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Cities Can’t Wait for Federal Help for Transportation Projects

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By Andrew Knochel for ASU Cronkite News Service

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton shows off bicycles that will be part of the city’s sharing program dubbed GRID Bike. Photo Credit: Andrew Knochel/ Cronkite News

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton shows off bicycles that will be part of the city’s sharing program dubbed GRID Bike.
Photo Credit: Andrew Knochel/ Cronkite News

Cities can’t wait for new federal funding and updated policies needed to advance transportation projects, Mayor Greg Stanton told officials from around the country [last week].

“Times have changed,” Stanton said in a speech to National Association of City Transportation Officials’ Designing Cities conference here. “The old relationship between cities and the federal government has broken down.”

Stanton pointed to the northbound expansion of Metro light rail and Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix Campus as city projects that were funded with no federal money.

Bike use was a hot topic at the conference, with representatives of several cities touting programs to add bike lanes, connect cyclists with transit options and tap into economic development that cyclists can fuel.

Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation commissioner of New York City and president of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, told the audience “we’re going to have to get more creative” when funding transportation projects.

“When you take a look at the condition of roads and streets and bridges across the country, it’s really in a state of disrepair,” she said. “In order to to be economically competitive globally we need to make that kind of investment.”

“Local measures pass as long as the revenues are dedicated in the lockbox to a specific purpose,” Sadik-Khan said. “The public is totally fine with supporting something if they know they’re gonna get X for it.”

Wylie Bearup, director of Phoenix’s Street Transportation Department, said the city has a variety of challenges trying to both update century-old infrastructure in the urban core and build new infrastructure at the edges with state and federal funding stagnant.

Read more at Capital Times

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