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November 2006
Volume 2, Number 2

Governor Rell Wants Connecticut to Pursue TOD

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has supported $3.5 billion in transportation infrastructure improvements over the past two years, and, to strengthen this investment, she recently took steps to promote “responsible” growth and transit-oriented development (TOD). Citing past neglect of transit and transit-related planning, Governor Rell asserts that the “state's economic development, environment, public health, energy and transportation policies need to be coordinated and balanced every step of the way” and that TOD should be a strong component in that effort. In September, Governor Rell announced a national search for a new deputy transportation commissioner whose job it will be to create public transit systems that support and encourage sound land use.

In another endorsement of smart growth and TOD, the Governor signed an executive order in October creating the Office of Responsible Growth (ORG). The ORG is to convene a steering council that will be charged with increasing transit-oriented development as well as public transit options. Connecticut is following the lead of neighboring Massachusetts, which in 2003 created a super-agency to fight sprawl by combining the departments of energy, environmental protection, transportation and housing.

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Governor M. Jodi Rell
 

Pennsylvania Legislation Fosters TOD

TOD projects sponsored by municipalities outside Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have begun benefiting from a Transit Revitalization Investment District (TRID) Act that was enacted by Pennsylvania in February 2005 to spur TOD across the state. Similar to the Transit Village Initiative in New Jersey, Pennsylvania’s TRID establishes state-level budgetary and technical resources to help communities develop vacant, underutilized or otherwise redevelopable land located within a half-mile radius of a transit station. Initially, municipalities team with the transit agency to undertake a TRID Planning Study, establishing the boundaries and rationale for the special district. A TRID management authority, appointed by municipal officials, then oversees the implementation plan and ultimately solicits developers for proposals in the district.

The Borough of Marcus Hook, located southwest of Philadelphia along SEPTA’s Northeast Corridor rail R2 line, was one of the first municipalities to receive TRID funds. In coordination with SEPTA, the borough will use the $60,000 grant to build upon an initial TOD study completed in 2003. The new funding will support a host of activities to formally establish the Borough’s TRID, such as determining the distribution of anticipated tax revenues, formulating a financial plan, preparing an agreement with SEPTA and forming the TRID management authority. Marcus Hook is already evaluating a developer’s proposal to build a mixed-use facility at a vacant site located less than 100 yards from the SEPTA rail station. The proposal includes at least 120 residential units with a mix of rental and for-sale units.

Another TRID Planning Study is underway in Rochester Borough, northwest of Pittsburgh. It will assess the opportunity for TOD around the Rochester Transportation Center (RTC) — a central bus terminal serving Beaver County residents with routes into neighboring Allegheny County and Pittsburgh. The RTC already boasts healthy weekday patronage, but borough, county and transit officials hope to grow ridership further with TOD investments around this commuter transit hub. The Beaver County Transit Authority (BCTA), operator of the RTC, won this year’s best small transit system award from the American Public Transit Association.

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Source: Beaver County Transit Authority

For more information about TRID, see the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania website.

 
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