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Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category

Baltimore, MD: Building Resilience Through Immigration

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Baltimore, MD: Building Resilience Through Immigration

Two years ago, the city of Baltimore, in a bid to reverse population decline, announced a plan to draw 10,000 people to the city. One of the key demographics would be immigrants. Here, we look at why immigration is well-suited to helping a city bounce back from the shock of depopulation.

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Making the Grade: A National Six-Point Plan to Regain America’s Infrastructure Leadership

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
SPECIFIC ECONOMIC IMPACTS BY 2020

AUTODESK
Making The Grade represents the consensus of many who attended the meeting “Executing a Sustainable Infrastructure Vision” convened by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) initially in 2012. The Making the Grade roundtable that followed in 2013 was comprised of experts from 45 companies representing the scope of the U.S. infrastructure industry—planning, engineering, construction, and technology—and their counterparts from local governments, professional organizations, think tanks, financial advisors, academic institutions, and others. Participants agreed to an ambitious goal: describe a new vision and path forward for regaining and sustaining America’s public infrastructure leadership.

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Los Angeles Parking Meter Reform, Reasonable Edition

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The LA Times Editorial Board published a post this morning imploring city officials to come up with a more just system, so I’m throwing out a few ideas. My motivation here is two-fold. First, to find a solution that maintains high enough fees to discourage scofflaws because parking turnover is important to both consumers and businesses — $23 simply doesn’t meet that requirement. Second, to minimize the frustration of excessive fines resulting from the rare, honest mistake, and to reduce the confusion that leads to those mistakes. If you get three parking tickets a month, it’s you that needs to re-evaluate, not the city. Parking tickets have a place in a congested, highly urbanized city, but they must be perceived as fair if they’re to survive. Here are my recommendations:

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The Highway Trust Fund and Surface Transportation Programs in the Federal Budget

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Figure 1: Receipts, Outlays, and Balance or Shortfall for the Highway Trust Fund Under CBO’s April 2014 Baseline

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE
The federal government spends more than $50 billion per year on surface transportation programs, mostly in the form of grants to state and local governments. Much of this spending is for highways and mass transit programs financed through the Highway Trust Fund. Those programs have an unusual treatment in the federal budget, and the way they are classified in the budget facilitates the spending of more money from the trust fund than there are dedicated revenues to support such spending. Those revenues come from excise taxes on the sale of motor fuels, trucks and trailers, and truck tires, and from taxes on the use of certain kinds of vehicles.

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The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Figure 2. Total water supply and demand changes with four drought response strategies, in thousand acre-feet per year, by hydrologic region

PACIFIC INSTITUTE
NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL

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The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Figure ES.1. Hybrid Sankey diagram of 2011 U.S. interconnected water and energy flows.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Present day water and energy systems are tightly intertwined. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation. Energy is required to extract, convey, and deliver water of appropriate quality for diverse human uses, and then again to treat wastewaters prior to their return to the environment. Historically, interactions between energy and water have been considered on a regional or technology-by-technology basis. At the national and international levels, energy and water systems have been developed, managed, and regulated independently.

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Aromas, CA: How to Successfully Fight Fracking

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Aromas, CA: How to Successfully Fight Fracking

In San Benito County, CA, a citizens’ group, Aromas Cares for the Environment, waged a successful campaign for new environmental protections to protect against oil and gas fracking operations. The fracking safety ordinance was passed by the County Board of Supervisors on June 18, 2013.

California communities like Aromas should not have to protect themselves alone. We need an immediate statewide moratorium on fracking.

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Outcomes of the Nonmotorized Transportation Program

Monday, June 16th, 2014
Table 1: Pilot Communities

FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
The program was intended to “demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking can carry a significant part of the transportation load, and represent a major portion of the transportation solution, within selected communities.” Throughout the program to date, the four communities, each with unique physical and demographic characteristics, identified and implemented a locally devised strategy to significantly increase the use of nonmotorized transportation, along with the accompanying safety, environmental, and health benefits. This report represents the culmination of that initial implementation and analytical effort.

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Driving California Forward

Friday, June 13th, 2014
FIGURE E-1 Breakdown of net societal economic benefit by component (2025)

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND
AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION IN CALIFORNIA

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Integrating Conservation and Highway Planning

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Figure ES.1. Steps of the Integrated Ecological Framework.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD
This project addresses the questions of how to (1) achieve interagency agreement on ecological solutions, (2) identify and leverage existing ways to increase predictability and assurance that credit will be allowed for addressing agency conservation and restoration priorities early in planning, (3) identify and leverage existing tools to increase resource agency confidence that mitigation commitments will be kept, and (4) make decisions last over time and across jurisdictions.

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