Arizona’s Long Hot Summer
July 16, 2010

Last week’s filing of the anticipated federal lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial immigration law--set to take effect July 29--all but guarantees the issue will continue to roil debate. Despite the controversy—and President Obama’s repeated denunciations of the law--21 states may follow Arizona’s lead, having discussed or introduced “copy-cat” legislation. Off the front pages, the heat continues to build on other fronts.

Suburban Spies Among Us
July 02, 2010

The revelation that suspected Russian spies have been hiding in the suburbs of major U.S. cities has been regarded by some as a throw back to postwar Cold War novels replete with money drop-offs, hidden identities, and old school technology.  Perhaps the most telling aspect of these Russians’ retro status is their attempt to “fit in” with a suburbia that no longer exists. At least eight of these alleged spies were classic suburbanites replete with dogs, families, or suburban jobs which could be part of any 1950s “welcome wagon” contingent.

Sunil Gulati: U.S. Are Creative, Gosh Darnit
June 12, 2010

JOHANNESBURG -- The U.S., of course, gets set to kick off its World Cup campaign tonight against England in Rustenburg. But Sunil Gulati, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, which runs American soccer, was already in town last week, promoting the U.S. bid to host the tournament in either 2018 or 2022. My friend Jonty Mark, a soccer reporter for The Star, a Johannesburg daily, interviewed Gulati, a Columbia University economics professor, in his well-appointed hotel suite, and let me tag along. We asked him about the bid, but also about how far he thinks U.S.

Helping Those Who Help Themselves
May 27, 2010

The federal transportation finance system is broken and will be short on cash for the foreseeable future. Some regions—like the growing Phoenix, Salt Lake, Las Vegas, and Denver metropolitan areas—have meanwhile achieved system viability through unusual self-help yet even so face massive outstanding maintenance and capacity needs. Is there a deal to be done? Perhaps there is.  Check out, for example, the intriguing concept for a new federal-metro partnership in transportation finance being shopped around by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) in Arizona.

Who Versus Where
May 26, 2010

Last week on this blog, I riffed about one of the more interesting findings to emerge from our State of Metropolitan America report—that demographically, our nation’s major metropolitan areas didn’t always look very much like their geographic neighbors.  To illustrate the point, I looked at the Southeastern seaboard, which counts metropolitan members from each of the seven demographic categories we identify in the report, from the “Next Frontier” region of Washington, DC to the “Industrial Core” area of Augusta, GA.  We argue that metropolitan demographic peers may have more to learn from one

Bootstrapping Rail Transit: Progress in the Mountain Metros
May 25, 2010

Check out the Intermountain West states on this map from the Metro Program’s “State of Metropolitan America.” Now look at the major metropolitan areas—Phoenix, Denver, Provo and Ogden, Albuquerque and others. Do you notice how most of the major metropolitan areas except Las Vegas, Salt Lake, and Boise have being seeing growing shares of their workers commuting by public transit? It’s but one finding among dozens in the extensive drill-down on what’s happening in U.S.

Arizona in the Immigration Spotlight (Again)
April 23, 2010

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s signature today enacting a controversial immigration law ripped the scab off a wound that never really healed after the failure of national reform in 2007. In those intervening years, states and localities have stepped into the breach, passing scads of measures on immigration. The Arizona law would seem the culmination of the trend. Among its most stringent and divisive tactics is the provision that would grant police the authority to stop anyone suspected of being present in the country illegally.

The Mountain-Region Growth Machine: Has It Broken Down?
March 18, 2010

Has the great Mountain region growth machine broken down?

Aviation Data Suggests a Mixed-Bag of Rail Riders
February 22, 2010

Now that we’re a full week past the initial high-speed rail announcement, we’ve taken the time to resurvey some of the elements of this massive investment. Demand is one of those elements and it’s critical to projecting ridership. One method we’ve designed to measure HSR demand is corridor air travel. By offering specific boarding information, federal air data provides a stellar source of passenger travel information between any two metropolitan areas. Using the data we published back in October, here is how the corridors receiving at least $200 million stack up.

Self-Organizing the Sun Corridor
February 19, 2010

Regionalism is too often thought to require government initiative.