Gaming Housing Prices: Boise Bulls vs. Boston Bears
September 15, 2010

Which way are housing markets going? The recent national-level indicators have looked pretty bleak for housing bulls. Sales of new homes hit a record low in July. House prices in June topped their levels of a year ago but only, it seems, because of the now-expired federal homebuyer tax credits.  There’s a lively debate about whether housing prices will continue to fall, and David Leonhardt summarized the controversy nicely in his New York Times column last week. But this debate misses an important part of the story. Because housing markets are regional, not national, there may not be a single

A New Metro Map
May 10, 2010

Do you live in the “Rust Belt” or the “Sun Belt?” Are you a West Coaster, an East Coaster, or a resident of “flyover country?” Perhaps you’re a proud New Englander, Midwesterner, or Texan. More to the point, does any of that matter? (For the full-size map click here) Maybe not as much as you think. Our new report, the State of Metropolitan America, surveys the demographic landscape of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas over the 2000s. It finds that who metropolitan areas are is in many ways more important than where they are. In fact, my Brookings colleagues and I identify seven categ

What's Haley Barbour's Angle?
May 06, 2010

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] That's the first question you want to ask yourself any time you see something that makes little public-policy sense go down in Mississippi. The reason is that, as Brad Plumer and I documented in this piece several years ago, Barbour has never convincingly demonstrated that he severed ties to the lobbying firm he founded, Barbour, Griffith, & Rogers (BGR), when he became governor of Mississippi in 2004.

Iceland’s Volcanic Fury Hobbles Hubs
April 20, 2010

That the Icelandic volcano that has shut down much of Europe’s air travel has ripple effects around the globe is well known. A recent article in the New York Times quotes the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation saying: "The Ash Attack has already affected the travel plans of eight million passengers in Europe and around the world. The total cost for the aviation industry (airlines, airports, suppliers, freight operators, handlers, etc.) could be well over $2 billion." But what U.S. metros are impacted the most? Reports abound about delays from Chicago to Orlando and Miami.

Vegas: Signing Up For Change?
April 13, 2010

So I’ve just been in Las Vegas where Metro Program Director Bruce Katz gave a speech at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) on the next American economy and what might drive it in Southern Nevada. It was an interesting trip.   You might think, for example, that the program’s vision of a future American economy less dependent on consumption, more oriented to exports and innovation, and more focused on the fundamentals might not go down so well in Las Vegas. Southern Nevada in many respects represents the opposite of that outlook. Most notably, only Orlando among large U.S.

A Jobless Decade? Depends Where
March 17, 2010

The first decade of this century was a dud for job creation nationwide. With a weak recovery from the 2001 recession followed by the Great Recession, the nation as a whole gained almost no jobs during the decade (actually, there was a 0.3 percent increase). That made the aughts the first decade since the Great Depression without any substantial job growth. But as with so many national statistics, this national average hides enormous regional variation. And since, for most people, job markets are regional, this regional variation really matters for working people.

Rail Stimulus: Good Politics, But Don't Expect Bullet Trains
January 28, 2010

So the White House has finally announced the full list of where that $8 billion in stimulus money for high-speed rail is going. Here are the two big, headline-grabbing projects: * Florida will get $1.25 billion for a high-speed line between Tampa and Orlando, which is expected to cost about $3.5 billion all told. Read Adie Tomer's critical take on the Tampa-Orlando project below. * California will get $2.25 billion to help with a planned high-speed line between Anaheim and San Francisco.

High Speed Rail’s Gator Aid
January 28, 2010

Whispered in July, rumored in December, and nearly shouted earlier this week, today marks the official announcement of Florida’s high-speed rail investment by the federal government.

Will High-Speed Rail Funds Get Spread Too Thin?
January 27, 2010

So it looks like tomorrow, after the State of the Union, President Obama is planning to announce how the $8 billion in stimulus money for high-speed rail projects will get spent. As noted earlier, a line between Tampa Bay and Orlando will probably be the first lucky recipient, getting federal funds to supplant private investment. But what about the rest? According to Bloomberg, the Obama administration may end up distributing the funds far and wide—hitting 13 projects across 31 states in total, mostly for incremental improvements to existing lines. But is that spreading the money too thinly?

High-Speed Rail Comes To... Florida?
January 25, 2010

Whatever happened to all that stimulus money for high-speed rail? It's taken awhile to select projects, but as Streetsblog's Elana Schor reports, the first lucky recipient might finally get picked on Thursday. That's when Obama's expected to announce $2.6 billion in federal funds for a new high-speed line between Tampa Bay and Orlando—a line that could help kick-start a vast new Florida network: The plan is for the Orlando-Tampa trains to get running by 2014, and, with speeds of up to 120 mph, this would be the first truly high-speed line in the United States.