Columbia, MO. Photo by Chris Yunker via Flickr.
When Columbia, MO Councilmember Ian Thomas, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, first moved to the United States from his native London in the 1990s, the impact of the built environment on quality of life became abundantly clear. First settling in a suburb of Nashville, TN, Thomas found its car-oriented design limiting to an active, healthy lifestyle and lacking in access for residents to fresh food, safe places for recreation, and accessibility to necessary services.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has announced the appointment of Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued this statement in response:
“We are pleased to hear of Senator Carper’s appointment as chairman of a key subcommittee helping to write the next version of our nation’s transportation law. Senator Carper brings a pragmatic approach that is coupled with a bold vision for a 21st century transportation system that will benefit communities across the country. Smart Growth America and our alliance of local elected officials, real estate developers and coalition of non-profits look forward to working with him on the upcoming transportation reauthorization, and helping him push for a bill that will allow our communities to make the investments that will improve the nation’s economic competitiveness.”
Yesterday Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced his proposal for comprehensive tax reform—and it has big implications for real estate and smart growth.
Each year Americans take billions of dollars worth of income tax deductions related to real estate. Things like the mortgage interest deduction and property tax deduction can represent big savings for a household—so big that they can influence taxpayers’ decisions about the type of home they buy. Even more credits are available to real estate developers, who can get tax breaks to help pay for things like redevelopment or the construction of low-income housing.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) took the first step toward comprehensive tax reform yesterday and introduced a proposal that would have a mixed impact on communities’ efforts to grow in smart, economically efficient ways. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, and Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS, issued this joint statement in response:
“Above all, we’re glad Congress is finally tackling comprehensive tax reform. Hundreds of billions are currently spent through the tax code on housing and community development and much of this could be spent better than it is today. For anyone who wants to see these incentives achieve their maximum effect—helping Americans access good affordable housing choices in safe, stable, thriving communities, tax reform is a must.
How Housing Is Making America’s Wealth Divide Worse
Atlantic Cities – February 26, 2014
Homeownership has long been a central part of the American Dream. But for many families and communities, it’s turning into a nightmare.
Dave Camp’s Tax Plan: A Brave Start But Lots of Gimmicks
Forbes – February 27, 2014
Give House Ways & Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) all the credit in the world for years of hard work developing his tax reform plan. Just don’t look too hard at the blueprint, which he released this afternoon.
How Useful is Walkability: Are You Orientated to Walk?
Planetizen – February 26, 2014
Community Builders recently provided a succinct overview of the literature on walkability. They identified three key elements
Ballet of the Sidewalk
Metropolis Magazine – February 26, 2014
Now that my book Walkable City (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) has been out for more than a year—and has found a larger audience than I had expected—it seemed a good time to reﬂect on the book’s message, and consider what I might have overlooked.
A crew from the Virginia Department of Transportation fills potholes. Photo by VDOT via Flickr.
How much would your state need to spend to repair its roads? Most likely the answer to that question is “a lot.” In some cases, state DOTs could spend their entire annual budget on repair and maintenance and still have work left to do. So why are many states making the problem even worse by continuing to spend scarce transportation dollars expanding their road networks?
In two weeks, Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense will address this question with the release of the 2014 edition of Repair Priorities.
Obama’s $300B infrastructure plan
The Hill – February 26, 2014
President Obama will announce his plan to spend more than $300 billion over the next four years to fix the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges during a trip to Minnesota on Wednesday.
America’s Weird, Enduring Love Affair With Cars and Houses
The Atlantic – February, 26, 2014
$1 of every $2 Americans spend is on real estate and transportation. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Why urban demographers are right about the trend toward downtowns and walkable suburbs
NRDC Switchboard – February 25, 2014
Half of all new housing demand between now and 2040 will be for attached homes, the other half for small-lot homes. The demand for large-lot suburbia, by contrast, is diminishing.
New York’s $30 Million Contest for Resiliency Entrepreneurs
Next City – February 26, 2014
When it comes to innovative rebuilding and resiliency programs, New York is putting $30 million of its Federal Disaster Recovery money where its mouth is.
Two Maps Show How We Designed Walking Out of the Suburbs
Streetsblog USA – February 25, 2014
Having a finely grained street grid is incredibly important to walkable communities, as the above graphic from the Sightline Institute demonstrates.
Why More U.S. Cities Need to Embrace Bus-Rapid Transit
Atlantic Cities – February 25, 2014
American cities welcomed the automobile in the 20th century by yielding much of their street space to cars.
5 Things We’re Still Thinking About From Today’s WUF7 Pre-Conference Session
Next City- February 25, 2014
Thirteen panelists gathered at the University of Pennsylvania this morning for the Philadelphia stop of the World Urban Forum’s pre-conference dialogue series.
Poor transportation could block gains in pediatric healthcare
Modern Healthcare – February 24, 2014
Transportation barriers could block possible gains in children’s healthcare created by expanding insurance coverage as part of healthcare reform, contend researchers with the New York-based Children’s Health Fund.
Broward road laws rewritten for walkers, bike riders
Sun Sentinel (FL) – February 23, 2014
Complete Street concepts will roll out across county
Obama looks to governors for help with economy
Washington Post (DC) – February 24, 2014
His domestic priorities stalled in a divided Congress, President Barack Obama is looking for allies among America’s governors.
Agenda of Fear
Next City – February 24, 204
“Local planners have learned that they must engage with their communities, explain what they are doing, and the goals and benefits.”
New York State’s brownfield tax breaks are target of reform
Buffalo News (NY) – February 24, 2014
Cuomo seeks to limit credits to cleanup costs
Smart Growth America seeks an Economic Analysis Fellow to assist with in-depth studies and technical assistance on local government fiscal and economic development issues related to smart growth and land use.
Position description and Responsibilities
The Fellow will work closely with Smart Growth America’s professional staff leads in the area of economic and fiscal analysis, performing technically-oriented public policy research. The primary responsibilities involve: Assembling data and preparing in form suitable for analysis; working with spreadsheets, GIS, statistical packages, or other modeling tools; and assisting in the drafting of reports, briefs, and memoranda related to the research program.
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