Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

"Follow the Money" examines subsidies for sprawl

4. February 2005 • Murph
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The Michigan Land Use Institute has released a special report, Follow the Money, examining the subsidies they believe are driving sprawl in southeast Michigan. A much shorter article, Greenfields, Brownfields, and Red Ink sums up the report, rebutting the L. Brooks Patterson school of sprawl:

When someone tells you that sprawl is the free market at work, don’t believe it. Sprawl cannot exist without massive public spending for roads, water, sewers, public buildings, and business development. These taxpayer-financed market intrusions distort the landscape, ruin central cities, harm the environment, and reduce the quality of life.
. . .
For example, the Legislature established the state Transportation Economic Development Fund in 1987 to invest in highways, roads, streets, and other infrastructure that support new jobs. Of the $382 million spent since 1988, 78 percent, or $297 million, went to new suburbs and rural areas; just 22 percent, or $85 million, went to core cities.

The longer report is intended in part to provide policy recommendations to Governor Granholm, who campaigned in part on reducing subsidies to sprawl and maintaining existing infrastructure. Granholm’s “State of the State” address is schedule for Tuesday, 8 February, and is probably the first place she’d address any such reforms.