A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Conservatives go local: After decades of catering mostly to state affairs, the American Legislative Exchange Council—one of the country's most influential, well-funded conservative groups—is investing in a new effort to dip into city halls, with the goal of pushing back the local progressivism that's sprouted since the November elections. AP reports:
The city council project is the brainchild of Jon Russell, a councilman from the Virginia town of Culpepper, population 18,000. He was dissatisfied that the traditional, nonpartisan municipal groups, like the National League of Cities, seemed to constantly think more government was the answer to problems. ...
Though the [city-focused effort] is still young, it's notched some significant accomplishments—most prominently helping distribute model legislation to end the automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks that 12 Kentucky counties implemented in 2014 as a precursor to that state becoming the 28th "right-to-work" state.
About that Hyperloop...: Grist counters the widespread skepticism (including CityLab’s) over Elon Musk’s promises for an East Coast Hyperloop, arguing that the project could “utterly transform” the area’s transit corridor and become “one of the single most important steps to reduce carbon emissions and curtail global warming in U.S. history.”
Mayors on hold: In Texas, where 18 city mayors requested meetings with Governor Greg Abbott over increasing state control over local matters, the mayors of the five biggest cities—Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio—are still waiting to hear back. (Texas Tribune)
Eclipse expectations: Many cities and towns along the “path of totality” for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse are hoping to cash in on the crowds—including the prime viewing spot of St. Joseph, Missouri, which plans for a “Total Eclipse of the Arts” festival. (AP)
- From our archives: How one Kentucky town is preparing for the massive influx of eclipse tourists.
Disproportionate danger: In Denver, 28 streets—representing just 5 percent of the city’s network—accounted for about half of all traffic deaths between 2011 and 2015. Now the city’s Vision Zero plan is taking aim at this “high-injury network.” (Streetsblog)
Rattiest cities: The dense, aging-infrastructure cities of the Northeast see the highest levels of rodent infestations, according to Census data, and they’re trying all sorts of strategies, from dry ice and feral cats to “smart” litter bins. (Governing)
The urban lens:
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