Thursday, February 19, 2009

get a move on

I was listening to NPR the other day on the way to work and heard them discuss the approval of a new regional economic growth plan called "Agenda 360", whose stated goals are:

At the core of this plan are three transformational, long-range goals. By the year 2020, the goal of Agenda 360 is to:
  • Add 150,000 additional 20 to 34 year-olds in the region's workforce, an increase of 50 percent.
  • Add 200,000 net new jobs in the region, representing an estimated 50 percent increase in the historical job growth rate in the region.
  • Create economic self-sufficiency for all, incorporating the United Way goal of income at a minimum of 250 percent above the federal poverty level for all households.

Of course, being smack in the middle of that demographic at 26 years old, and as a designer being a member of the coveted creative class, my ears perk up. Does this mean my city loves me?

So naturally, I'm wondering what kinds of stimuli they're scheming in order to attract people like me to the region. I had hoped more emphasis might be put on public transit infrastructure, but I wasn't surprised to learn that the only reference to such is support of the anemic streetcar proposal already on the books and a vague reference to future LRT plans without any real call to action. For shame.

Young creative urban types thrive on public transit. You want to revitalize downtown, get these kinds of people interested in moving here? Public transit enables the lifestyle of the demographic you're targeting. In purely economic terms, it makes it more affordable to live and thus more attractive to people just out of college or at the beginning of their careers with lower incomes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Choo-choo time

It's about freaking time. Let's hope this money doesn't get siphoned off by local transportation authorities for more road projects.

Map of Potential HSR Built by the Stimulus

Thursday, February 12, 2009


So I have this odd habit of holding a glass with only three fingers sometimes. Apparently so does Barack Obama.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nothing new here

How do you stimulate an economy? A republican says cut taxes - help those who already have money keep more of it. A democrat says spend, spend - give money to people who don't have it. Nothing new here.

Republicans would like to see the economic stimulus package divided rather evenly between spending and tax cuts, since they don't think government spending is really the way to give the economy the 'ol jump start. The problem with that argument is that it assumes that a person has an income that is being taxed. Job losses were a record 598,000 in January alone. If you don't have a job, you can't spend money. If you don't spend money, the economy grows weaker, and businesses lose revenue. If businesses fail, more jobs are lost. It's a vicious circle. A tax cut doesn't do any good to someone who has little or no income to begin with.

On the other hand, if you create jobs by making money available for school construction or road repairs or new broadband infrastructure then, well, you've created jobs. Which in turn leads to more spending. Apparently the republicans do not agree. What got cut? Money for school construction, broadband initiatives, research, science, school nutrition. Typical things Republicans hate.

Check out Rachel Maddow's take on it. Oh, if only they could say "bullshit" on television.