Gaining the support of local communities should be the vital first step in guaranteeing the success of transportation projects, writes Jesse McKnight of The Saint Consulting Group in the Spring 2012 issue of American Infrastructure magazine.
First, California voters approved a $10 billion high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then, the state found no buyers for the newly authorized rail bonds, thanks to the credit crunch. Now Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) and environmental forces that oppose wind farm transmission lines are moving to block 200-mph bullet trains from the West Coast.
Transportation projects can be among the most controversial land use issues because they not only involve NIMBYs, but they also usually require some form of public financing or subsidies. Further, these projects become harder to justify when public resources are strained in difficult economic times. It is imperative that private sector interests seeking to develop large scale transportation projects do their political homework.
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Jesse McKnight is executive vice president of The Saint Consulting Group, email firstname.lastname@example.org