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Big Plans, Empty Pockets

A lack of money is hobbling local governments' plans to transform their towns from sprawling cul-de-sac suburbs into dense urban centers....The Washington region is the nation's model for "smart growth," said University of California at Berkeley engineering professor ROBERT CERVERO, but the approach isn't a panacea. "Basically, you can't go into a depressed part of the country and expect to improve it by stacking up buildings around transit stations," he said. "It's not automatic, and there's a lot of examples where it does nothing."

State DOTs Explain Consequences of HTF Shutdown, Urge Congress to Promptly Resolve

Leaders of 21 state transportation departments held a news conference this afternoon at the AASHTO Washington Briefing in Crystal City, VA, imploring Congress to act quickly to restore legal authority for the Highway Trust Fund so federal reimbursements to the states for highway and transit projects can resume.  "States cannot proceed doing business as usual -- planning projects, implementing projects, and financing projects -- without any kind of certainty about federal funds.

3/1/2010 Funding Fight Means DOT Will Begin Furloughs Today

The Department of Transportation will furlough nearly 2,000 employees without pay today, due to a congressional conflict over funding. DOT said it will cease making reimbursements to states for highway construction and maintenance projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Also affected is funding for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, which reimburses states for expenses associated with truck safety....At issue is a short-term extension of the federal highway program, which Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., blocked last Friday.

Big Ideas Sought for Oakland Bay Bridge Park

With the new eastern span of the bridge scheduled to open in 2013, government planners are floating the idea of a much different role for the 1.5-mile-long strip: a park that would celebrate the bridge and the region, with attractions scaled to the immense cranes of the nearby Port of Oakland...."It's a challenging site, but ... this could be a park unlike any in the world," said Karen Alschuler of Perkins + Will, the architecture firm hired by nine public agencies to oversee a design process expected to take at least a year.

Latest Attempt to Reform San Francisco's Muni

In 1999, the year after the infamous "Muni meltdown" unraveled public confidence in San Francisco's transit system, city voters gave overwhelming support to a ballot measure that promised to "reform the Municipal Railway once and for all."...Three times in the past two decades San Francisco voters have approved measures that promised to improve Muni, the Bay Area's busiest transit system with a daily ridership nearing 700,000...Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has proposed an initiative for the November election that would address the salaries, benefits and work rules for Muni operators, who now ar

MTC Informational Session March 10 to Review Plans to Cut Emissions

 The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is holding a public meeting for Bay Area residents to learn more about and comment on plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks....The MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments are hosting the workshop in conjunction with the California Air Resources Board, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

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