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Senate bill would provide sustainable communities planning grants

EPA, DOT, HUD working together

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A new Senate bill (SB 1619) introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut would provide a multi-year authorization for sustainability planning grants, according to the American Planning Association Advocate.

The bill reinforces the efforts of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The three agencies teamed up earlier this year to promote smarter development patterns and increase cooperation between the agencies.

The article notes that the Livable Communities Act of 2009 includes:

Incentives for regional comprehensive planning. The bill authorizes $400 million over four years to help regions develop plans that link transportation, housing, community and economic development, and environmental needs.

Funding to implement sustainable development projects. Through challenge grants, communities could seek funding to implement key projects contained in regional plans. This new capital fund source would focus on affordable housing, transit-oriented development, transit, bike-ped projects, and brownfield and infill redevelopment. The bill calls for $3.75 billion over three years.

Assistance for regional livability initiatives. The legislation ensures that federal agencies are a supportive partner in regional planning by establishing critical research and technical assistance capacities. A new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities would become a resource for best practices and technical assistance.

An interagency council on sustainable communities. This group would bring together a variety of agencies to coordinate federal policy, research, training, and funding. The council would also identify barriers to sustainable development and promote linking transportation, housing, environmental, and energy policies.

A companion House bill is expected to be introduced soon.

Senate Bill 1619: Livable Communities Act of 2009

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.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said:

Excellent program!  I live in a community in Houston, Texas that is surrounded by railroads.  Much of the land adjacent to the rails is vacant and used as junk and trash dump sites and/or has rundown housing.  In 2008, I introduced, to the City of Houston, the idea of converting this land to exercise trails that could serve as green space buffers separating industry from community.  The trails could connect one park to another and provide an avenue for healthier lifesyles for the disadvantaged communities in the area.  Healthier lifesyles lead to reduced healthcare costs.  Additionally, an increase in the sale of shoes, clothing, and nourishments that accompany the sport would contribute to increasing the tax base of these economically deprived areas.  (Invest in healthy living—not wasteful, harmful drugs!)

Posted on Feb 02, 10 at 9:35 am

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