Public Hearing for Mass (Multimodal) Transportation: AFFH?
I never thought I would grow up to be against mass transit, that is until receiving the email, at the bottom of this page, and thinking about it.
So what kind of questions need to be asked at this RTD public hearing? I need some help here, what’s wrong with this picture, why the sense that it’s a conspiracy? One perspective, looking at it from the bottom up, is the food chain of takers from the federal government. Another from the top down is the federal control of regional development. So far that line of reasoning makes me a skeptic, but it doesn’t quite prove any harm. Perhaps the real answer is when you explore and ask about the beneficiaries, questions such as these arise:
1) Are the expected benefits for current or future residents? Clearly, with regard to RTD, Lone Tree, Parker, unincorporated Douglas County (and why is Meridian Village called out?) have such high growth projections, the answer is that planning is primarily for future residents.
2) How are the property rights of current residents being effected? Property value is the first answer that comes to mind, but that’s immediately followed with answers about changes to the neighborhood, traffic, need for infrastructure to support additional residents, etc.
3) Will property taxes be affected?
4) and the list goes on …
The above could all be positive, especially if motivated and driven by the will of current residents (and tax base), but that seems to be no more than the putative, or supposed reason. Government will certainly want to acquire consent through public hearings such as this (but does the outcome really make a difference?) This could also be positive if driven by investors. At least that’s our history of American urban growth where arguably investors see value, have the property right, and are willing to take a risk. That’s the American way.
But it’s different and suspiciously not positive when such urban planning is not motivated by either current residents or investors, but by government. Even then urban planning can still be positive if orchestrated by local governments listening and taking direction from residents (and not taking kickbacks). But what turns the table is when the federal government and special interests groups get involved, which of course is why all of us on this email thread are opposed to the AFFH rule.
So where am I going wrong? What kind of urban planning can we expect when you combine the federal government, special interests, mass transit, and affordable housing for the purpose of what the Supreme Court has ruled “disparate impact” and for eliminating racial imbalances? The answer is that you get the AFFH Tool to now be used for planning by 1,200 localities targeted by HUD who receive (CDBG) grants. And what do the special interests get when 1,200 of the nation’s largest localities are receiving $38 billion in grants working with 3,400 affordable housing (nonprofit) entities? Not only do those special interests get the affordable housing, but they get the vote that comes with high density low income housing, and a mass transit system to support it.
——– Original message ——–
From: Douglas County Government <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 10/14/2015 1:30 PM (GMT-07:00)
Subject: Douglas County Government – Colorado