A morning roundup of the day’s news.
The Big Uneasy: On the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is shutting down today to prepare for what Hurricane Harvey may bring—possibly 5 to 10 inches of rainfall to a city that already experienced recent drainage problems and flooding. Still, Mayor Mitch Landrieu is urging help for harder-hit Harvey victims, The Times-Picayune reports:
With neighbors to the west bracing for a second impact from Harvey, Landrieu encouraged New Orleanians to reach out to Texans the way Houston opened its arms in Katrina's aftermath.
"It's just a difficult day for everyone in New Orleans because those images bring us back, like immediately, to that. And given all of the things that have happened to us, it would make one anxious. And that's OK," he said. "We should be patient with each other, calm with each other. Reach out to your neighbors."
How Harvey overwhelmed Houston: How has the design and infrastructure of Houston contributed to the flooding disaster? Our colleagues at The Atlantic look at the design issues at play in managing stormwater vs. “the pavement of civilization,” while Streetsblog calls out the area’s “runaway sprawl” as a problematic factor.
The immigrant angle: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is urging the city’s immigrant community not to fear seeking aid due to their legal status, saying he would “represent them myself” in any attempted deportations. Turner also advised the state of Texas to put a proposed bill outlawing sanctuary jurisdictions “on the shelf” during Harvey recovery. (Texas Tribune)
Purple Line momentum: After years of delays, controversy, and red tape, construction is finally beginning for the D.C. area’s Purple Line, a new 16.2-mile Metro route to connect suburban Maryland through 21 stations. At yesterday’s groundbreaking, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao signed a $900 million federal funding agreement for the $2 billion public-private partnership. (Washington Post, AP)
BUT: As Governing reports, the project is not yet totally in the clear, due to an ongoing court battle.
Local jobs: The Trump administration has rolled back an Obama-era proposal to allow state and city governments to apply local hiring preferences for federally funded transportation projects. The move also appears to nix a related pilot program already in progress in several cities—including Los Angeles, where low-income and disadvantaged workers have found work on Metro projects. (Next City, Los Angeles Times)
The urban lens:
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