Sunday, December 05, 2004

Fastest Growing Counties Deliver Bush and New Development Strategy

Fastest Growing Counties Deliver Bush and New Development Strategy
Election surge for bipartisan Smart Growth spending, policies
By Keith Schneider
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service
Voters in the Denver region approved a sales tax increase to build 119 miles of light and commuter rail lines and other public transit facilities to expand the existing system. The tax bill will be $4.7 billion.

One of the striking results of the 2004 election, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, is that 97 of the nation’s 100 fastest growing counties supported George W. Bush and delivered half of the president’s 3.5 million-vote victory margin. Perhaps even more striking, though, is this fact: Many of these same voters, people who are passionate about curbing taxes and limiting the activities of the federal and state governments, not only approved an array of new initiatives to ease congestion, conserve farmland and open space, and manage development, they also approved the tax increases to pay for them.

Examples are legion. They range from Douglas County, Colo., a suburb of Denver and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s third fastest growing county, to Osceola and Lake Counties in Florida, the 18th and 34th fastest growing, to Acme Township in Grand Traverse County, Michigan’s third-fastest growing county. All voted heavily for Mr. Bush and also supported raising taxes to finance Smart Growth initiatives.

Combine these with similar decisions in pro-Kerry counties such as Pitkin County, Colo., Volusia County, Fla., and other places in Massachusetts and California, and an undeniable pattern emerges: Smart Growth appears to be transcending partisanship.....