August 1 – September 6, 2012

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

** Top Reads **
How the Private Sector Just Might Revive Intercity Passenger Rail in the US – Samuel Staley, Planetizen
How the Feds Put the Brakes on High-Speed Trains – The Antiplanner
Congratulations to America: Huge Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction – Wendell Cox, New Geography

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Mobility & Transportation
U.S. Taxpayers Are Gouged on Mass Transit Costs – Bloomberg
Sour economy gives rise to extreme commuters – USA Today
One Way to Cut Rush-Hour Traffic – Bloomberg Businessweek
EPA’s new fuel-efficiency standards: autos must average 54.5 mpg by 2025 – Washington Post
Is a VMT Tax a Good Idea? – Atlantic Cities
Walter Reed traffic study masks daily misery on the roads, experts say – Washington Post
Labor Rules Snarl U.S. Commuter Trains – Bloomberg
Subsidy-Powered Vehicles – Kenneth Green, The American
Honolulu Rail Cost Escalation – Hawaii Reporter
Honolulu halts light rail construction – Metro Magazine
Clearwater in favor of light rail – Clearwater Beacon, Florida
Streetcar Plans Plow Ahead – Wall Street Journal
Fire Truck Struggles to Fit on New $40M Road – NBC New York
Words matter: The language of transportation goes nowhere (and it hurts) – Richmond Times-Dispatch

Study Finds Connection Between Homeownership, Mobility and Civic Engagement – Next American City

Housing & Land Use
American Houses Are Really Big – Matthew Yglesias, Slate
Why I Moved Back to the Suburbs – Feargus O’Sullivan, Atlantic Cities
Is California the New Detroit? – Robert Cristiano, New Geography
Study: Rich, poor Americans increasingly likely to live in separate neighborhoods – Washington Post
Manassas Park burdened by debt from housing bust – Washington Post
Let L.A. Be L.A. – Joel Kotkin, New Geography
Can Baltimore Woo Immigrants? – Atlantic Cities
The U.S. Cities Getting Smarter the Fastest – Joel Kotkin, New Geography

** New Book: Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, Stanley Kurtz **

Freedom & Grassroots
Pensions burden Rhode Island towns despite state reform – Reuters
Long Beach’s budget plan would merge agencies, outsource services – Los Angeles Times
Is the “nanny state” in Montgomery working? – Washington Post
Woman told she could not hand out free bottled water withou a permit – ABC-15, Phoenix
VA farmer facing fines for … hosting a birthday party –
Feds to Require Black Boxes in Cars to Monitor Fuel and Habits – Right Side News
TSPLOST: Regionalism gets run over by metro Atlanta voters – Atlanta Business Chronicle
Study: Taxpayer-Financed Basketball Arenas Don’t Spur Local Economic Growth – Think Progess
Why Have So Many Cities and Towns Given Away So Much Money to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s? – Atlantic Cities
Rural Homeowners Fight Back Against Calif. Fire Prevention ‘Tax’ – CBS Los Angeles

Un-Sustainable Smart Growth
Tampa streetcars could require city subsidy by 2018 – Tampa Tribune
Amtrak Losing Millions Each Year on Food Sales – New York Times

High Speed Hype
The Uncertain Future of the California Bullet Train – Ken Orski, New Geography
A Golden State train wreck – George Will, Washington Post
Train seeks taxpayer money in hopes of private profits – U-T San Diego

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Across the Tracks
The Joys of Urban Tech – Richard Florida, Wall Street Journal
How Portland Got Its Groove Back – Matthew Yglesias, Slate
LaHood calls Metro’s Silver Line model for the country – WTOP

Around the Bend
Who needs a license? Self-driving cars are on the way! – Reuters
Google’s self-driving cars clear 300,000 miles with no crashes – WTOP
Ford predicts self-driving, traffic-reducing cars by 2017 – ExtremeTech
Future impact of self-driving cars – study – Reuters
Technology could help motorists beat red lights – Daily Telegraph

Blast From the Past
A Brief History of the Birth of Urban Planning – Atlantic Cities

Notable Quotables

If the city wants the streetcar to thrive, it must be funded and it must be expanded.” Michael English, acknowledging the unsustainability of Tampa’s streetcar system.

“It is a sad day when local government officials prohibit Americans from such charitable acts as giving water to the thirsty in their city.” John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, on the City of Phoenix’s effort to prohibit a woman from passing out free water because she didn’t obtain a permit.

“The fare box is not going to pay for this. This is going to saddle the taxpayers with debt pretty much as far as the eye can see.”
Joe Paige, on the City of Clearwater’s decision to pursue a light rail transit system despite the fiscal burden it will place on taxpayers.

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