TIDD’s: The Drama Deepens

The unfolding drama over TIDD’s and the subsidization of so-called “green field” development got even more interesting yesterday as Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez released his veto of Councilor Cadigan’s bill that would limit TIDD to use in existing areas of the City. The text of the veto can be found here.
While the Foundation is skeptical of TIDD, especially for new development, an interesting story caught my attention in yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal (subscription required). It turns out that Councilor Cadigan would like to see the Albuquerque-Bernalillo Water Authority — an organization that is almost completely unaccountable to the public — play a bigger role in putting the brakes on local development. This is obviously a bad idea as the Journal pointed out in a subsequent editorial. According to the Journal, the water board should stick to providing water for area residents and not get into development questions. We wholeheartedly agree.
Unfortunately, while TIDD would seem to be unnecessary, it looks like both the pro and con sides of the argument have their proverbial hands in the coercion cookie jar. The pro-TIDD side wants development (preferably so-called “smart growth”) and is willing to force the rest of us to subsidize their wishes. Some on the anti-TIDD side including Cadigan seem to want to stop all growth and have latched onto the TIDD issue as a means of throwing a wrench into things.
It would seem obvious that Mesa del Sol and Suncal could would thrive on their own merits if they were allowed to develop in ways demanded by the market, but contrary to environmentalist claims, most Americans don’t want to live in new urbanist “paradise.” Thus, the companies engaged in developing these areas appear to want subsidies in order to hedge their bets against failure.
What a mess! I wish we could all get back to the free market!