The Antiplanner is in Washington DC today to participate in a debate over the Purple light-rail line–or, as I like to call it, the Purple Money Eater. In conjunction with this debate, the Maryland Public Policy Institute will release a detailed critique of the proposed low-capacity transit line; Antiplanner readers can download a preview today.
Predictably, rail supporters are claiming that the supposedly evil Koch Brothers “dispatched” me to fight this rail project. In reality, I doubt that light rail is even on the Koch Brothers’ radar screen, since there is no light rail in Kansas (where they are headquartered) and no proposals for any as far as I know. (Could it be that’s not a coincidence?)
We’ll see what the rail supporters say tonight. If you are in the DC area, I hope to see you in Silver Spring at 7 pm.
The Antiplanner was in Austin yesterday speaking at a Texas Public Policy Foundation conference for Texas legislators. I gave two presentations, both of which are available for download.
First, I talked about how Texas can keep the “Texas miracle” going by protecting property rights (8-MB PowerPoint show). I made three recommendations:
- Don’t give counties the authority to regulate land uses. Texas may be the only state that doesn’t allow counties to zone, and this keeps city zoning from being too restrictive because developers can simply avoid city rules by developing outside of the cities.
- Relax the financial requirements for municipal utility districts. Municipal utility districts allow developers to borrow funds to install infrastructure and then charge homebuyers and other property owners a fee for 30 years to repay the bonds. After the financial crisis, the Texas legislature required developers to put up more of their own funds for infrastructure, leading to a significant increase in housing prices. I argued that the risk of defaults was worth it to keep housing affordable.
- Retain city authority to annex land without the permission of the residents being annexed. Most debates over urban sprawl are really debates over who gets to collect taxes. In states where cities have a hard time annexing land, they use other tools, such as urban-growth boundaries, to limit land development. While annexations without voter permission are controversial, the alternative is worse. However, Texas cities are also allowed to have control over certain “extraterritorial” lands outside their city limits. This does not seem to be needed to keep housing affordable and eliminating that control would relieve many of the debates over annexation.
The Antiplanner got to spend the end of 2014 cleaning up this web site when the server suddenly shut it down for having malware. While it turns out the offending files had been there undetected for nearly three years, and no one in the industry had even discovered the malware until about a month ago, the server company felt it was enough of an emergency to shut down all my web sites without any notification.
When I contacted them, they sent me a list of malware files, which I deleted in about an hour. They then took nearly 24 more hours before re-enabling the site. This is annoying, but it seems to be standard practice in the server industry. In any case, we’re back on line for 2015.
The Antiplanner wishes you safe travels and an enjoyable holiday with just the right amount of white stuff. I’ll be back next week.
The Antiplanner’s presentation on autonomous vehicles, mass transit, and long-range transportation planning is now available for download. It’s about 20 MB.
Tonight (October 16), at 7 pm, the Antiplanner will speak about the Tide light rail in the Virginia Beach Central Public Library Auditorium. (The event was originally to take place elsewhere but the location has changed at the last minute.) If you are in the Hampton Roads area, I hope to see you there.
The Antiplanner is flying to San Antonio today for the first leg of a three-city trip to talk about smart growth and rail transit. Early next week will find me in St. Petersburg, followed by three days in Austin.
Tomorrow–Thursday, September 4–I’ll be speaking to the San Antonio Tea Party about what the city should do now that it has decided not to build the streetcar. The meeting is from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Old San Francisco Steakhouse, 10223 Sahara Drive.
I’ll try to post St. Petersburg and Austin meetings here soon.
The Antiplanner is in the Twin Cities this week giving presentations on land-use and transportation issues in that region. Here are the sessions, most of which are open to the public:
- “Thrive Planning vs. the American Dream,” sponsored by the SW Metro Tea Party, Chanhassen Recreation Center, 2310 Coulter Blvd., Chanhassen, 7:00-8:30 pm, Monday, August 4
- “Rebalancing Transportation Planning,” sponsored by Expose the Truth, Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St., St. Paul, 5:00-8:00 pm, Tuesday, August 5
- “Transportation and Your Business,” sponsored by the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce (must pre-register), Harvest Grill, 12800 Bunker Prairie Road, Coon Rapids, 11:15 am to 1:15 pm, Wednesday, August 6
- “The Folly of High-Speed Rail,” Goodhue County Fairgrounds, 8:00 pm, Friday, August 8
By coincidence, the Antiplanner’s faithful ally, Wendell Cox, will also be speaking in Minneapolis about the Thrive plan at 7:30 am, Wednesday, August 6 at the Doubletree Hotel Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd., pre-registration will save money if done by noon, August 5.
If you are in the Twin Cities area this week, I hope to see you at one of these events.
The Antiplanner is attending a conference on driverless cars near San Francisco this week. The first session, on Monday afternoon, dealt with the process of developing standards and best practices.
In 2009, when I was writing Gridlock, my main recommendation was that someone should convene a working group to write such standards. I suggested that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials lead the process, but I should have known that a better group would be the Society of Automotive Engineers. In any case, I’m glad it is getting done.
Today there will be a session on implications of driverless cars for regional planning. Since most regional planners seem stuck in the early twentieth century, it will be interesting to see what the presenters propose.
The Antiplanner is heading to the Cincinnati area today to talk about sustainability planning, toll roads, and streetcars. The meeting is apparently open only to homebuilders, but if you are there, I look forward to seeing you.
On Sunday, April 27, the Antiplanner decided to try to do something about the 58,000 phony users (sometimes called “sploggers”) who have signed up on this site, so I installed a new plug-in. Today, I received a few comments on this morning’s post about Christchurch, but this evening, that post is gone. Last week’s post about traffic in Ethiopia is also gone.
I don’t know if the new plug-in caused the problems or if my server somehow lost the posts in a back up. I checked Google’s cache, the Wayback machine, and other sources; Google remembered that there was a Christchurch post but no longer had it in its cache. I apologize for any problems and hope that more posts don’t disappear in the future.
If anyone cares, I can probably re-create the Christchurch and Ethiopia posts, though of course I can’t re-create everyone’s wonderful comments. Are any other posts missing? Has anyone seen any other problems on this site I should be aware of?