Mitt Romney: Smart Growth Champion?

Lisa Hymas has a fascinating look at the anti-sprawl effort championed by Mitt Romney during his time as Governor of Massachusetts, which became the model for a key Obama “smart growth” initiative — the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Apparently, President Obama looked to Mitt Romney's time as Governor of Massachusetts for policy lessons on more than just health care. As Hymas reports, "As governor of Massachusetts, Romney actively fought sprawl and promoted density. He ran on a smart-growth platform: 'Sprawl is the most important quality-of-life issue facing Massachusetts,' he said in 2002...After winning, Romney swiftly set about remaking state government to encourage smarter land use."

The result of this effort was the creation of Massachussets' Office for Commonwealth Development, "a 'super-secretariat' or umbrella office for state agencies dealing with transportation, housing, energy, and the environment. It made sure the agencies were all pulling in the same direction toward smart-growth goals - concentrating development in town centers, constructing housing near transit stations, fixing existing roads instead of building new ones."

Hymas tracks the ways in which the Obama administration followed Romney's lead in establishing the cross-agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to incentivize local communities to embrace smart growth; how the GOP has attacked the program and Smart Growth policies in general; and attempts to answer the question "Where's Mitt now?"

Full Story: Romney, once an anti-sprawl crusader, created model for Obama ‘smart growth’ program


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