1000 Friends Transition Proposal

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					       SMART GROWTH IMPERATIVES FOR 2011
                    Proposal to Governor-Elect Malloy from
                        1000 FRIENDS OF CONNECTICUT
                               December 20, 2010
The results of smart growth are concrete and visible: a renovated factory building that
provides attractive loft housing in an old industrial city within walking distance of jobs
and shopping. A preserved town center with historic buildings and compatible infill
development around a town green where the bus stops -- all connected by sidewalks and
trails that make walking, biking and taking the bus real, convenient and cost-effective
options. Or a transit hub in one of Connecticut’s larger cities, surrounded by a range of
housing and a variety of commercial uses, where train service is frequent, connections to
bus, biking and walking are seamless and parking is invisible.

The flip side of this compact, walkable urbanism is an enhanced natural environment: the
local farms that continue to grow food, the woods that are preseved, the air that is cleaner
because there is less driving, the water that is cleaner because there is less runoff. The
sewer line that didn’t have to be extended; the parking lot that didn’t need to be built.
Sprawl is expensive; smart growth is cost-effective.

Because smart growth is all about what, where and how we build, the keys to achieving
it are to make it easy to build the right thing in the right places and hard to build the
wrong thing in the wrong places. With smart growth, state rules and regulations –
particularly for transportation, land use and the environment – must be consistent across
government departments, must be streamlined for smart projects, and must allow and
encourage market forces to produce smart results.

Even though in recent years smart growth has become better understood within our state
government and even formally recognized in some state regulations and procedures,
Connecticut still has a very long way to go. 1000 Friends of Connecticut believes that
the pressing need in Connecticut is to break the logjam of antiquated and conflicting rules
and programs that pose barriers to doing the right thing. Instead, state government should
make it easy for private builders to build where roads, sewers and water lines already
exist. And state government should lead, itself planning, building and rebuilding that
infrastructure.

In pursuit of smart growth for Connecticut, 1000 Friends of Connecticut recommends
three initiatives to the Malloy administration:


   1. Create a vision for Connecticut’s future
   2. Create a Director of Responsible Growth: A new position
   3. Prioritize Transit over Driving
To elaborate:
1. The Governor should create a vision for Connecticut’s future
   through a highly participatory and public, statewide
   visioning/planning process with smart growth and sustainable
   transportation as its unifying themes. Such a process will:
     a. Command the allegiance of the public if the resulting vision is compelling,
        well-understood and sustainable;
     b. Prioritize transit, reducing the state’s over-dependence on the automobile
        and coordinating transportation and land use policy;
     c. Enable a sustainable energy and climate policy;
     d. Build the political support for new revenue sources that can pay for the
        state’s desperately-needed infrastructure renewal;
     e. Provide a compelling rationale for federal funding by demonstrating that
        the state has thought through its problems, created a sustainable plan that
        deserves federal matching funds and is paying its share;
     f. Lay the groundwork for comprehensive tax reform that improves the
        progressivity of the revenue system, adequately funds schools, and
        relieves the state’s over-dependence on the property tax.
2. The Governor should create a new position, Director of
   Responsible Growth, and give it super-cabinet authority over the
   Departments of Transportation, Economic and Community
   Development and Environmental Protection. Such a director can:
     a. Continue to drive departmental reform from the outside;
     b. Coordinate and streamline permitting, funding and regulating by all three
        departments on behalf of smart growth.
3. The Governor should prioritize transit and non-motorized modes
   over driving in accordance with the statewide vision in order to
   rebalance Connecticut’s transportation system -- a move that will
   save energy, reduce emissions, strengthen communities, preserve
   the natural environment and create jobs.
     a. Implement the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail program;
     b. Fully implement existing legislation that enhances cycling and walking as
        transportation options and support future legislation that will protect all
        users of Connecticut’s roadways;
     c. Pursue urban highway removal/redesign as a way to repair Connecticut’s
        cities and communities and reduce maintenance costs for ageing
        infrastructure;




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d. Create a “Transit Neighborhood” program in which ConnDOT participates
   that targets funding and technical assistance to municipalities that
   demonstrate a commitment to growing more sustainably. Such a program
   would:
        i. Have partnership with municipalities as its centerpiece;
       ii. Create land-use plans and zoning overlays that:
               1. Encourage mixed use, mixed-income and higher-density
                   development;
               2. Redevelop brownfields and reuse vacant land;
               3. Make seamless intermodal connections;
               4. Subordinate parking to other land uses, including making
                   DOT-owned parking facilities available for development;
               5. Include value-capture mechanisms that return revenue to
                   local governments from property value increases due to
                   public investment.
      iii. Come in three versions:
               1. For cities, urban transit hubs around train stations;
               2. For suburban town centers, transit hubs around bus centers;
               3. For village centers where Main street is a state highway.
e. For roads and bridges, prioritize a “Fix it First” program. Immediately
   accelerate the repair program for existing roads and bridges:
        i. Cap spending on road expansion projects at 5% and reallocate the
           newly-available funding to the repair of existing roads and bridges;
       ii. As necessary, immediately find funding from existing revenue
           sources – the gas tax and the gross receipts tax – to fund the five-
           year “state of good repair” deficit of $800 million.




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posted:12/27/2010
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