Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smart Growth? May Be Neither

Some things are misnamed in some circumstances.

Take the Smart Car, for example.  What's smart for one may not be so smart for another. 

My family of six, which often expands to include my kids' grandmother, wouldn't fit in three Smart Cars.

Such is the case with "smart growth" in Ohio. 

From what I've seen, I'm afraid it's neither smart, nor growth.  It just doesn't quite fit right for Ohio.

Take transportation, for example.  Much of I what I've read and seen from Ohio in the name of so-called smart growth has the phrase "fix it first." By implication, these advocates won't like any new highway or highway improvement they see. Period.

How smart is it to invest only in rebuilding or fixing what you have with no portion of investment in new capacity?  Where's the growth in that?

History shows us, Ohio must continue to invest in new highway capacity in order to bring growth, bring increasing tax revenues, and, thus, be able to afford to maintain what it already has.  Plus, improvements that connect major metro markets not only will grow opportunity in those markets but everything in between.

Look at economic development.  Site Selection magazine has ranked Ohio tops in expansion and new development in the many of the last 15 years.  However, during those award-winning years for which the last three Ohio Governor's have boasted success, 80%+ of the projects cited have occurred outside of the three largest cities in Ohio.  However, smart growth advocates, as evidenced in a recent state incentives study, would have us take away the incentives from those places that attracted 80% of the deals in Ohio.

That doesn't sound smart to me.  And it doesn't signal growth either.

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