Broad Shoulders Update

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Archive for the ‘transportation’ tag

Is it: ?Faster, Stimulus! Spend! Spend!? or ?Think Before You Buy??

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James Oberstar, the Democrat from Minnesota who chairs the House Transportation Committee, has been sending out cranky letters to governors around the country who haven’t been spending their economic stimulus money fast enough on highway projects. Massachusetts and Virginia, which ranked 48th and 51st among the states, got letters last month. These states had done a poor job thus far to meet the purpose of the $787 billion stimulus package, which was to “create and sustain family-wage jobs,” he wrote. Gov. Deval Patrick wrote back, arguing that Massachusetts was identifying projects that could have a short-term stimulus effect as well as a long-term economic impact. Virginia. Gov. Tim Kaine took a different approach, noting that Virginia didnt have a wish list of shovel-ready projects that the stimulus would make actionable. New projects had to be identified through a public comment period, he said. Another state at the bottom of Oberstars list, Florida, reminded the Congressman that the money had to be funneled through counties and cities, all of which have their own regulations to comply with before a project can go forward.

Written by Rooflines

October 20th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Posted in from the news feed

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The biggest headlines on race, poverty

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By Kimbriell Kelly, Editor

I remember when I was a reporter and editors scrambled at the end of the year to do a big wrap-up of the year's biggest news stories. Invariably, most of the stories about poor folks and minorities didn't make the cut.

So this year, I've decided to make my own list.

There's a lot to choose from. You've got the national stuff like President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, Nobel Prize and the hits on his life from the pulpit. You also have the historic nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the East Coast controversies involving Skip Gates and some black children trying to swim at a pool in Philly.

There was a lot going on locally as well, from high foreclosures and the potential sale of Ebony magazine to Burr Oak Cemetery and the controversies surrounding our local politicians, namely Al Sanchez, Ald. Arenda Troutman, Todd Stroger and Sen. Roland Burris.

This is where you come in. I can't make this list alone. So what do you think should go on it?

Post a comment, click here or send an e-mail to editor@chicagoreporter.com.

Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

States Resist Medicaid Growth,” - Washington Post

The nation’s governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents.

The legislation the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve this week calls for the biggest expansion of Medicaid since its creation in 1965. Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, a patchwork state-federal insurance program targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and disabled people would effectively become a Medicare for the poor, a health-care safety net for all people with an annual income below $14,404.

Obama uses L.A. program as a model for going green,” - Los Angeles Times

Urging the government to “lead by example,” President Obama ordered federal agencies on Monday to set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy use, save water and recycle more.

The order calls for a 30% cut in vehicle fuel use by 2020, a 50% increase in recycling by 2015 and the implementation of high-efficiency building codes.

Housing Battle Reveals Post-Katrina Tensions,” -  The New York Times

CHALMETTE, La. — The parish of St. Bernard, a quiet, insular suburb just east of New Orleans, has in the end agreed to allow housing for low-income families.

But even though it is only a few hundred apartment units, it had to be ordered by a federal judge. The parish has fought desperately to prevent such housing and an influx of renters, at one point even approving a law that prohibited homeowners from renting to anyone other than a blood relative, before it was challenged and repealed.

Written by Keith Forest

October 6th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

Average family health insurance policy: $13,375, up 5%,” -  USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — An average family health insurance policy now costs more than some compact cars, and four in 10 companies will likely pass more of that expense on to workers, according to a closely watched survey of businesses released Tuesday.

The average cost of a family policy offered by employers was $13,375 this year, up 5% from 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found. By comparison, wages rose 3% over that period, the study said.

Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages Debated,” -   The New York Times

The debate over a tax on sugary soft drinks — billed as a way to fight obesity and provide billions for health care reform — is starting to fizz over.

President Obama has said it is worth considering. The chief executive of Coca-Cola calls the idea outrageous, while skeptics point to political obstacles and question how much of an impact it would really have on consumers.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Written by Keith Forest

September 18th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Today in Equity

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Weekly equity news

Oakland Housing Authority creates loophole to use Section 8 funds for public housing,” - East Bay Journal

Oakland - The disposition plan for over 1,600 public housing units owned and operated by the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), signals the end of public housing as we know it if other Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) follow suit and switch to the Section 8 model being promoted by the OHA for it’s public housing program.

In a nut shell, the OHA wants to determine which of it’s small scattered public housing sites that are occupied with very low-income households, will be sold off, so that the proceeds can be used to build much larger mixed income housing projects for higher income residents, like the Hope Vl mixed income housing projects that have displaced the poor all across the nation.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Outside the Superstar Spotlight, Minorities Struggle With Obesity,” - Washington Post

As any sports fan knows, this time of year is like Christmas in September. The NFL season is about to start, and the speed, power and grace of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is on display. The U.S. Open is in full swing, with Serena Williams tearing through the field as usual. Baseball is heading toward the playoffs; the superhuman Albert Pujols has a shot at the Triple Crown. The majestic Michael Jordan was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame and it won’t be long before Kobe and LeBron are back on the floor.

