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    Can barbers spur local economic growth?

    Chuck Marohn is a city planner who tries to expose the game for what it is. In a recent Strong Towns post that then appeared at Philanthropy Daily, Marohn explains why bringing a barber into town once a week from the regional center would be a better investment than…
    Joseph Coletti, March 12, 2018
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    Using the public coffers for political theater

    Nathan Jensen, a professor a the University of Texas, Austin, explains to readers of the New York Times that corporate incentives are simply political theater. We’ve made the same point, but it cannot be repeated often enough. “If Amazon chooses Atlanta, politicians will point to all that they…
    Joseph Coletti, March 6, 2018
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    Fire Escapes in the Urban Landscape

    Fire escapes are such an iconic part of city buildings that a downtown Raleigh building has one as a mural on its southern face. Pippa Biddle has a fascinating account of the history of fire escapes in The Atlantic, covering the regulations and laws on their size and…
    Joseph Coletti, February 27, 2018
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    Federal Infrastructure Plan

    President Trump’s budget acknowledges that the federal government cannot provide money for everything, but then increases federal spending in some areas and anticipates states, localities, and the private sector will provide even more money. Nowhere is this more visible than in the president’s plan for infrastructure. The plan reverses the…
    Joseph Coletti, February 13, 2018
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    Affordable Housing Mandates Reduce Affordable Housing

    In today’s Wall Street Journal, American Enterprise Institute scholars Paul Kupiec and Edward Pinto advance the argument that Affordable Houising mandates “create a vicious circle of higher prices and reduced demand.” As they note, trying to make housing affordable by government decree is a fools errand.
    Kory Swanson, February 13, 2018
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    Transit Has a Big Problem. It’s Called the Car.

    Los Angeles is all in on public transit. But as Governing reports, we want our own vehicle. And when we have a vehicle, we drive it. We don’t take a bus or rail. The idea that transit has a cache that will attract people simply doesn’t hold water. In Los…
    Donna Martinez, February 13, 2018
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    Strengthening rural North Carolina

    Who could argue with bringing economic vitality to small towns who aren’t home to famous forecasters or unbelievable events? Gov. Cooper announced creation of a two-person team to help rural towns with “projects such as infrastructure improvements, broadband access, and workforce training.” Press reports did not make clear…
    Joseph Coletti, February 2, 2018
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    Financing roads

    The Trump administration has shared the outlines of its effort to reform and rebuild the nation’s transportation infrastructure. John Tierney, writing for City Journal, sums up the approach as “get the federal government out of the way.” Decisions made a half century ago to forbid tolling on Interstates has…
    Joseph Coletti, January 26, 2018