Quick follow up to the Purple Line piece about creating a Transportation Renewal District and selling bonds to fund equitable development
To clarify, I am talking about creating a TRD and not using the money to fund the transit infrastructure per se, but to fund new development, civic infrastructure, and community improvement programs of various types.
Or to do something like half and half -- half for funding transit infrastructure and the other half for funding related economic and community development projects.
1. A commenter provided a link to a new report from the Maryland Department of Planning, Models & Guidelines, Volume 29, Tax Increment Financing: User Guide for Maryland Sustainable Community Revitalization, which looks to be an important resource.
2. But the projects discussed in the report as examples are pretty small.
What I am proposing is a large fund, which would then be used for financing smaller projects, rather than creating a variety of micro-TIF districts for various projects.
The urban renewal district in Portland that I referenced in the previous entry started with about $200 million and with an original footprint of about 10.5 square miles. See "Interstate and beyond: Lessons of history resonate as the city prepares to expand Urban Renewal Area" from Street Roots News. From the article:
"The Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area, created in 2000, is the largest urban renewal area in the city, sprawling about 3,800 acres and spanning 10 neighborhoods in North and Northeast Portland. The expansion will increase the roughly $202.8 million in urban renewal funds currently available in ICURA."Also see "Rose Quarter not part of proposed expansion of Interstate urban renewal district" from the Portland Oregonian.
4. The idea I propose is to create a companion "Revitalization District" that wraps around the newly created transportation infrastructure, and the provision of big funding to make revitalization happen more quickly, along with the focus on equitable development espoused by the Purple Line Corridor Coalition.
A big lesson from DC is that such districts can help accelerate improvement significantly, whereas in DC proper, it has mostly been trickle down improvements, because such a wrap around revitalization district program was never developed.
This is why it has taken as much as 30 years to see substantive improvement in areas served by transit stations (some areas are still waiting).
5. The Wall Street Journal has a story, "Denver Transit Hub Is a Test Case for Funding: Financial Backing Comes From Two Little-Known Federal-Loan Programs," about two US DOT financing programs, the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program (RRIF), and the Transportation Department's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), which operate similarly to the kind of financing provided by a TRD or URD, but they are used to finance transit construction and infrastructure, not what would be considered spillover projects.
(TIFIA will be a source of