The Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young released an annual report on Monday looking at how governments globally plan and build key infrastructure projects, and repeated warning of recent years that America is falling behind as budgets are cut in tough times.
But it added, “Despite fiscal constraints, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Salt Lake City have successfully moved projects forward” — and suggests that other areas look at how they did it.
And how did we do it?
In Utah, the study praised how cities, counties and planning agencies in the Salt Lake metro area backed the Utah Transit Authority’s expansion of its TRAX light rail and its FrontRunner commuter rail — including supporting voter approval of a sales tax increase to help fund them, and cutting bus service to afford expansion of rail as the recession cut sales-tax revenues.
The whole article is worth a read. It talks about the willingness of West Valley and other communities to eat the short-term cost of rail and infrastructure development by keeping an eye on future sustainable development and economic benefits. Sweet Moses, sometimes it really is that easy: think of the long-term, not just immediate, effects of policy and it becomes remarkable how clear your course of action is.
UPDATE: Whoa, we also were praised for Salt Lake's "all access" roads:
Salt Lake County’s rules for designing roads are among the nation’s best in providing access to all users: bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike.
So says the National Complete Streets Coalition, which ranked the county’s streets policy 15th in a recent report examining 200 such policies across the United States.
...so I take it this means people will stop freaking the hell out over the proposed multi-use green area at 2nd South and 11th East? No? Oh well.