Infrastructure Update: Transportation, Land Use and Tolling, Call for Ideas

Polly Trottenberg

Federal Transportation Bill

ULI’s multiyear program to engage in critical federal transportation policy discussions reached another milestone earlier this month when representatives of ULI witnessed the signing of MAP-21, the two-year reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program. The bill, which ends nearly three years of short-term extensions, received bipartisan support in Congress.

ULI hosted members and transportation stakeholders at a reception in Washington, D.C., on June 28, the eve of the announcement of the conference agreement in Congress. Special guest Polly Trottenberg, U.S. undersecretary for transportation, shared her thoughts about the bill and opportunities to shape implementation.

“It was exciting to gather people at the reception and to attend the signing ceremony at the White House,” said Rachel MacCleery, ULI vice president for infrastructure. “Now another chapter in ULI’s engagement on federal transportation policy begins.” Read the ULI statement about the new transportation bill.

ULI Explores What Tolling Will Mean for Land Use

As the country turns to tolling and other ways of raising transportation revenues, what will it mean for land use patterns? ULI convened experts in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco to explore how vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) fees, tolls, and managed lanes could affect decision making around housing, retail, office, and industrial locations.

Some experts expect mechanisms like the VMT fee to accelerate trends toward compact development in mixed-use nodes, whereas managed toll lanes could push development outward. “There are more questions than answers right now,” said Alexander Quinn of AECOM, who chaired the San Francisco workshop, “but it’s clear that people should be talking a lot more about the connection between transportation funding and land use.” Expect a findings report this fall.

Infrastructure 2012: Spotlight on Leadership Speaker Series Wraps Up

More than a dozen ULI district councils have hosted conversations about infrastructure priorities and investments, and the need for new kinds of infrastructure leadership, as part of the Infrastructure 2012 speaker series program.

ULI Nashville held a program in late June. “This was a great opportunity to bring Nashville’s public and private leaders together to talk about funding strategies for our infrastructure priorities, including the new bus rapid transit corridor we have planned,” said Marty Heflin, chair of the ULI Nashville Infrastructure Committee. “Sustainable development in Nashville will depend on more transportation choices.”

Learn more about the report and district council programs here.

Infrastructure in Urban Land

“HealthLine Drives Growth in Cleveland” A bus rapid transit line has helped unlock the development potential of Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Learn more about this 2011 ULI Awards for Excellence–Americas winner.

“Bringing Human Scale to China’s Cities” ULI Nichols Prize laureate Peter Calthorpe recommends changes to Chinese transportation networks. “Streets used to be filled with people when the streets were more safe and reasonable to walk on,” Calthorpe writes. “You can look outside . . . just look at how frightful the pedestrian experience is.”

Call for Ideas: Special Assessments for Transit

Do you know examples of business improvement districts or special taxing districts supporting transit service? We are writing an article about the use of special assessment or taxing districts to fund transit investments. Special taxes on commercial property have been used, for example, to help fund Metro’s Silver Line in northern Virginia. We need your input on other recent applications of this approach! Please send leads to us via e-mail at

For more information about any of these items, contact us at, or call 202-624-7162.

Join the ULI network. Contact or call 800-321-5011 to learn more.

Read Past Infrastructure Updates

2012 Archive

2011 Archive

2010 Archive

2009 Archive