December 12 – 18, 2009

The American Dream Communicator
News & commentary about urban policy in America’s cities

Save the Date
June 10-12, 2010
– the 8th Annual Preserving the American Dream Conference, Orlando, Florida

            >> Talk of the Town – Lawrence Reed, Foundation for Economic Education <<

Mobility & Transportation
18th Annual Highway Report – Reason Foundation

New York Transit Woes Demonstrate Need for Reform – Sam Staley, Out of Control Policy Blog

Urban planners romanticize immobility (audio) – Randal O’Toole, Cato Institute

Urban planning and technology can change commuter ways – Financial Times

Plug-in hybrid subsidies are a bad deal for taxpayers – Washington Post

Infrastructure Politics Veering Right – Autopia

Winona could host futuristic public transportation model – LaCrosse Tribune, Minnesota

Can Entrepreneurs Drive People Movers to Success? – Harvard Business School

Houston commuters catch rides with strangers to save time, money –, Houston

Maryland ICC to be first all-electronic tollroad in eastern US – TollRoadNews

Debate panelists split over buses, broader impact of transit investments – Transportation4America  

Colorado: 2010 Ballot Measure Would Slash Car Taxes –

A Streetcar Named Monorail –, Long Beach, California

Norfolk light rail is over budget, opening delayed to 2011 – Virginia Pilot

Link light-rail ridership dipped in November – Seattle Times

Phoenix Drivers Confused by Light Rail –

Local residents want a fence built around the Light Rail for safety –, Virginia

VTA Accident Kills One Person –, San Jose

MTA to fire light rail operators in accident that killed 2 teens – Baltimore Sun

Elevated train derails in Chicago; minor injuries reported – Breaking News 24/7, Chicago

Attorney: Bus stabbing suspect is mentally ill – San Jose Mercury News

MTA worker faces charges of stealing more than $400,000 – Baltimore Sun

Backpedaling: New report raises questions about ‘Bike City USA’ – Willamette Week, Portland

Roll up the pavement: Gravel is making a comeback – Associated Press

Getting Beyond Petroleum Won’t Be Easy – SciTech Today

Housing & Land Use
Smart Growth: Lower Carbon Footprint Not – Randal O’Toole, Master Resource

Sprawl! Is Earth Evolving into a Planet of MegaCities? – Daily Galaxy

Growth boundaries stop sprawl, but author argues they stop dreams, as well – iStockAnalyst

Smart Growth vs Hometown Democracy – Historic City News, Florida

In Osprey, smart growth may not be a no-brainer – Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida

Orange County 3rd worst housing affordability in U.S. – All Things Real Estate

The Urbanophile Plan for Detroit – Aaron Renn, New Geography

High-tech, eco-friendly dream home takes shape in Japan –

Requiring low-income homes increases condos, apartments – Bellingham Herald, Washington

Tax increment financing not always the right tool –, South Carolina

Most are saying ‘no’ to TIF district – Independent Record, Montana

Florida Man Takes Eminent Domain Case to High Court – Fox News

Another Appalling Eminent Domain Case – Scienceblogs Weekly

Freedom & Grassroots
How smart is smart growth? – Bruce Hensler, The Practical Fireman

Protesters Ask Columbia Not To Appeal Eminent Domain Ruling – The Gothamist

Motives in Missouri  eminent domain measure scrutinized – Associated Press

Sprawl, y’all – Keep Houston Houston

Climate as an Indicator of Faith in Government – The Antiplanner

Three Cheers!
Reconsidering light rail – Marcus Hudson, Detroit Free-Press

Anti-Light-Rail Slate Strikes First Blow against Eastside Expansion – Publicola, Seattle

Riders armed, bus crimes drop – Don Surber, Daily Mail

Transit agency increases length of year by 800 percent! – Wendell Cox, New Geography

Nothing’s New Urbanism
Andres Duany and Jeff Speck on The Smart Growth Manual –

Urbanism Principles – Green Changemakers

How to Create Sustainable Transportation in Your Urban Center – COP-15

Not So Sustainable
Rail staff ordered to travel by coach…because trains are too expensive – Mail Online, UK

MTA Board Approves ‘Doomsday’ Cuts – MyFox, New York

Broad Service Cuts, Backed by M.T.A. Panel, Stir Many Complaints – New York Times

Seeing Politics in Plan to Cut Student Transit Aid – New York Times

Without Road Pricing, Will the Wheels on the Bus Stop Going ‘Round? – Streetsblog NYC

Public Transportation Ridership is Up While State Funding is Down –, Minnesota

High Speed Rail
High-Speed Rail: Great for Europe, but Less So for the U.S.? – Politics Daily

Bullet train planners gauge higher costs – San Francisco Business Times

Rail authority explores higher ticket price – San Jose Mercury News

Business plan shows deceit of bullet train push – San Diego Union-Tribune

Transportation secretary praises Connecticut on HSR efforts –

High-speed rail back on track – Ventura County Star

Florida, others battle for federal rail grants – Miami Herald

Florida Buying Track Segment from CSX – Journal of Commerce

Open-records allegations taint Charlie Crist’s rail bill-signings – Miami Herald

She’s One of Us!
Queen catches ordinary passenger train for Christmas journey – Daily Mail, UK

Across the Tracks
Governments must legislate to ‘green’ communities, says law expert – Planetizen

Welsh Assembly Government car emissions ‘rise’: report – BBC News, UK

Stimulus spending on public transportation produces more jobs, faster – Smart Growth America

Andres Duany on Smart Growth – Builder Magazine

Once the firebrands, now the establishment –

The price of sprawl: $5.59 a month? – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Commissioners defend smart growth program – The Recorder, Maryland

Newburg: Embracing Density at the Urban Fringe – Planetizen

Parking Garage: Gateway to the Future – Architecture Week

The Case Against the “Empty Bus” Argument – San Francisco Streetsblog

Clackamas County to experiment with zoning around light-rail station –

Whose light rail train do you prefer? – Steve Can Play

Bus vs. Rail: Transit’s Quiet Culture Clash? – D.C. Streetsblog

Should highways be the new bikeways? –

Is Portland’s ‘white-ness’ the reason for city’s bike-ness? –

Quote of the Year Nominees*

“I think it is a pretty clever way to pressure the city and state to stop hiding their own budget problems in the M.T.A.” Nicole Gelinas of the
Manhattan Institute, on the transit agency’s power play to get more funding by cutting free rides … for the children.

“At present we are asking people throughout the business to cut costs and when we travel we always look to see just how much journeys cost and if there is a cheaper option.” Network Rail (UK) spokesman, on the decision to direct staff to travel by bus to conferences rather than rail.

“Almost 70 per cent of workers in America live in a household with other workers. Whose job are you going to live next to?” Alan Pisarski, on the planners’ dilemma in placing work and home in close proximity.

* Submit your nominees for Quote of the Year by emailing me at  Check for past nominees on our website here.

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