Federal Policy NewsFlash Public Transit Transportation Funding US DOT

US DOT: LaHood Announces Final Recovery Act Transit Grant, Totaling $8.78B

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Final Recovery Act Transit Grant

Providing $8.78 Billion for Transit Improvements, Recovery Act Creates Approximately 10,000 Transit Connected Jobs Across the Country

In announcing a $2.2 million grant for Indiana’s Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation, or “CityBus,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the final grant for public transit awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Recovery Act transit projects created approximately 10,000 jobs across the county.

CityBus will use the $2.2 million to install three wind turbine units that will cut energy costs for three transit buildings in Lafayette, Indiana.  The turbines are expected to generate 72,000 kilowatt hours per year, enough to power the entire facility.

“The Recovery Act is making a difference in Lafayette and in cities and communities across America,” said Secretary LaHood.  “It has let us strengthen our transportation infrastructure and create thousands of jobs when we urgently need them.”

“All across America, workers are on the job, assembling buses and vans, rehabilitating rail systems and expanding transit opportunities that will improve our quality of life, lower our dependence on oil, and save taxpayers money in the long run,”  said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.

The final grant was awarded competitively under the Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program, which made $100 million in Recovery Act dollars available for grants to transit agencies for capital projects that reduce energy consumption of the transit agency or reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the transit agency, or both.

Under the Recovery Act, the Federal Transit Administration awarded 1,072 grants for a total of $8.78 billion. In addition to money from the TIGGER program, $6.0 billion in Recovery Act grants were awarded for transit capital assistance for urban areas, $743 million for new construction, $743 for fixed guideway infrastructure improvement, $746 million for transit capital assistance in non-urbanized areas, and $17 million for the Tribal Transit program. Additionally, $443 million in Federal Highway Administration Surface Transportation Program dollars were transferred to transit projects at the request of local officials.

Recovery Act money has been used to pay for more than 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles; more than $4.5 billion in transit infrastructure construction or renovation; and more than $730 million in preventive maintenance.  These improvements have helped to save transit service and jobs, while enhancing safety and service reliability.

More information about transit projects paid for by the Recovery Act can be found here.

Complete Streets Federal Policy Transportation Funding

DC Streetsblog: Obama Admin Will Make Its Transportation Push During the Next Congress

Obama Admin Will Make Its Transportation Push During the Next Congress

by Tanya Snyder on September 28, 2010

President Obama is “going to throw his support behind a six-year reauthorization of the transportation program” in Congress. That was the word today from Roy Kienitz, who represented the Transportation Department today as he testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

U.S. DOT’s Roy Kienitz said that in some cases, federal funding should support reconstructing bridges to work for more than just cars. Concept for bike-ped path on Cleveland’s Innerbelt Crossing: GreenCityBlueLake.
In a meeting with transportation reform advocates last week, Secretary Ray LaHood indicated that the administration’s proposal will drop early next year. Today Kienitz tipped his hat to the reform community in describing the goals the administration has in mind:

The first thing you have to do is name your goals if you want to make sure you’re pursuing them… Our strategic goals are pretty simple: economic competitiveness, safety, state of good repair of the existing system, environmental sustainability, and community livability.

Today’s hearing was about financing, however, and Kienitz acknowledged that the path toward those lofty goals is a little complicated. But he did give some hints about what the administration’s thinking. He said U.S. DOT is trying to foster a financing system that does a better job of matching the project to the need:

Some places they propose a transit investment, in some places we have to rebuild the bridges that already exist but configure it differently, whether it’s for bicycles, pedestrians, cars, or transit. Other places we need to invest in highway capacity – but that should be case by case. [emphasis added]

Kienitz also stood up for allocating funds without the constraint of formulas based on different modes of travel: “Right now… a highway dollar is only a highway dollar, and a transit dollar is only a transit dollar.” He said a project like Los Angeles’ ambitious transit expansion requires more money with more flexibility.

So he’s beating the drum for higher funding levels, and for finding a way to pay for it, and for doing it soon. “Given the economic situation right now,” he said, “it seems appropriate to frontload a significant share of that money, and we have suggested the first $50 billion to be made available as soon as possible.”

But “as soon as possible” looks to be at least four months away. Congress is already itching to get out of town, and leadership could adjourn the session as soon as tomorrow night. A lame-duck session after the election will deal with tax cut extensions and some other urgent matters. Big new initiatives like these will have to wait until the new Congress gets sworn in — one that will have a much different look if Republicans make the gains they’re hoping to make.

California Policy GHG Reduction NewsFlash SB 375

ClimatePlan: California Air Resources Board Adopts SB 375 GHG Reduction Targets


Yesterday the California Air Resources Board (ARB) voted unanimously to adopt a strong set of regional targets under SB 375. The historic vote was the culmination of a two-year effort and renewed California’s commitment to a healthier, more prosperous future.
The vote came at the end of a tumultuous month for SB 375. In late August, the Building Industry Association and highway lobby launched a sudden campaign to attack the proposed targets, using misinformation and outright lies to cast aspersions on the targets themselves and the process of developing them. They succeeded in getting influential votes to oppose the targets in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. We were worried that reductions in targets there could cause these regions, which already suffer disproportionately from air pollution, to miss out on the benefits of stronger goals.

However, the Air Resources Board (ARB) members were not misled. Following the two-year process — including the Regional Targets Advisory Committee’s report, nine months of intense research by MPO modeling experts, careful deliberation by MPO leadership, seven public ARB workshops around the state, and an interim ARB meeting full of overwhelming support — the Air Resources Board moved forward with the confidence deserved from a solid process and well-founded conclusions.

