Only one city in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index of home prices showed an annual gain last year, and it was not one you would expect. Detroit was up 0.5% in December compared with the same month in 2010, while cities like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa all made fresh lows as the 20-city index dropped 4% from a year earlier. The 10-city and national composite were 3.9% and 4% from the fourth quarter of 2010.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index offers a monthly assessment of how home prices are faring from city to city. In the most recent report, only two cities saw an increase in prices from the previous month.
Fannie Mae is offering to sell nearly 2,500 foreclosed properties to investors as part of a new federal initiative to aid the housing market by selling off distressed properties in bulk, the company’s regulator said Monday.
It’s a Safe Decision: Complete Streets in California, a report from the National Complete Streets Coalition and the Local Government Commission telling the successes of a Complete Streets approach in California, was released last week at an event with Representative Doris Matsui (CA-5), one of the Congressional sponsors of a federal Complete Streets policy.
California’s attorney general, Kamala D. Harris, has ratcheted up the pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow debt reduction on their home loans by asking the mortgage finance giants to halt foreclosures in the state.
Washington is now arguing over several bad new ways to pay for transportation infrastructure in the U.S. But despite their deficiencies, recent proposals from the White House, the Senate and the House offer a few ideas worth considering as part of a more ambitious funding bill down the road, when a looming election isn’t inducing timidity and self-delusion.
On February 15, 2012, 40 community stakeholders from Deerfield Beach, Florida met with representatives from the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America as part of a free program helping their city develop “complete streets” policies. In this interactive, day-long workshop, city staff and residents learned how everyday transportation decisions can promote streets that are designed to allow safe access for all users. Complete Streets workshops aim to draw on the experience of community stakeholders and offer new opportunities for them to work together.
The City of Deerfield Beach learned of the economic and fiscal benefits of smart growth in June of 2011 through a workshop with the Environmental Protection Agency. A product of that workshop was a commitment to support a thriving local economy by creating a more walkable community following the guidelines of Complete Streets. The City was able to pursue this goal after being granted a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America. Having established a foundation of smart growth basics, the city was equipped for a policy development workshop, where attendees learned the Complete Streets concept and began developing a customized draft policy.
In contrast to the hundreds of pieces of legislation that cleave Congressional Republicans and Democrats, the one that pays for transportation projects has traditionally drawn a warm embrace from both parties, largely because of the giant piles of cash it bestows on states and communities to repair and maintain their roads, bridges and transit systems. So it was noteworthy that three House members — two Republicans and a Democrat, all from Illinois — gathered here for a news conference this week to denounce the latest House transportation bill, one championed by the House speaker, John A. Boehner.
The weak housing market is holding back the economic recovery, and the federal government should consider a variety of policies to get the sector back on its feet, according to a new paper by a team of leading Wall Street and academic economists released Friday.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: We had heard rumors that something was up but weren’t expecting this. Major news broke late Thursday when House leadership revealed it is considering a redo on its transportation bill. Speaker John Boehner’s signature proposal will likely see: a shorter length, (maybe) reduced overall funding levels and a reversal on the decision to divorce federal transit funding from the Highway Trust Fund.
The USA is at a critical juncture in how it pays for roads, bridges and transit. That’s because the federal tax on gasoline, the primary method since 1956, has lost one-third of its buying power since it was last raised in 1993. States add their own tax on top of that, but the federal tax accounts for about 45%-50% of capital spending for transportation.
It’s thousands of miles from more recognized hubs of smart growth activity like Seattle and San Francisco, but Western North Carolina has emerged as one of the nation’s leading examples of what is possible when regional planning and economic development strategies find common ground.
Thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, government officials, local citizens and business leaders in the region are taking control of their communities’ future. If recent initiatives meet with the success they promise, an area that was once an afterthought even for many North Carolinians might become a staging ground for new businesses at the forefront of the state’s economy.
“I want my kids and grandkids to have a future here,” said Mark Burrows, Planning and Economic Development Director for Transylvania County. “Even before we knew what sustainability was, this is what we have always wanted…a place where there are jobs and people can walk to work.”
Americans are ready for an economically sound, people-friendly, and bipartisan transportation bill. Current revisions should restore guaranteed funding for public transportation, put more emphasis on bridge and road repair, reinstate measures that provide funding to pedestrian and bicycling safety programs, and put transportation first (meaning no partisan add-ons).
President Obama will take the stage at the University of Miami on Thursday to defend his energy policy at a time when gas prices are on the rise, Republicans are blaming him for it and even some Democrats are pressing him to take stronger action to protect consumers.