for the amount of protected land in Texas, and click here
to review Texas's federal transportation spending.
Center on the States &
Changing Direction: Federal Transportation
Spending in the 1990s. Surface
Transportation Policy Project
For an overview of Texas planning and zoning
statutes, see a summary provided by the American
Voluntary Cleanup Program
The most effective method of dealing with brownfieldsabandoned,
idled, or underused properties where contamination hinders economic developmentis
through voluntary cleanup by the person responsible for the contamination.
To encourage the cleanup of brownfields, the TNRCC's Voluntary Cleanup
Program (VCP) provides important incentives that can ease many of the concerns
that lenders and purchasers have about property cleanup and redevelopment.
The success of the TNRCC's Voluntary Cleanup Program
stems from its
incentives for participation:
Non-Attainment Status for EPA Air Quality Standards
Non-responsible parties, such as future lenders and
landowners, are released from all liability to the state for the cleanup
of past contamination.
All parties are protected from TNRCC enforcement
actions while in compliance with the VCP.
All parties are protected from EPA enforcement action
under RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) or CERCLA (Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) while they are
in compliance with the VCP and after a certificate of completion has been
2000 is a critical year for the state's ozone
non-attainment areas: Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston-Galveston, and Beaumont-Port
Arthur. For each of these areas, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation
Commission (TNRCC) will be required to prepare a "full attainment demonstration"--in
other words, show exactly how each area is to achieve compliance with the
federal one-hour standard. As these urban communities face being
judged by the one-hour standard, local officials are taking seriously a
range of possible consequences, such as tailpipe emissions testing, cleaner
gasoline, reduced highway funding, and even restrictions on new business
development. For information on the standards and upcoming public
Smart Growth Initiative
February 25,1998 City of Austin's Smart
Growth Initiative is trying to combat sprawl in Austin. Their achievements
to date have been to create incentives for development to take place in
the east (Desired Development Zone) rather than the geographically vulnerable
hill country to the west (Drinking Water Protection Zone). The natural
habitat, species, and springs in the west part of Austin are at risk by
continued growth. http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/smartgrowth/
found on the Sprawl Resource Guide, http://www.plannersweb.com/sprawl/sprawl6.html).
Austin's Proposition 2 "was a Smart Growth Initiative
designed to steer dense development away from environmentally sensitive
areas by using City funds to purchase, either in fee or through conservation
easements…." (Executive proposal summary/Remarks of Mayor Kirk Watson
settlement agreement between Bradley Interests and City of Austin, http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/news/bsa_mayor_remarks.htm)
Sierra Club: Lone Star Chapter: A grassroots environmental organization
dedicated to protect and preserve the natural and human environment.
It is a membership organization with over 600,000 members nation wide.
The Lone Star chapter includes all of Texas except El Paso and has more
than 21,000 members.
From the School of Architecture at Rice University,
The Sprawl Net is a site where urban sprawl topics are discussed on the
World Wide Web.
Center for Policy Studies:
TCPS works with local, regional, and state non-profit
groups to provide assistance on public interest issues. TCPS emphasizes
the connection that economic development policies must have with environmental
and public health issues. They also provide research and publications.
Their work is intended to create a partnership with citizen groups.
The Gulf Coast Institute seeks a livable community
with a dynamic economy that revitalizes and protects neighborhoods, improves
access, increases mobility choices, improves air and water quality, protects
green space and natural resources, and builds a sense of place and community.
The Gulf Coast Institute’s primary purpose is to study the process of urban
growth, to explore and communicate problems and possible solutions, and
to foster dialogue and collaborative initiatives to improve the quality
of economy, community, and environment in the region. The basis of its
work is the set of principles and concepts widely known as Smart Growth.
The Sierra Club on September 9, 2000 released
a nationwide report identifying those U.S. cities most threatened by "sprawl"—low
density, automobile-dependent development beyond the edge of service and
employment areas. Austin was ranked second among the five most sprawl-threatened
medium cities (those with a population of between 500,000 and one million).
McAllen was named as the number one most sprawl-threatened among small
cities (those with a population of 200,000 to 500,000). The Sierra Club
report is entitled
The Dark Side of the American Dream: The Costs and
Consequences of Suburban Sprawl. (Sierra
Club home page, "Sierra Report Documents Sprawl Problems")
Since the explosive growth of the computer industry
in central Texas during the 1990's, development and growth have been central
to many disputes in Austin and the surrounding area. Recognizing
the need to prevent growth in the outlying hills and along a fragile watershed,
city leaders have attempted to direct growth inward—through a combination
of carrots and sticks--where infrastructure currently exists. For
a review of articles in the Austin American-Statesman dealing with development
and smart growth in Austin over the past year, please visit
"Environmental Groups Call for Bold Air Reform",
Press Release by the
Air Crisis Campaign,
a project of the Texas Center for Policy Studies.
"'We Are Feeling The Growing Pains'; Austin is
known for its music, its politics and lately, its suburban sprawl." Newsday.
January 9, 2001.
"Gold spikes mark start of rail line," Houston
Chronicle. March 13, 2001.
"Houston Triumphant," Reis.com
"24 lanes urged for Katy Freeway," Houston
Chronicle. April 6, 2001.
"The big question is how neighborhoods will look
after they are developed," Houston
Chronicle. April 7, 2001.
Farmland Loss in Hill Country
Hays County's farms, ranches and open lands generate
three times more in tax revenues than they receive in public services,
according to a study released today by American
Farmland Trust. The Cost of Community Services study also found that
tax revenues from residential development fall short of paying for the
public services it receives. Hays County, located between Austin
and San Antonio in Texas's desirable "hill country", has seen its population
more than double in the last twenty years.
Utopia Limited: Houston's Ring around the Beltway,
by Richard Ingersoll The Sprawl Net, http://riceinfo.rice.edu/~lda/Sprawl_Net/Features/INGEutopia1.html
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