Infrastructure Update: Compact Development Forum in Minnesota, Federal Transportation Bill Uncertainty

Business on Board

Forum: Infrastructure for Compact Development in the Suburbs. Join ULI in Minneapolis on October 11 for an exciting forum exploring infrastructure opportunities and obstacles to compact development in the suburbs! Learn how public and private leaders have worked together to retrofit traffic-heavy highways, experiment with new approaches to parking, overcome jurisdictional barriers, and capitalize on existing assets in order to build in more compact ways in the suburbs.

This is your opportunity to learn:

  • How partners are getting it done, from funding and financing to coordination among the jurisdictions and the public and private sectors;
  • New funding and financing strategies; and
  • Lessons from experts and real-world projects being built across the country.

Speakers will include Tom Murphy, ULI senior resident fellow; Sue Haigh, chair of the Metropolitan Council; and many others.

Transportation and Infrastructure in Congress. September 30 is an important day for surface transportation. On that date, unless there is congressional action, the last extension of SAFETEA-LU is set to expire. In an unsettling coincidence, authorization to collect all but a few cents of the federal motor fuels tax will also expire September 30. Neither the House nor Senate has put forward detailed language for a new federal transportation bill, and as we have written in this Urban Land article, the outline proposals released by each chamber are far apart in important details, including timing and funding levels.

It might once have seemed unthinkable that Congress would let both SAFETEA-LU and the federal gasoline tax lapse, but the partial shutdown of federal aviation programs in August set an unnerving precedent. When Congress returns from recess, it will have just 11 days to take action, a timeline that is making state transportation officials very nervous.

Also looming are decisions—and potential battles—concerning appropriations for important federal agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency. FY2012 appropriations are due October 1, and the potential exists for government shutdowns if appropriations are not approved.

Finally, infrastructure may feel the squeeze in the debt reduction plan being prepared by the debt supercommittee, which is charged with releasing its findings by Thanksgiving.

Business on Board. The Seattle business community recently banded together with transit and environmental advocates to support new funding for transit. “Seattle and Suburbs Find Innovative Ways to Save Transit” is the first in a new Urban Land series Business on Board that will explore how the business community is advancing transit in markets across the nation.

Infrastructure at Fall Meeting. The 2011 ULI Fall Meeting and Urban Land Expo, to be held in Los Angeles from October 25 to 28, will kick off a celebration of ULI’s 75th anniversary. Exciting infrastructure panels to be held at the Fall Meeting include a look at land use development spin-offs from bus rapid transit, an exploration of ULI in action on infrastructure across the country, and an assessment of likely transportation policy directions.