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Archive for November 5th, 2012

Mary Newsom speaks

The Charlotte Observer ran a column from Mary Newsom, now associate director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, on funding for the city streetcar line:

My prediction: This will not be the last time you hear of all those tools – TIFs, MSDs, STIFs, SADs, BPLs, and so on – discussed as possible ways to pay for transit projects. As Walton warned, cities across America will have to look to urban-region taxpayers to fund their own transit projects. Whether that’s fair or wise national transportation policy is a question for another day. Regardless of the answers, it’s likely to be reality for the coming decades.

That’s probably true. The flip side of the equation is that state and local governments, including Charlotte, must do a much better job of prioritizing their transportation, including transit, needs. Too much of what’s on the to-be-built-list simply qualifies as pork, starting with the Red Line and the streetcar. That I would ever expect Mary Newsom or her planner pals to ever admit that — in their mind, it’s pretty much impossible to conceive of a bad transit project.


Bonus observation
: Note how taxing mechanism like tax increment financing (TIFs) are described as a “tool.” Says a lot about the planner mentality.

Special bonus observation: Nice of the Observer to not mention that Newsom’s previous job was writing editorials for the paper.

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Politics turned upside down

That’s the title of John hood’s column today, in which he notes the change in American politics over the past generation:

A generation ago, ridicule would have greeted the prediction that Republicans would become the majority party in state capitals and the U.S. House while Democrats would enjoy greater success in presidential and Senate elections. The pattern had been exactly the opposite. In the two decades from 1968 to 1988, the GOP won all but one presidential race (1976) and held the U.S. Senate for several terms in the 1980s. But the party never came anywhere close to taking the U.S. House, and Democrats ran most of the country’s states and localities.

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