Yet here is the irony I couldn’t escape as I sat in front of my television last week, taking it all in: The overall fitness level of the minority groups those superstars represent is appalling. By any measure that matters, blacks and Hispanics are in worse shape than whites — who, of course, are firmly in the grip of the obesity epidemic themselves.

Written by Keith Forest

September 15th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

The Movement for Transportation Equity

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This post was written by Victor Rubin, PolicyLink Vice President for Research and author of the new report, “All Aboard! Making Equity and Inclusion Central to Federal Transportation Policy”

Of all the ways federal spending affects our lives, federal transportation policy has perhaps the most permanent and tangible impact – it shapes how our communities are laid out, how our economy is structured, and how we live our lives day to day.

Making sure all communities are best-served by our federal transportation policy, however, is a tricky business. Lots of powerful interests are aligned to continue the status quo – more new highways and relatively little investment in public transit, biking and walking.

That’s why the national movement for transportation equity is so important – we need to have our voices strong and united to stand up against the entrenched interests.

In this new report by the PolicyLink Center for Infrastructure Equity, we highlight three groups that have been particularly effective at bringing the voice of local residents to the policy table.

  • The Transportation for America (T4A) campaign is an alliance of more than 200 housing, business, environmental, public health, transportation, equitable development, and other organizations, as well as a growing number of government officials, which seeks to shape the 2009 federal authorization to build a fundamentally better national transportation system. The T4A campaign advocates for much greater financial support for transit and for support of transit oriented development, and proposes these priorities in the context of an overhaul of the federal transportation system.
  • The Transportation Equity Network (TEN) has become a powerful voice of organized residents in cities and regions demanding a more equitable transportation system. Many of the TEN member groups have advocated in their home regions for greater access to jobs, training, and business opportunities in transportation construction for low-income communities and communities of color. Recently, TEN has developed a comprehensive platform for the 2009 federal authorization, including strong support for public transit.
  • Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT) is a new coalition of grassroots advocates for transit, coordinated by the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles, home to that city’s Bus Riders Union. TRPT brings environmental justice and civil rights priorities to the federal authorization and takes a strong position in support of significantly greater federal funding for transit operating costs, as well as capital improvements, with a preference for the bus systems that serve more working-class riders.

Do you have other stars of the transportation equity movement we should know about? Share them in the comments!

Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

A Green Way to Dump Low-Tech Electronics,” -  The New York Times

Thousands still in FEMA trailers,” -  USA TODAY

The Metro Crash: A Nation’s Aging Transit System,” - Times Magazine

Written by Keith Forest

June 30th, 2009 at 3:43 pm

PolicyLink statement on the Federal Transportation Authorization

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The 775-page transportation authorization bill introduced in the House this week, offers a broad, reform-minded framework for fixing our nation’s transportation system. However, more must be done to ensure an equitable, smart, and green transportation system that provides real, affordable options for all Americans.
To help you stay abreast of the transportation authorization, we are hosting a conference call on Friday June 26th from 2:30 to 3:30 pm EST (11:30 am to 12:30 pm PDT), where PolicyLink, Transportation for America, and the Transportation Equity Network will break down the equity opportunities in the new transportation authorization bill.

To RSVP for the call, visit http://www.PolicyLink.org/AnEquitableFuture

“This bill provides a promising foundation for real transportation reform in America, but we must do more to ensure this bill promotes true access to opportunity for lower-income people and communities of color,” said Radhika Fox, PolicyLink Federal Policy Director. “While the House bill includes some positive provisions, more work needs to be done to ensure that this $450 billion dollar investment creates communities of opportunity for all Americans.”

We need far more detail, for instance, on whether low-income people and people of color will have meaningful access to good jobs and job training programs in the transportation sector. Most of the sections of the bill that cover these issues are blank with details “to be supplied.” In addition, we need stronger provisions to make sure cities and regions can use federal transportation resources to help cash-strapped transit agencies with support for the costs of current operations, not just capital construction.

The foundation for much-needed reform is in place, but the hard work of hammering out the details to ensure our nation’s under-served communities benefit still remains. PolicyLink stands ready to support members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House leadership to craft a transformative bill that will foster equity and inclusion in America.

We also encourage you to visit the Transportation for America and Transportation Equity Network for more information.

FRIDAY: Transportation Conf Call

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With the release this week of the 775-page transportation re-authorization bill, the starting gun has officially sounded on the effort to create real transportation reform in America.

During a conference call Friday, June 26, from 2:30-3:30 pm EDT (11:30 am to 12:30 pm PDT), we will break down the equity opportunities in the new transportation authorization bill introduced in Congress this week – which could include billions in funding for low-income communities and communities of color.

RSVP for the call here

Panelists will include:

Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

Dirt-poor farmer: Living off the land in Oakland, and watching every dollar,” - San Francisco Chronicle

  ”New Rail Lines Spur Urban Revival,” - The New York Times

Obama Blueprint Deepens Federal Role in Markets,” - Washington Post

Written by Keith Forest

June 18th, 2009 at 8:30 pm