Opportunity Zones – Big Tool, Big Questions?

Federal tax reforms from late 2017 created an "Opportunity Zone" program - will these incentives be the key to revitalizing underdeveloped areas? The recent creation of federal Opportunity Zones called for selection of targeted census tracts for development incentives. As Maryland and other states have implemented their selection, the process of refining the processes for engaging new employers and activity within their bounds. See the map of currently approved Opportunity Zones. See Conduit Street coverage…

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Shutdown Snarls Rural Broadband Expansion

In today’s world, internet connectivity is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity. Access to affordable internet, broadband, wireless, and cellular services is an essential component of a county’s economic development and the socio-economic advancements of its residents. Residents benefit from increased economic growth, improved labor market access and outcomes, access to better health care, enhanced civic participation, enriched education opportunities, improved quality of life, and overall competitive and vibrant communities. And while there is…

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FCC Small Cell Order Goes into Effect; Challenges Continue

On January 14th the FCC's controversial small cell order  went into effect. The order restricts local governments' authority over the deployment of small cells within the local rights of way in several ways including imposing timelines on permit approvals and caps on fees. An article from BB&K Law provides an update on the status of local government requests for a stay on the order and explains what the order going into effect means for cities and…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Clues to Hogan’s Budget Proposal, Economic Uncertainty Looming, and the Latest from #MDGA19

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast. You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website. Useful Links Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Governor Hogan Previews 2020 Budget Proposal Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Federal Government Shutdown: State, Local Governments Feel the Pinch Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Maryland Counties Rally…

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2018 MACo President to Start as AA Economic Development Corporation CEO

Former Anne Arundel County Council Member and 2018 MACo President, Jerry Walker, will step into the role of the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) CEO on February 2. He was appointed by County Executive Steuart Pittman. Pittman was a constituent of Walker during his two terms on the council representing District 7. Beyond his experience on the council, he has displayed dedication and knowledge of economic development in the county. He has worked at…

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Smart Growth Subcabinet Answers County Questions at #MACoCon

Returning county officials received an update from the Smart Growth Subcabinet on key land use, transportation, environmental, and economic development issues at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. The panel, A Chat with the Smart Growth Subcabinet, was held on Wednesday, January 2.   The Subcabinet oversees and advises on Maryland’s growth policies and laws. Its members are mostly Cabinet secretaries or their designees. Maryland Special Secretary of Smart Growth Wendi Peters serves as the…

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Anirban Basu Delivers Economic Forecast at #MACoCon

During a packed session at the 2019 MACo Winter Conference, economist, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group, Inc., Anirban Basu, delivered a local, state, national, and global economic forecast. Basu discussed positives such as an unprecedented 97 consecutive months of positive job growth in the United States, which has led to low unemployment and surging consumer confidence. But tempering that news was the recognition of regional disparity between Washington and Baltimore metro…

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Here’s What the Smart Growth Subcabinet Will Discuss at #MACoCon

As previously reported by Conduit Street, the Smart Growth Subcabinet will be responding to county questions about land use, economic development, transportation, the environment, and other critical issues at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. While there will be time for an open question and answer session with the Subcabinet, the Subcabinet will mainly focus on answering questions that were previously submitted by the counties through MACo. Here are the county questions that the Subcabinet will…

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What’s In the Newly-Signed Federal Farm Bill?

With the President signing the long-sought federal "farm bill," its many provisions will affect counties, and many other stakeholders beyond farmers, significantly. From the NACo website, an effective rundown of the process toward a successful outcome, and some highlights of county-friendly provisions: Throughout the farm bill process, NACo helped draft bill text and amendments to preserve and promote key county priorities. Specifically, the final package creates a new Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program,…

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Maryland Among Top Six States for Opportunity Zones Based on Smart Growth Metrics

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2018-12-19) announced that a Smart Growth America study has found Maryland ranks among the top 10% for Opportunity Zones from a Smart Growth perspective. This is according to the National Opportunity Zone Rankings Report released in December of 2018 by LOCUS, a program within Smart Growth America, and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the federal government created Opportunity Zones as…

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