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US Senate to Consider the Livable Communities Act: $2.2 Billion for Local / Regional Planning

The Obama Administration has recognized the need for coordinated land use and transportation planning by creating the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to connect federal housing, transportation, and environmental decisions.

This fall, the U.S. Senate will take up the Livable Communities Act (S. 1619, Dodd-CT), which would strengthen and increase funding for the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  Not only would the Livable Communities Act make the Partnership permanent under law, but it would also fund planning grants to help communities do better planning to coordinate land use and transportation for the future.

Already, the Sustainable Communities Initiative has committed $100 million for planning grants in 2010 – but the Livable Communities Act would increase that funding to $2.2 BILLION over three years.  California’s cities, counties and regions could use these grants for Sustainable Communities Strategies planning and other efforts to revive our economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health and safety, protect open spaces and farmland, and build vibrant city centers.

The Livable Communities Act was approved by a key committee in August, and the momentum is building to see this bill become a law by year’s end.

By Lauren Michele

In a time where transportation policy efforts are pointing toward economic, environmental and equitable stewardship, Lauren Michele - Founder and Author of Policy in Motion - offers combined knowledge as a practicing transportation planning consultant and sustainable policy analyst who works on connecting federal and state legislative priorities with local and regional implementation.

Lauren Michele crafts and implements transportation projects and regulatory frameworks which work toward complete community sustainability and people-oriented development - facilitating access to affordable living near quality jobs, food, schools and health services. A graduate of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and researcher with the University's Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, Ms. Michele's background extends from in-classroom teaching of undergraduate courses in transportation policy to experiential learning while living and researching multi-modal transportation planning in Europe.

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