Monday, February 23, 2009

Meeting Hints at Greater Transit Funding from Obama Administration

I was reading through an article on Mayor Ralph Becker snagging stimulus money for Salt Lake City and noticed a passage that stood out near the bottom:
Becker on Friday also huddled with Obama's Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, whom the mayor says suggested Salt Lake City's transit plans dovetail with the White House's so-called Livable Communities Initiative. There is "no question" that will translate to a bigger Beltway bankroll in the future for streetcars and a downtown TRAX circulator, Becker said.
Salt Lake City has a massive plan for expansion that includes five new transit lines and they have started recently talking about streetcars. I've seen a number of different livable communities initiatives in the past including an old FTA version and one from when Al Gore was Vice President but hadn't heard of a current one. Has anyone else heard of this initiative? I know LaHood mentioned it in his confirmation hearings but we haven't heard many more details except on the White House Urban Policy Page it states:
Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities: Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. President Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.
If this is what the Obama administration is going to follow, we can see Mayor Becker's comments as a sign that they could be looking to act on it. Let's hope they do.

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