Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A very bad day for sustainable transportation and urban revitalization

Image from page 12 of the Republican Pledge to America
Image from page 12 of the Republican Pledge to America

A Republican controlled House of Representatives will not favor provisions in the Transportation Act that favor walking and biking. A Republican House of Representatives will not favor transit. A Republican House of Representatives will probably not favor high speed rail. A Republican House of Representatives will not likely be supportive of initiatives that provide support to center cities.

It won't help that Congressman James Oberstar of WisconsinMinnesota (I knew this but in the haste of writing fast...), presently chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the House of Representatives, lost his bid for reelection.

The Obama Administration's choice to continue the transportation bill rather than write a pass a new bill because of the fear of discussing the need to increase the federal gasoline excise tax now looks like a mistake.

From "GOP ‘Pledge To America’ is an oath to Big Oil" in Grist Magazine:

House Republicans just released "A Pledge to America" -- their agenda for the 112th Congress if they take charge. The Republicans claim that their document -- written by former Exxon lobbyist Brian Wild -- is "one in which the people have the most say and the best ideas trump the most entrenched interests." When it comes to energy policy, the GOP leaders actually ignore public opinion, ignore science, and instead promote the same old ideas [pushed] by big oil lobbyists and other energy interests. The entire Republican energy policy is a single sentence:

We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national "cap-and-trade" energy tax.

"Increase access to domestic energy sources" is code for "drill, baby, drill." This language is straight out of big oil's playbook, used for years by the oil industry's lobbying groups[.] ...

The second measure in the Pledge's skimpy energy policy is to "oppose attempts to impose a national 'cap-and-trade' energy tax" -- Newt Gingrich's language for a system to reduce global warming pollution from the largest power plants and other industrial sources. Here again the GOP leaders flout, rather than adhere to, public opinion. A myriad of opinion polls demonstrate strong support for global warming pollution reductions[.] ...

With regard to the District of Columbia specifically, as pointed out by Colbert King in a Post column a couple weeks ago, "A GOP-led Congress bodes ill for D.C. autonomy," Republican controlled House of Representatives is likely to not take a hands off stance with regard to home rule in the District of Columbia. Congress has the right to approve or disapprove laws passed by the DC Council. Expect more initiatives to be disapproved. E.g., I just don't see how a Republican controlled House of Representatives would have gone along with DC, which in the summer, passed a medical marijuana bill ("Medical marijuana now legal" from the Post).

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