Good communities do not just happen; they are the product of countless decisions by public servants and private parties who seek to create a high quality of life while building opportunities for their families and neighbors.
Our region is blessed with great natural beauty, top-notch educational facilities, forward-looking businesspersons and citizens, and dedicated public servants willing to make the difficult choices necessary to ensure our prosperity in the years ahead. State policies must be built on the premise that economic opportunity and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.
Twelve years in local government taught me how important it is for vibrant communities to spur job creation and opportunity, especially in the small business, entrepreneurial sector. But it also taught me that “development for its own sake” places incredible fiscal stress on local governments, and pressure to build more schools and more roads. The public debate should be focused not on growth or no-growth, but instead on Building Better Communities, and giving more tools to localities to do so. In the General Assembly, I have supported–and will continue to support–legislation which:
• Incorporates better land use planning into transportation planning.
• Fosters “walkable” neighborhoods and with an appropriate mix of commercial, retail and residential land uses.
• Increases support for historic preservation efforts, especially those that can serve as anchors around which communities may flourish.
• Strengthens local government’s ability to create better communities through a reasonable proffer system and by ordinances to ensure that infrastructure needs are addressed in growing communities.
• Provides more funding for public transit and more flexibility to localities on how they may use transportation dollars.
• Emphasizes spending to improve existing road networks rather than simply building massive new highway projects.
• Improves bicyclist and pedestrian access and safety.