Truly sustainable infrastructure plans can’t rely on concrete

Truly sustainable infrastructure plans can’t rely on concrete

When governments are faced with a recession, they reflexively look to the example set by Franklin D. Roosevelt. History textbooks maintain that the 32nd US president single-handedly wrenched his country from the grip of the Great Depression with his New Deal programme of public investment. In doing so, he created a template that future leaders would deploy when confronting their own financial crises. Its guiding principle is simple: spend massively on infrastructure to create jobs and boost productivity. Some modern…

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Parks advocates push $750M bond proposal to add sidewalks, trails throughout city

Parks advocates push $750M bond proposal to add sidewalks, trails throughout city

Parks and transportation advocates hope to put a $750 million bond proposal on the November ballot that would fund many construction projects centered around “active transportation” found in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan… “For the bike plan, sidewalk plan and trail plan, Vision Zero and everything else to be funded, that would be more than $100 million per year for the next six years injected into our economy going to primarily local contractors,” he said. “We see it as a…

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Try a local trail or two — or even three

Try a local trail or two — or even three

Some friends and colleagues have mentioned their frustration in seeking away-from-home options while remaining distanced and quarantined in this “selah season.” They’ve mentioned their appreciation for my/our circumstances living as we do with wild and pasture life as our primary neighbors. My suggestions have included, “why not try a trail suited for your interest, ability and purposes!” We in New Braunfels and Comal County are blessed with local trail options as well as a broader Hill Country context which multiplies…

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Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

In the first nationwide research of its kind, our findings reveal the painful impact of America’s expanding water poverty crisis as aging infrastructure, environmental clean-ups, changing demographics and the climate emergency fuel exponential price hikes in almost every corner of the country… “More people are in trouble, and the poorest of the poor are in big trouble,” said Roger Colton, a leading utilities analyst, who was commissioned by the Guardian to analyse water poverty. “The data shows that we’ve got…

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Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Armed with Eminent Domain, pipeline projects continue to burden landowners during the pandemic

Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is cutting a 400-mile line across the middle of Texas, digging up vast swaths of private land for its planned Permian Highway Pipeline. The project is ceaseless, continuing through the coronavirus pandemic. Landowner Heath Frantzen said that dozens of workers have showed up to his ranch in Fredericksburg, even as public health officials urged people to stay at home. “They weren’t wearing masks. They weren’t wearing gloves. They weren’t practicing social distancing,” he said. Frantzen believes…

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As coronavirus cases rise, so does Austin-area contingency planning

As coronavirus cases rise, so does Austin-area contingency planning

As Texas saw its eighth consecutive day of record COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday, Austin-area officials began preparing for the possibility — considered remote but growing — that a field hospital might be needed to handle overflow patients. The Austin Convention Center would be converted into an alternative care site if hospitals become overwhelmed, said former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, a key decision maker in local efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “Here’s hoping we never need an alternative care…

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Should we care about conservation during a pandemic?

Should we care about conservation during a pandemic?

Now, more than ever, we need nature and the benefits it provides. COVID-19 has both revealed and exacerbated deep inequities in access to green space. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be at home, away from the frontlines, appreciate the mental and physical health boost provided by walks and nature views even more… At a time when we are worried not only for our health, but our jobs as well, it is worth noting that habitat restoration projects generate a…

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Young North Carolinians could benefit from reviving Depression-era program

Young North Carolinians could benefit from reviving Depression-era program

Manley Fuller, vice president of conservation policy for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, says from 1933 until 1942, the [Civilian Conservation Corps] relief program employed more than 14,000 young people… Fuller also notes North Carolina’s park system, which is saddled with a more than $437 million backlog of maintenance and repairs, could reap the benefits of a statewide CCC, and he says a modern-day CCC could boost the state’s flood-resiliency efforts. Read more from Nadia Ramlagan with Public News Service,…

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7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

7.7 million young people are unemployed. We need a new ‘Tree Army.’

Nearly 7.7 million American workers younger than 30 are now unemployed and three million dropped out of the labor force in the past month. Combined that’s nearly one in three young workers, by far the highest rate since the country started tracking unemployment by age in 1948… As our country’s leaders consider a range of solutions to address this crisis, there’s one fix that will put millions of young Americans directly to work: a 21st-century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Read more from Collin O’Mara,…

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Water access must be part of our COVID recovery

Water access must be part of our COVID recovery

Wash your hands, save lives — it’s a central message during the COVID-19 crisis. But what if you don’t have basic running water, as we assume everyone does? Incredibly, too many Americans don’t… Our recovery from COVID-19 must include a sincere investment in fixing the problems behind these water access failures. That includes assuring a reliable, affordable supply to all households, whether in city neighborhoods or rural communities, strengthening underfunded and struggling water utilities, both urban and rural, and modernizing…

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