Soccer Moms Against Rail Transit in Tampa

On election day, the voters of Hillsborough County, Florida (Tampa) will vote on a one-cent sales tax that would fund transit (75%) and roads (25%). Part of the funding would be used to build a new light rail line, which is the focus of campaigns on both sides.

The proponents are the usual well financed coalition of business, rail construction companies and consulting engineers, who could well profit from the program going forward.  read more »

Vancouver Olympic Villiage Development Becoming a Burden to Taxpayers

The former Olympic athlete's village in Vancouver is in the news again, but this time no one is celebrating. The billion dollar plus development, originally built to house athletes then converted to a residential housing development, was primarily financed by a loan from the city of Vancouver. Millennium Development Corp., developer of the project, currently owes the city $731 million. Millennium was scheduled to pay back the first $200 million by August 31st, but came up $8 million short.  read more »

Mayor Daley Calls it Quits

Chicago’s Mayor Daley has decided to end his political career. Chicago’s Mayor since 1989, in December he will break his father’s record as Chicago’s longest serving Chief Executive. No one knows the real reason Daley chose to hang it up, whether it’s his wife’s health or his low polling numbers.  read more »

McClatchy-Medill: Real $timulating News

I saw this story in the Omaha World Herald last week: Benefits of stimulus bill spread unevenly over U.S. As I read through it, I became increasingly impressed. The journalists start off by laying out who said what about the benefits of stimulus spending. They provide quotes and facts from the White House, the Congressional Budget Office, and Joe Biden’s spokesperson.  read more »

High Cost of Living Drives New York’s Fiscal Deficit with Washington

Between now and the end of the year, a hot political topic here in New York will be whether to let the Bush tax cuts expire for people in the highest income bracket, as the Obama administration proposes, or whether to extend those cuts for everyone. Advocates taking the latter position will correctly argue that higher rates will be especially harmful to New York, because of the large number of wealthy people, who live here.  read more »

Australian Opposition to Loosen Land for Housing

The opposition Liberal-National Coalition, locked in a close battle with the ruling Labor Party in Australia's Saturday elections, has adopted a housing policy to improve the nation's housing affordability. The policy would require states to monitor housing affordability and to release more land for development. There would also be a review of the efficacy of development charges.  read more »

Chicago Stimulus Program: A Family Affair

Even though cities all over the United States are running large deficits, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley feels that an investment in one particular charity is an investment for the future. After School Matters, founded by Mayor Daley’s wife Maggie Daley, funds l youth programs and helps low-income youth obtain job skills. It has received more than $46 million from the city since 2005, with nearly one-third of that total coming in 2009 alone ($15 million).  read more »


Rail Transit Expansion Reconsidered

More than two years ago we suggested in these pages that the era of multi-billion dollar system-building investments in urban rail transit is coming to an end. We wrote: "The 30-year effort to retrofit American cities with rail infrastructure, begun back in the Nixon Administration, appears to be just about over. The New Starts program is running out of cities that can afford or justify cost-effective rail transit investment.  read more »

Governance in Los Angeles: Back to the Basics

Few would want to be in Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's shoes. The Mayor, a tireless ally of public employee unions through his career is in the uncomfortable position of being forced to choose between his allies and the taxpayers. To his credit, as hard as it is, the Mayor seems inclined to favor the interests of the citizens who the city was established to serve in preference to the interests of those who are employed to serve the people.  read more »

A Spotlight on Chicago Machine Boss Alderman Burke

With President Obama’s approval ratings headed downward, there’s a growing interest in the powerful Cook County politicians that pushed Obama. James Peterson has written a three part series on Chicago Machine boss, Alderman Ed Burke. The series was written for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website.  read more »