May 9 – May 26, 2011

The American Dream Communicator
The most comprehensive digest of news & commentary on urban policy in America!

Top Reads
Livable versus Lovable Cities – Financial Times
The Death of a High-Speed Rail Program – Ron Utt, National Review
Transportation: From the Top Down or Bottom Up? – Randal O’Toole, Huffington Post
California’s Secret Government – Steven Greenhut, City Journal

** New Report: Crony Capitalism & Social Engineering: The Case against Tax-Increment Financing – Randal O’Toole, Cato Institute

Mobility & Transportation

The transportation politics of envy: the U.S. and Europe – Wendell Cox, New Geography
Ford identifies 25 Most Electric Vehicle-Ready Cities – Autoblog Green
Washington state legislature considering electric-vehicle fee –
Roads win out, rail curbed, ferry fees rise in budget plan – Charlotte Observer, North Carolina
City offers seniors vouchers to make transportation more affordable – Ahwatukee News, Phoenix
Seattle Ponders (Some More) the Wisdom of Replacing a Roadway – New York Times
Hey, RTD, don’t blame the economy for your rider decrease – Huffington Post
Battle Continues To Include Light Rail Funding In State Budget – WSOC-TV, North Carolina
Rising gas prices again filling seats on public transit – San Diego Union-Tribune
Transit district encourages commuters to get on the bus
– Silicon Valley Mercury News
Orange County board considers transit tax – The Times News, North Carolina
Cambridge councillors trash light rail transit –, Ontario
Metro operator derailed train after 9-year medical leave – Washington Examiner
Aaaand the bike lobby finally descends into self-parody
– Market Urbanism

** New Report: World Urban Areas: 7th Annual Edition – Demographia

Housing & Land Use
Government should leave the housing market alone – Sam Staley, The Corner
Two ways of preventing the housing crisis – The Antiplanner
Where do the children play? – Phil McDermott, New Geography
Imminent flooding should bring eminent domain – TH Online
Texas Governor Signs Eminent Domain Bill – Houston Chronicle
A little housing mystery – Megan McArdle, The Atlantic
Five years from U.S. housing peak, still no bottom
– Reuters
In housing market’s suspenseful story, the tell-tale stat is inventory
– Daily Finance
Washington area condo market still struggles – Washington Post
Longmont officials grapple with unintended consequences of affordable-housing rules – Denver Post
TriMet sops up rail land – Portland Business Journal
‘What have you done lately’ a common question for growth council – Sun Journal, Minnesota

Freedom & Grassroot
How to dilute the power of politicians – Steven Greenhut, Orange County Register
Dear Urban Cyclists: Go Play in Traffic – P.J. O’Rourke, Wall Street Journal
Gainesville’s not a Google kind of town – Ed Braddy, Gainesville Sun
Transit’s priority should be neediest riders – Larry Croix, Kitsap Sun
Ditch high-speed rail – All aboard Megabus! – Ed Lasky, American Thinker
Kemper Freeman will continue to fight I-90 light rail –, Washington
Texas adds 700,000+ jobs in last ten years, California loses 600,000 – The Business Journals
Taxes, government limit Maryland’s economic growth – Washington Examiner
TIF problems, philosophical and practical –, Louisiana

Not So Sustainable

Virginia Beach light rail extension could cost $807 million –, Virginia
Transportation authority to sell NYC headquarters – Bloomberg Businessweek
Despite suburbs’ swan song, transit money withers – Boston Globe
County saves public bus service, but doubles fare – Watertown Daily Times

High Speed Hype
Slow down high-speed rail plans, state analyst urges – Oakland Tribune
Florida Republican wants to privatize high-speed rail – Daily Record
Federal cuts threaten high-speed rail project – Hanford Sentinel, California
Kill bill on HSR pulled from agenda – Charlotte News-Observer, North Carolina
High-speed train meets low-speed bureaucratic process – Edmonton Journal
China’s train wreck – Charles Lane, Washington Post

Around the World
The Recipe for Unlivable Cities in New Zealand – Owen McShane, New Geography
At Least Eleven Killed In Minsk Metro Subway Blast – SKY News, Belarus
A few brave women dare take wheel in defiance of Saudi law against driving – Bloomberg
Housing minister stymied in Stockholm flat hunt – The Local, Sweden
Mayor’s 50,000 affordable homes claim ‘not a record’
– 24 Dash, London
China to tighten land controls to curb housing inflation –
Green cars avoid congestion charge – Motoring News, London

Around the Bend
Is Google Motors the new GM? – CNN Money
Ford “Talking” Vehicles Give Californians a Peek at More Sustainable Driving – PR Newswire
Texas considers highest speed limit in nation – USA Today
Bill promoting car-sharing programs advances in N.J.

Al Qaeda Planned to Attack U.S. Trains on 9/11 Anniversary, Bin Laden Material Shows – Fox News
Unruly Passenger’s ‘WMD’ Talk Causes BART Delays – CBS San Francisco
Police: IED Found Near Chester Train Tracks – CBS Philadelphia

Across the Tracks
Michael Moore: Obama should use power over auto companies to kill cars, replace with mass transit – Newsbusters
New Survey: Americans (Mostly) Prefer Smart Growth to Sprawl – The Infrastructurist
Shaping the city: Seeking a new template for truly smart growth – Washington Post
The EPA’s unsustainable green building blunder – Kaid Benfield, The Atlantic
A buzzword with many different interpretations – Carroll County Times, Maryland
Don’t want density? Perhaps you should pay for that right
– Vancouver Sun
When the sprawl stopped
– Star-Tribune, Minnesota
Public transit needs to go where the jobs are – Miami Herald
Record Number of People Riding Light Rail
– My Fox Phoenix
Mass transit is now all the rage
– North County Times, California
Transit advocates worry New Jersey is spending too much on roads – NJ Today
Why you should love $5 gas – MSN Money

Vibrant Urbanism
Crazed Naked Guy Terrorizes NYC Subway Passengers – Smoking Gun
Naked woman arrested on Phoenix light rail train – Fox-11, Arizona
Two Hurt in Stabbing at Minneapolis Light Rail Station –, Minnesota
Light rail rider robbed at gunpoint – My Fox Phoenix
Shots fired near Columbia Heights Metro – Washington Post
Pricey trash cans stolen from city streets – CBS Pittsburgh
Prostitution, pot legalization could make Detroit attractive – Detroit Free Press

Notable Quotables

“This is about the most scathing report I have ever seen. The Legislature has to pay attention and take charge.” Transit consultant Tom Rubin, on the California report finding that costs have soared, funding sources have dried up, and the agency overseeing its high speed rail project is grossly unprepared.

I just think we need to go with what’s cost effective and fair and equitable to everyone.” Councillor Nicholas Ermeta, on preferring rubber tire transit over rails in Cambridge, Ontario.

I also would not enforce prostitution laws and I’d make us the new Amsterdam.”
Detroit mayoral candidate Geoffrey Fieger, sharing his ideas on how to revive the Motor City.

If you are curtailing development, you’re not providing housing for anyone across the spectrum. David Sinkey, on the unintended consequences of his community’s ‘inclusionary zoning’ ordinance.

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