Tempe's proposed downtown streetcar line project, a little shorter in distance than the one under construction in Tucson, took a big step toward getting federal money, the Arizona Republic reported this week.

The Republic took brief note of our own troubled streetcar project, observing: "Tucson is the only other Arizona city with a streetcar project moving forward, though it has been plagued by delays."

In another out of town story about an issue that has touched this region, the LA Times reported  that an influential state senator is pushing a bill to allow digital billboards near a proposed new football stadium in that city--an action that has triggered charges of favoritism and special treatment for the billionaire who wants to build the stadium from both digital billboard opponents and competing billboard companies.

The same paper also reported that a local Superior Court judge had ordered Clear Channel and another billboard company to remove 77 digital billboards that had been built under a deal reached a few years back between the billboard companies and that city's council. LA, of course, is a city where drivers venturing on some of its most prominent streets, led by Sunset Boulevard, are routinely bombarded with billboard pitches for movies, TV shows, new records, Ipads and the like -- both static and electronic pitches, by the way. This is a huge controversy over there, just as it's been here in Tucson, with last year's fight pitting billboard companies against anti-billboard activists and the astronomy industry over digital billboards only the latest example.