The Los Angeles City Council has approved initial plans to create a new Economic Development Department (EDD). City officials hope that the new department, which will work alongside a nonprofit economic development corporation, can serve to replace the now defunct Community Redevelopment Agency. According to a report released by the city's Chief Administrative Officer last week, the creation of the EDD will require consolidation and reorganization of existing city departments, namely of the Community Development Department. As CP&DR previously reported, the consolidation has been in the works for some time and redevelopment wind-down funds may be used.
LA Downtown News
SF Supervisors Disagree on CEQA Reforms
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco County Supervisor Scott Wiener proposal to streamline the city's review process under the California Environmental Quality Act is moving forward. Proponents argue that the proposed legislation will make the environmental appeals process more legible for everyone, not just land use attorneys. Counter to Wiener's proposed legislation, Supervisor Jane Kim is preparing to release her own CEQA legislation proposal that would better support project appellants.
President Obama's New Budget Gives $130 Million Towards Two LA Metro Projects
For the first time, two of Metro's big projects, the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension, could receive federal funding. President Obama's proposed 2014 budget, released last week, includes the allocation of $65 million towards each of these two projects. Further, the proposed budget contains a bond program that will subsidize 28% of the bond's interest for major transit projects.
Preliminary Data Suggests "Congestion Pricing" in LA Only Half Works
Last fall, L.A. County made its first attempt at "congestion pricing" by opening toll lanes on the 110 Freeway with the hope of reducing congestion during peak traffic times. However, recent data shows that the new toll lanes have caused traffic to speed up only in toll lanes while slowing down traffic in regular lanes.
HSR: Governor Seeks Investment From China and Obama's New Budget
Washington Examiner, DC Streetsblog
There has been a lot of news this week on funding for California's High Speed Rail. Governor Brown was in China trying to land investors to help fund the state's "green" projects, including the HSR. President Obama shows his support for the HSR in the 2014 transportation budget by proposing $40 billion over the next five years in passenger rail programs.