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Key issue in developing region, Rural Policy group says;
Rural areas need more flexibility in choosing options for investment in transportation infrastructure, in order to maintain strong economies and quality of life, says a new study from the Rural Policy Research Institute. "The report shows that a variety of transportation investments, including transit, vanpools, walking and biking paths and roads and highways, are critical to the economic development and well-being of our nation's smaller communities and rural areas," RUPRI says in a news release.

The report includes several recommendations for Congress to consider before reauthorizing the federal surface transportation bill: support local engagement in planning and decision making, encourage innovation and integration, shift resources to address most pressing rural needs, create integrated regional transportation planning and implementation and support greater attention to rural "place making," through quality-of-life investments.

"Transportation investments are critical to the future of America's small towns and cities, and the rural regions surrounding them," RUPRI President and CEO Charles W. Fluharty said in the release. "With public resources growing ever scarcer, federal policy must now give these regions the same latitude to set their own priorities, and build collaborative and innovative approaches to achieve them, that our nation's metropolitan regions have long benefited from." (Read more)
Posted by Jon Hale

 

Doerrfeld calls meeting a 'positive first step'
Responding to an invitation from strip-mining opponents who staged a sit-in at his office in February, Gov. Steve Beshear visited residents of Floyd and Harlan counties in Eastern Kentucky this week. "Members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth showed him streams and homes damaged by surface mining and asked him to take a stand against mine permits proposed for areas of Black Mountain around Lynch," Dori Hjalmarson of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
The state Energy and Environment Cabinet has declared "frivolous" a petition to declare the "lands unsuitable for mining."

Lynch City Councilman Taylor Hall said, "This town, if it dies, it can't be replaced, it can't be simulated, it can't be restored. ... If they are allowed to take these mountains, this town is gone, people's lives are gone, history is gone."  KFTC member Doug Doerrfeld told Hjalmarson the meeting was a "positive first step," but he would have liked the Democratic governor to take a stronger stand for Lynch. ""I don't think he really gave clear answers," Doerrfeld said. Beshear said he would meet with locals again as the permits and petitions progressed. (Read more)
Posted by Jon Hale

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