more than doubled from $17.9 billion in 2007 to $37.2 billion in 2010, with all sectors seeing an increase in government subsidy.

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Of Note

Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has created an Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives to focus on city and regional economic development activities. The office is a partnership with the state funded by the Council of Michigan Foundations, a consortium including the Kresge Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Mott Foundation. Program office will be located in Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids. Another map-based transit app has debuted. Unlike our recent transit-job access tool, Mapnificent computes transit access by timeframe.

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As the debt deal makes starkly clear, the Washington paralysis that has prevented serious action on critical fronts like energy policy and climate change is about to engender a new era of programmatic gutting. Which means the country’s policy laboratories--the states, cities, and, importantly, its metro areas--are going to have to step up to the plate and build the next economy region by region. And in small but meaningful ways, they already are. Take the commercial building sector.

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Rising poverty and persistent unemployment have become as prominent in suburbs as in cities over the past decade.

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To what extent can state governments play a role in accelerating cleantech innovation?

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The FAA furloughs continue … and I can’t help but get fired up by the Essential Air Service (EAS) portion of the equation. Again, we’re talking about a 2,300-seat program as a major reason 4,000 federal employees are currently missing paychecks. While we all continue to wait for Congress to do something, here are some examples of the program’s inefficiencies. On the positive side we have service to Crescent City, Calif. Positioned near the border with Oregon, this picturesque town was named after the idyllic crescent shape of the town’s beach. Or at least so-says Wikipedia.

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In addition to being a highly effective poverty reduction tool, the Earned Income Tax Credit has been found to have a slew of other positive effects on recipients and their families. And in a decade that kicked off with an economic downturn and saw incomes stagnate and decline through a jobless recovery, the EITC tracked well with changes in a growing low-income population, bringing an economic boost into struggling communities at tax time.  But questions remain about how effective the EITC is in a downturn as steep as the one we’ve just experienced, as unemployment rises and it takes longer f

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With the debt ceiling debate rising to must-see-TV status, the national public is left to wonder about day-to-day impacts. What really happens if we shutdown government programs to pay off prior debts? Well, stalled FAA negotiations in Congress give us a current example--and the results aren’t pretty. A quick recap. While the surface transportation legislation’s seven extensions get more media attention, the aviation legislation is already on its mind-boggling 21st extension.

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A national policy for freight--one that recognizes the multi-modal and increasingly globalized nature of goods movement and accordingly directs federal spending based on rigorous and defensible criteria--is one of those classic goo-goo initiatives that everyone seems to want, but isn’t sexy enough to make it past the “Hey, that’s a good idea!” stage. Twice in the past year, Sens.

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with Louis Liss Delta is cutting service to 24 small town airports in the south, upper Midwest, and plains. You probably haven’t heard of any of them, but not because hip people are living there converting warehouses into lofts. Rather, these are extremely small towns and cities outside of the 100 largest metro areas where the airline says it can no longer afford to operate connecting service to larger hubs.

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