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The Network is abuzz today with the news of the federal Sustainable Communities Initiative, a joint project of the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, unveiled yesterday by secretaries Ray LaHood and Shaun Donovan. Matthew Yglesias and Ryan Avent have weighed in, as has The Transport Politic, writing:

The announcement of this livable communities initiative is great news and suggests a new era of transit-oriented development. Though the program will not be funded separately, nor mandate density changes in cities, it will provide a centralized planning system that communities can follow to improve their livability and transit usage. Encouraging metropolitan areas to see transportation and housing as one, greater issue is a good first step.

At the very least, notes Yglesias: "For the past several years a number of jurisdictions who’ve had good
ideas have found themselves stymied by a hostile federal government.
Now we’re looking at a the reverse -- a federal government that’s trying,
as best it can, to actually encourage best-practices and lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth."

Though the news is not so great in Oregon and Colorado, where Bike Portland and Bike Denver report that pro-cycling laws are under attack, UrbanCincy and The Indy Cog are encouraged by new efforts to promote riding in New Orleans and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Plus, Greater Greater Washington wonders if the government should continue to subsidize highway rest stops.

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