Sunday, May 01, 2005

The interchange index

Smart growth states are pulling back, being a bit more obsequious and targeted as more comprehensive initiatives struggle in a tough political climate. Current regimes prefer to suggest voluntary compliance and provide technical assistance and promote things that are selling in the marketplace anyway, like transit-oriented development. More conventional development keeps coming, however, and states have to deal with it. In Massachusetts, state transportation planners agreed to study a new interchange for Interstate 93 in Tewskbury, which would serve a planned 750,000 square-foot retail and entertainment center proposed by the Virginia-based Mills Corp., the shopping-center giant trying to establish a foothold in New England. The local political establishment badly wants the commercial development for its revenues, and the administration is respectful of local control, but Romney's Office of Commonwealth Development has also made it plain that access roads to industrial parks and other state-sponsored roadway improvements serving conventional suburban development are largely a thing of the past: state aid is being channeled to places that embrace smart growth principles. Cities and towns can't get housing funding unless they prove their smart-growth mettle.


Post a Comment

<< Home