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ReConnecting America


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ReConnecting America

  1. 1. GETTING FROM HERE TO THERE<br />Next Steps for Building a Thriving, Connected Super Region between New Orleans and Baton Rouge<br />John Robert Smith<br />President and CEO<br />Reconnecting America<br />CONNECT Policy Forum<br />Baton Rouge, LA<br />July 21, 2011<br />
  2. 2. At Reconnecting America, we help transform promising ideas into thriving communities – where transportation choices make it easy to get from place to place, where businesses flourish, and where people from all walks of life can afford to live, work and visit.<br />
  3. 3. Our Partners:<br />Creating a national marketplace for TOD, working with cities, transit agencies, developers, investors + communities<br />Improving practice through technical assistance, research + policy reform<br />On-line Clearinghouse of TOD + Transit Best Practices<br />A coalition with over 500 members of business, housing, environment, development, labor, health, aging and transportation interests<br />Campaign Focus on the Next Federal Transportation Bill<br />Transportation investments that are economically sound, respond to markets and improve the lives of people<br />
  4. 4. RA/CONNECT policy briefs<br />
  5. 5. Brief #1: One Great Region<br />The Baton Rouge/New Orleans Super Region<br />
  6. 6. Sustainable Regional Development<br />Sustainable Regional Development means growing in a way that: <br /><ul><li>preserves and strengthens the region’s existing neighborhoods
  7. 7. improves job access and economic opportunity for individuals and businesses
  8. 8. ensures that all residents have access to quality public transportation.</li></li></ul><li>Regional Challenges<br /><ul><li>A small portion of residents live near high quality</li></ul> public transit<br /><ul><li>Many of the regions’ neighborhoods need revitalization
  9. 9. Traffic congestion threatens to dampen the </li></ul> quality-of-life and economic prosperity of <br /> communities<br />
  10. 10. Lower Vehicle Ownership than National Average<br />6 Housing and Transportation Affordability Index, Center for Transit-Oriented Development and Center for Neighborhood Technology,<br />3 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, 2005-2009, for the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans<br />7<br />
  11. 11. Housing Affordability – New OrleansHousing only Housing and Transportation<br />8<br />
  12. 12. Housing Affordability – Baton RougeHousing only Housing and Transportation<br />9<br />
  13. 13. Regional Opportunities<br /><ul><li>Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan is the foundation
  14. 14. Region needs: </li></ul>Improved connections between the state’s largest metro areas<br />Improved transit within parishes<br />Affordable, walkable transit-oriented communities<br />
  15. 15. Brief #2: Connected and Ready to Compete<br />“People have to go back and forth between Baton Rouge and New Orleans for meetings all the time, and when you drive you basically lose an hour of your life. Then you have to go back, so that is two hours, and if there is traffic it is three. If you were on the train you could be working.”<br />-Dr. Karen DeSalvo <br />New Orleans Health Commissioner<br />
  16. 16. Businesses and Employers Win with Sustainable Regional Development<br /><ul><li>Improved productivity and reduced travel costs for businesses
  17. 17. Increased innovation
  18. 18. Access to an expanded and diversified labor pool
  19. 19. Opportunity for real estate development
  20. 20. Improved mobility for tourists between and within cities</li></li></ul><li>Job Clusters in the Super Region<br />46% of LA’s jobs are located in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans metropolitan areas. Within the 7 parishes that are intersected by the proposed rail line, 40% of jobs are located in East Baton Rouge Parish, 27% are in Jefferson Parish and 23% are located in Orleans Parish. <br />(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 Local Employment Dynamics Data) <br />
  21. 21. Public Transit Supports Economic Growth<br /><ul><li>In regions with fixed-guideway transit systems, an average of 25% of jobs are located near transit
  22. 22. In regions with extensive fixed-guideway transit systems that connect all major employment centers, as many as 45% of jobs can be near transit
  23. 23. In the New Orleans region, just 19% of jobs are located near existing streetcar stops</li></li></ul><li>Local Governments and Communities Win with Sustainable Regional Development<br /><ul><li>Reduced household transportation costs reinvested in the local economy
  24. 24. Efficient public investments
  25. 25. Higher property value and increased public revenue</li></li></ul><li>Brief #3: Getting from Here to There<br />Key Implementation Principles<br /><ul><li>Engage a diverse range of </li></ul> stakeholders<br /><ul><li>Regional agencies
