Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Advocate Editorial Supports Commuter Rail Concept

The funding and building of critical transportation infrastructure is one of the Top 10 Louisiana Speaks Priorities for 2008. In particular, the plan supports "Regional transit projects with recovery and evacuation value, such as commuter rail from New Orleans to Baton Rouge."

Apparently, othere agree with the plan's priorities. This recent editorial from The Advocate offers a persuasive argument for continuing to develop a plan for commuter rail between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

What do you think? How can this vision be realized? Feel free to leave a comment here or, if you agree with the editorial, send a Letter to the Editor (and don't forget to mention your support for the Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan).

Another Major Award for the Louisiana Speaks Plan

The groundbreaking Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan continues to earn national acclaim. The plan was recently named winner of a prestigious Charter Award by the Congress for the New Urbanism, earning honors in the "The Region: Metropolis, City and Town Scale" category.

The annual Charter Awards honor the best of New Urbanism. The Congress of New Urbanism will present the Charter Awards on April 5, in conjunction with the 16th Congress for the New Urbanism in Austin, Texas. The 14 winning professional submissions and one student/faculty submission were chosen by a seven-member jury of leading urbanists, including Andrés Duany, who served as chair. The awarded projects are found in the U.S. and four other countries: the Bahamas, India, Saudi Arabia, and Scotland. Duany and other jurors said winning projects demonstrated excellence, often in the face of difficult contexts or other challenges requiring ingenuity to overcome. Find out more here.

Office of State Planning Task Force Releases Report

The task force charged with studying and making recommendations for the creation of a comprehensive Office of State Planning released its report to the Louisiana Legislature on February 19.

The Louisiana Legislature established the task force during the 2007 Regular Session. The creation of a group to make recommendations on this issue was a 2007 legislative priority of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA). The establishment of a coordinated State Office of Planning is a 2008 priority of Louisiana Speaks.

Among the report's recommendations are:

  • The state planning office should be located within the executive branch and include oversight by a planning commission.
  • The office should serve as a central repository for data and plans; provide technical support, including monitoring of local plan implementation and providing education and information about best practices; administer incentive and program funding to assist local governments and coordinate state planning efforts.
  • The LRA should serve as an interim location for the housing and development of the Office of State Planning, with the LRA conducting a statewide capacity assessment and adjusting its staffing and budget to perform additional planning implementation activities
To download a copy of the report, click here. Do you support the Task Force recommendations? Let us know what you think. Post a comment or e-mail us.