June 1, 2010 By Karen Stewartson
The U.S. transportation system received $150 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. Numerous states have used millions of dollars for resurfacing streets and repairing bridges. But stimulus dollars also are being used to upgrade transportation technology. Here are two examples.
Arizona: Various localities like Pima County have bids out for traffic management systems, and traffic cameras have been deployed on several interstate highways using ARRA money.
Virginia: The state created a dashboard to track $694.5 million in stimulus-funded transportation projects. One of those projects is an automatic vehicle location system for the Williamsburg Area Transit Authority, which will use GPS technology to provide better customer service to public transportation users.
According to a traffic safety and health report from the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2009:
Some municipalities got the green light to implement red-light cameras, while others banned their use.
Lawmakers from 46 states introduced 229 bills, including stricter penalties for high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and using ignition locks to reduce alcohol-impairment incidences. In Oregon for example, drivers with .15 BAC or higher must pay a minimum of $2,000 in fines.
Dimitar Kerin, a councilman in Bulgaria, was voted off the Plodiv City Council for playing FarmVille, an interactive game on Facebook, instead doing the people's business. It turns out Kerin is one of several council members who received multiple warnings about using city resources to access games like FarmVille on social media sites during budget meetings.
Could simply changing the font in your documents reduce how much ink your printer uses? This theory was tested by Printer.com, a printer evaluating company, which found that Century Gothic is the most cost-effective font. The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, expects to cut printer-cartridge expenses by as much as $10,000 annually by switching to the font.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.