Presentation on theme: "Sprawl & Fragmentation A Formula for Decline Part II: Policies & Solutions David Rusk Building One Southwestern Pennsylvania Forum Penn State Fayette,"— Presentation transcript:
Sprawl & Fragmentation A Formula for Decline Part II: Policies & Solutions David Rusk Building One Southwestern Pennsylvania Forum Penn State Fayette, Eberly Campus May 16, 2014
Who controls “rules of the game?” Federal government Rights as national citizens Inter-state issues (e.g. clean air and water) Strings attached to federal grants-in-aid State of Pennsylvania How local governments are organized What they are empowered to do (e.g. taxation, land use planning and zoning, etc.)
Federal policies For decades Federal “urban policy” may have targeted central cities,
Federal policies but for decades most Federal dollars have promoted sprawling new development in exclusive outer suburbs.
Federal policies Our communities – the streetcar-era suburbs, post-WWII suburbs, smaller, once prosperous mining & industrial towns – have been neglected … and today most are struggling.
Reforming federal policies More money not necessarily answer: creating stable, sustainable, inclusive communities less about spending more money than about how money is spent and how policies are retooled to promote better outcomes for our communities and our regions.
Federal reform principles Promote regional cooperation & economic development: Current funding patterns and criteria do more to pit towns against each other than work together. Funding should target projects and communities that participate in regional plans and comply with regional goals for fair housing, sustainable development, and smart growth. Moreover, regional plans should demonstrate that they are designed to promote job creation, economic growth, and the overall competiveness of the region.
Federal reform principle 1 Reward relative economic and social diversity: Our older, more built-out towns much more reflective of region’s economic & racial mix than either central cities or outer suburbs. Affirmatively recognize our towns as examples of region’s most open & diverse neighborhoods and communities. Actively reward & help stabilize our diverse towns thru revising grant-in-aid rating factors rather than waiting until community becomes overwhelmingly poor or re-segregated or taking only punitive approach to promoting diversity (e.g. relying solely on anti-discrimination enforcement actions).
Federal reform principle 2 Promote regional cooperation & economic development: Current funding patterns and criteria do more to pit towns against each other than work together. Funding should target projects and communities that participate in regional plans and comply with regional goals for fair housing, sustainable development, and smart growth. Regional plans should demonstrate that they are designed to promote job creation, economic growth, and overall regional competiveness.
Federal reform principle 3 Consider a community’s relative fiscal capacity: * Tying federal projects to local matching funds unintentionally continues patterns of regional disparities by rewarding communities that have more tax revenue & fewer social needs. * This further encourages race for tax “ratables,” creating destructive competition between towns for tax base & undermining regional cooperation and joint planning.
Key federal policy reform topics Transportation (reauthorize but reform Surface Transportation Act) Water infrastructure funding/Clean Water Act Housing and school policy
Transportation Connect transportation planning with land use, housing & environmental planning thru Metropolitan Planning Organizations (e.g. Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission) Implement broad “Fix It First” policy Require transportation funds to create more racially & economically integrated communities Increase older suburbs representation on MPOs
Water & sewer infrastructure policy Support Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund Act: EPA & Congressional Budget Office estimate $300- $500 billion funding gap for next 20 years to upgrade aging systems, many in older suburbs and declining, smaller mining and industrial towns. Have EPA grants-in-aid guided by regional planning thru MPOs like federal transportation funds Reward diverse communities with priority for federal water & sewer grant-in-aid funds
Housing & school policy reforms Incentivize local & state inclusionary housing policies through federal grant-in-aid and mortgage finance policies & programs Reform HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) to direct greater use in higher opportunity, usually exclusionary towns & help stabilize older, already racially & economically diverse towns Apply same standards to US Treasury Department Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program Commit US Education Department to follow HUD-DOT- EPA push for mixed income neighborhoods
State “rules of the game” Pennsylvania legislature & governor have constitutional authority to direct state’s many “little boxes” to act as one if state leaders had the political will.
State “rules of the game” Pennsylvania General Assembly will not formally merge “little boxes,” and local voters will never vote for meaningful mergers.
State “rules of the game” The Challenge: how to get many “little boxes” to act as one “Big Box” for critical problems that cross municipal lines.
State “rules of the game” The Problem: county government doesn’t exercise municipal powers except through voluntary inter-governmental pacts. A “little box” can opt out or even veto pact for all.
State “rules of the game” The Solution: a state law authorizing county government to designate multi-municipal “communities of common interest”
State “rules of the game” If jointly-developed plan is not approved by super-majority of local councils and boards, County holds referendum among all voters in “community of common interest” who vote as one ballot box (no “little box” opt out or veto).
State “rules of the game” If plan is approved either by super-majority of elected local governing bodies or by majority of voters, the plan goes into effect throughout “community of common interest.” People have exercised democratic “home rule” powers. Size of “home” has been expanded to fit multi-municipal scope of policy problem or service need addressed.
Your challenge None of federal or state reforms can be achieved unless you organize your power to make them happen. That is Building One Pennsylvania’s mission.
Acting as One does not guarantee progress, but “little boxes” going own way perpetuates stagnation & disparities.
Building One Southwestern Pennsylvania Forum on Regional Opportunity, Sustainability and Economic Growth May 16, 2014