  26. 26. Private sector leaders
  27. 27. Nonprofit and philanthropic
  28. 28. organizations
  29. 29. General public
  30. 30. Keep the “big picture” in mind when making investment and development decisions
  31. 31. Ensure that plans, policies, and investments benefit everyone</li></li></ul><li>Next Steps<br />Expand Education and Outreach in Transit and Transit-Oriented Development<br />Timeline:Near-term, ongoing<br />Key Actors: The CONNECT Coalition with support from City and Parish staff, MPOs, Elected Leaders, Capital Area Transit, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Philanthropic Community<br />
  32. 32. Next Steps<br />2. Develop a Commuter Rail Implementation Plan for the Baton Rouge to New Orleans Rail Project<br />Timeline:Near-term<br />Key Actors: Louisiana Intrastate Rail Compact<br />
  33. 33. Next Steps<br />3. Form a Regional Commuter Rail Advisory Council<br />Timeline:Medium-term (1-3 years)<br />Key Actors: Convened by the Intrastate Rail Compact. Membership could include City and Parish staff such as Public Works and Community Development Directors, Redevelopment Agency Executive Directors, Capital Region Planning Commission, Regional Planning Commission, Capital Area Transit, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, Louisiana Department of Transportation, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater New Orleans, Inc., Southern Louisiana High-Speed Rail Commission, a representative from the CONNECT Coalition, a leader from the faith-based community or other public groups, freight rail owners (CN and KCS) and Amtrak<br />
  34. 34. Next Steps<br />4. Prioritize Investments and Policies that Improve Walkability and Bicycle Access<br />Timeline: Near term, ongoing<br />Key Actors:Cities and Parishes, Capital Region Planning Commission, Regional Planning Commission, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and possibly State Legislature<br />
  35. 35. Next Steps<br />5. Develop a Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Plan<br />Timeline: Medium-term (1-3 years)<br />Key Actors: Louisiana Intrastate Rail Compact in partnership with City and Parish staff, MPOs, Public<br />Stakeholders, private sector stakeholders (landowners and developers), NO and EBR Redevelopment<br />Authorities, Planning Commissions and Public Works Departments<br />
  36. 36. Next Steps<br />6. Conduct a Scenario-based Cost Benefit Analysis for Mobility in the Baton Rouge to New Orleans Corridor<br />Timeline: Medium-term (1-3 years)<br />Key Actors: Louisiana Intrastate Rail Compact, CONNECT Coalition<br />
  37. 37. Examples from Other Regions<br />Twin Cities, Minnesota<br /><ul><li>Constructing regional transit system (3 light rail lines, 40-mile commuter rail line, BRT line, and local bus improvements)
  38. 38. Funded in part from increased sales taxes and fee on auto sales</li></ul>Taking train to the game<br /><ul><li>Central Corridor Funders Collaborative: partnership of 11 foundations, working with community-based organizations to guide development along the transit corridor</li></li></ul><li>Examples from Other Regions<br />Denver, Colorado<br /><ul><li>FasTracks: 122 miles of light rail and commuter rail, 18 miles of BRT in 12 years
  39. 39. Funding in part from voter-approved regional sales tax increase
  40. 40. City and County adopted TOD Strategic Plan
  41. 41. Created $25-million loan fund for affordable housing near transit</li></li></ul><li>Federal Partners<br /><ul><li>Congress currently considering next surface transportation bill
  42. 42. House: 6 years, 30% cut from current levels
  43. 43. Senate: 2 years, current levels plus inflation
  44. 44. Will affect funding levels for existing and new transit projects
  45. 45. High speed and intercity passenger rail funding targeted for elimination in House budget</li></li></ul><li>Still Many Federal Grant Opportunities<br />DOT<br />TIGER<br />$527 million capital grants <br />October 3 pre-application deadline<br />TIFIA<br />federal loans and loan guarantees for capital projects<br />October 3 pre-application deadline<br />Bus Livability Program<br />$150 million bus capital funds <br />July 29 deadline<br />Alternatives Analysis program<br />$25 million planning funds<br />July 29 deadline<br />HUD<br />Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants, <br />$67 million planning grants<br />Coming soon!!<br />
  46. 46. Conclusion<br />27<br />Why work together? <br />Because no one city or parish can do it alone.<br />
  47. 47. Thank you!<br />John Robert Smith<br />President and CEO<br />Reconnecting AmericaEMAIL: jrsmith@reconnectingamerica.orgPHONE: 202.429.6990 ext.205<br />Visit us at<br />Twitter@reconnecting<br />YouTube<br />reconnectingamerica<br />Flickr<br />ractod<br />Find us on<br />Linked In<br />Facebook<br />