Saturday, April 18, 2009

Highway Update, and Micropolises

First, an Obama-driven update on the highway projects in the stimulus bill, based on an article in the Los Angeles Times. Obama noted recently that highway projects are "ahead of schedule and under budget". The article goes on to point out some of the chief reason
Of course, in California, some of these highway investments are going to rural areas such as a bridge in Mendocino County, rather all going to choked urban areas in desperate need (In full disclosure, millions are also going to the 710). And the investment in small-town, McCain America brings me to the second part of this week's blogpost...micropolises.

A micropolis is, according to C. Kenneth Orski, a area neither suburban nor the rural, often centering around a city of around 10,000, and it's the only portion of my key stakeholder segment of my policy presentation not yet covered in this blog. Believe it, I actually learned about this on AIMZones...proving that they are actually useful for something more than celebrity dish. Since metropolitan areas are usually defined by counties, defined micropolises appear in places with small counties, namely the South and Midwest, though in reality micropolises dot the entire country (for example, Parlier, CA, might qualify as a micropolis, but as it's in Fresno County, it's automatically-and unfairly-grouped into the Fresno Metro Area just as Needles is into the San Bernardino). As I stated in the presentation, both micropolises and metropolises will benefit from the stimulus package. Micropolises will benefit from the money that is being sunk into rural roads and rural broadband, and perhaps some micropolises will one day become metropolises, as Visalia did.

By the way, I reopened most of my Purple Backpack Polls--they're open until the end of the month. From the Occidental intramural basketball tournament, I'm the Ferdey coach for the Purple Backpack Politics Blog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Key Stakeholder: The Baby Boom

I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel, folks. Talk of infrastructure is dormant at the moment, with the media coverage focusing on QEII's iPod. It's looking more like the Sudeikas-Armisen Act (a.k.a. Obama's second infrastructure package, the one with High-Speed Rail, a mass transit bailout and more funding for NEW road/bridge projects) is not going to even brought up due to a lack of political capital stemming from the worries of men like Evan Bayh. The transit news is more regional right now--for example, the Los Angeles County MTA has decided a route for the Expo Line--with a view towards 2030, when I'll be 41. Due to those limitations, I am going to "freebase" on a key stakeholder in the infrastructure debate--the Baby Boom. The political culture and the aging of the Baby Boom affects many disparate policies in this country, infrastructure chief among them. The Baby Boom grew up in the 1950s and 60s, at a time when cities were ripping up their streetcar lines and not replacing them with efficient busings. Couple that with the White Flight occuring in the 1960s, and you get a disdain for mass transit (The man pictured at right has riden mass transit in his hometown on a handful of times). It's unlikely that we will get substantially better mass transit in cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta until the Baby Boom changes its attitude about riding it...perhaps coming at a time when a large percentage of dah boom is unable to drive from cataracts/fat around the eyes.

Thank you to Jeremiah Axelrod and Mike Shedlock