St. Paul Mass Transit Project Delivers Far More Than Passengers

Interesting report just issued by Good Jobs First on the impact on employment in construction created by the project in St. Paul, Minnesota in restoring their old rail depot and the creation of a new rail line between St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Three key points

1. This mass transit construction project was able to create work for a wide variety of trades–electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, sheet metal workers, roofers, painters, sheet metal workers, elevator constructors, and insulators. On traditional road construction projects only the 3 traditional road-building crafts, carpenters, laborers and operating engineers, get much work.

2. 70 groups came together in a coalition called Hire Minnesota to pressure the Minnesota Department of transportation to set ambitious goals for worker hiring diversity–and those goals were exceeded. 18.9% of work hours were done by minority workers and 6.9% of work hours were completed by women.

3. Public and private investment in mass transit pays off. Federal, state and local grants helped make the project viable. Local foundations came together to fund organizing around the location of stops on the new rail line. The project’s genesis was the original federal stimulus program.

More Details On Inner Harbor Project

Some new documents made available to the UJTF from Ben Walsh of the city Dept. of Neighborhood & Business Development:

1) A copy of the abstract of the disposition agreement between the city and COR Development–the terms of the sale of the Inner Harbor property–from June of 2012

2) A visual rendering of COR’s master plan for the Inner Harbor project

City of Syracuse RFP for Inner Harbor Development 2011

Here is a copy of the city’s 2011 request for proposals for development of the Inner Harbor. I didn’t catch a mention of Community Benefit Agreements in this rather boilerplate document. We’re working on that!

NYC Lawyers Weigh In On CBA’s

The Role of Community Benefits Agreements In NYC’s Land Use Process is a March 2010 study by the NYC Bar Association: “Given the rising popularity of CBAs, and the growing controversy over their use, however, it is important to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of these agreements in light of both the experience of parties who have entered into CBAs and more theoretical concerns about the impact that CBAs may have on the processes of land use regulation and real estate development.”

Vicki Been is a professor of law at NYU and she was a member of NYC Bar sub-committee that authored the above-mentioned study. Also in 2010, Ms Been felt moved to write her own law review article on CBA’s entitled A New Local Government Tool or Another Variation on the Exactions Theme? Her paper “recommends that local governments avoid the use of CBAs in land use approval processes unless the CBAs are negotiated through processes designed to ensure the transparency of the negotiations, the representativeness and accountability of the negotiators, and the legality and enforceability of the CBAs’ terms.”

Good Jobs First & California Partnership for Working Families on Community Benefit Agreements

Community Benefits Agreements: Making Development Projects Accountable

Community Benefits Law Center on C.B.A.’s

Community Benefits Agreements: Definitions, Values, and Legal Enforceability