November 16: City power | NJ Transit crisis | Fixing Franklin’s gravestone

Nathaniel Popkin interviews Robert Schragger, author of “City Power: Urban Governance in a Global Age”, on what cities can (and can’t) do to resist federal authority and policies they do not agree with. Schragger argues, “although cities cannot adopt laws or regulations that contradict state or federal law, they can implement their own policies with an eye toward protecting their own citizens and they can litigate the reach of state and federal law with the hope of narrowing those laws’ effects. This is a form of resistance—if not outright defiance—that is also built into the federal system.” That resistance could come in the form of “paying lip service to national demands” as localities implement their own policies, stall, or litigate.

What will it mean to rebuild American infrastructure, an issue Donald Trump supported during his campaign and acceptance speech? The New York Times takes a look at infrastructure data points, including what money is needed where, economic impact of infrastructure spending, and funding.

What are cities like Philadelphia saying in the face of Donald Trump’s assertion that as president he will cut federal funding for not enforcing immigration policies set by the federal government? City Lab has a roundup of responses from cities across the nation.

An editorial by the New Jersey Star-Ledger calls out NJ Transit’s dire budget shortfalls and an agency absorbing gubernatorial nepotism instead of concentrating on safe, reliable transit. While high-paid executive positions have been filled, left open are team members to implement Positive Train Control and a Chief of Compliance to ensure the railroad is meeting federal safety rules. “This is unacceptable, and it speaks to the administration’s refusal to acknowledge that budget restraints – notably, a direct state subsidy to an operating budget that was hacked from $348 million in 2009 to $33 million last year – might have perilous consequences.”

Fundraising is underway to fix Benjamin Franklin’s tombstone, pitted by pennies and cracked, the Inquirer reports.

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