By Gary Fineout
In the months following the 2010 elections, three Republican governors scrapped plans for high speed rail lines in their states.
Ohio and Wisconsin rejected their shares of high speed rail funding first, followed by Florida, where the decision by Gov. Rick Scott to reject $2.4 billion for a line linking Tampa to Orlando sparked an outcry from business leaders and politicians from both parties.
Is it a trend for the future?
Homes with ornate entry foyers, formal living and dining rooms and large, outdoor kitchen spaces may be a common sight on home and garden television shows.
In reality, though, they are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and it’s a trend that could impact the direction of smart growth in the future.
By Judy Newman
Are businesses shifting from the suburbs to downtowns?
Prestigious addresses at lower prices may be luring companies back to big-city downtown digs for now. But in the long run, price will not be the only factor determining where businesses locate. An easier commute, environmentally-sensitive buildings, and good-quality housing and neighborhood amenities may also play an important role in office market decisions in many cities, experts say.
Retail development has been and will remain scarce, though redevelopment of existing retail space will continue to evolve.
The retail sector has taken a beating over the past few years, leading to a 13 percent vacancy rate in 2010, according to George Ratiu, an economist at the National Association of REALTORS®. Consumers are only now beginning to cautiously pry open their wallets and purchase not only what they need — but what they want.
Smart Growth and the Municipal Bottom Line
It’s time for a critical eye on the bottom line. Municipal governments are faced with ever-increasing demands on their budgets and trying to make ends meet as property tax revenues aren’t at levels previous to the recession, sales tax receipts have just started to climb, and lingering unemployment rates continue to challenge income tax revenues. However, let’s not miss a unique opportunity to meet these challenges.
Can smart growth policies help?
REIT apartment projects respond to growing demand for rental housing
It may take several years before single-family home construction starts to climb again, thanks in large part to overbuilding during the boom years of the sub-prime mortgage craze. But that doesn’t mean all housing construction is flat.