The Air Resources Board also cut through specific untruths. At yesterday’s hearing, ARB member Ken Yeager set the record straight after an op-ed misrepresenting MTC’s target showed up in his hometown San Jose Mercury News, and Chair Mary Nichols inquired of MTC Steve Heminger about the BIA’s outrageous claim that the targets would lead to “forced relocation,” which Heminger quickly put to rest.

There was tremendous support at the hearing for the ARB staff’s recommendations, with speakers ranging from physicians and medical experts, infill builders and businesses, advocates, and elected officials. The overwhelming majority of speakers asked the Board to be ambitious and forward-thinking as they set the targets.

Testimony from infill builders played an important role in addressing the concerns not only of the BIA lobby but of an audience filled with Carpenters In Action (CIA). After the Carpenters’ representative spoke movingly of the need to keep carpenters working, and after several Building Industry lobbyists spoke to their general fears, three working infill builders spoke specifically about the projects that they are building, the market demand and profitability of those projects, the jobs that these projects provide, the workers and suppliers that will benefit, how SB 375 supports these efforts, and their support for ARB’s staff targets.

Following about 3 hours of testimony there was a unanimous vote by CARB to adopt the staff-recommended targets for the big four regions — 13-16% by 2035, and 10% for the Valley. The targets for the Valley are a placeholder – to be revisited in 2012 when we expect to have better data and tools in the Valley.* And in Southern California, the 2035 target is conditioned on a dialogue between ARB and Southern California leaders about what it will take — especially financial resources — to achieve the targets.

They also improved the targets for four of the smallest regions – now every region in the state has a target of at least zero (previously, some of the smaller MPOs had targets that were actually positive – ie an increase in per capita GHG ). They committed to a more formal relationship with the Strategic Growth Council to develop better tools and metrics for evaluating health, equity and conservation outcomes. They committed to revisit the targets in four years, and to advocating for more state and federal transit funding.

According to a statement from the American Lung Association in California, “Today’s historic vote signals the start of regional agencies and local governments moving forward in creating plans to meet the targets and transform California’s future.”

Below are only a few quotes from the outpouring of powerful testimony. For more info, see the ARB staff recommendation here. You can also find a number of comment letters and other materials on the ClimatePlan website.

Thanks to all of you for your support throughout the target-setting campaign!

* An early press release mistakenly reported that ARB had lowered the targets, but that did not happen, as the ARB announcement confirms.


“The building industry does not speak for me. People want this kind of development, they are tired of business as usual. They don’t want to be tied to their cars. The proposed targets are realistic. I urge you to think of the future – the old model of doing business has changed and we need to change with it.” — Kirstie Moore, Codding Enterprises, Bay Area

“We see [SB 375] as providing real community benefits. We have a problem in our community with air quality, so this is a significant benefit for us. It will also give us more energy security and independence, and most importantly it will give us a more livable community.” — Mayor Janet Abelson, El Cerrito, Bay Area

“As a physician, I have a deep interest in the root problems and environmental impacts on my patients. I support SB 375 as a tool to help me help my patients. Because so many of our neighborhoods are designed for driving and prevent safe walking and biking, we face the great cost that’s affecting children at alarming rates. Establishing strong targets will underscore that we need to change.” — Dr. Janet Abshire, California Medical Association and Health Network for Clean Air

“We need a community where children can walk and bike to school, and where we can bring the community together….Strong targets will give my community, and my children’s community, a healthy and safe commute by reducing the pollution that causes asthma and keeping children safer while going to school.” — Mayor Virginia Madueno, Riverbank

“Compact land use supports walking and biking and public transport, and has huge, huge public benefits. SB 375 is important now because we must reverse our dependence on oil, reduce sky rocketing trends in illness, and reduce climate change.” —  Jane Warner, American Lung Association of California President and CEO

“We are already working hard to make our community a clean, safe place, and to make it the green gateway into Solano County. We stand ready with a long list of cities and counties throughout California who have adopted ambitious targets, and are prepared to work with CARB.” – Mayor Elizabeth Patterson, Benicia

“Merced is set to have a high influx of growth, and having lower targets means having more sprawl which will not help my city. I ask for your leadership – help my city improve our overall quality of life. We cannot fight this on our own, but we need effective regional planning targets.” — Council Member Mary-Michal Rawling, Merced

“Fresno Metro Ministry is a faith based community benefits organization non-profit. We keep at the forefront of our mission that the people who are affected by climate change, the people who grow our food, the people who work in areas of concentrated poverty. Fresno in general is very excited about what Fresno is already doing. The people of Fresno are excited about the co-benefits, the walk-ability, things that will lead to less obesity.” — Mike Wells, Fresno Metro Ministry

“Let’s move forward.” — Denny Zane, MoveLA

“The implementation of SB 375 is key to redevelopment opportunities that are responsive to community needs in terms of air quality, and smart growth. I am here to ask you to support the staff recommendation and to help us all improve our quality of life.” — Cesar Covarrubias, The Kennedy Commission, Orange County

“A lot of people have spoken of the health benefits. I’d like to talk about the economic benefits. If we can achieve a greater balance between jobs and housing, if we can avoid having so many commuters buried in horrible traffic … that becomes especially crucial to people in my area.” — John Longville, former San Bernardino assemblyman, Inland Empire

“As physicians, we see the effects of poor planning. Strong targets for the valley will help us to clean up our air. We urge you to support staff recommended targets; we feel they are not only achievable but necessary.” — Michelle Garcia, Fresno Madera Medical Society, presenting a letter from Dr. Alexander Sherriffs (Fowler), Dr. Don Gaede (Fresno), Dr. Praveen Buddiga (Hanford), and Dr. Michael Delollis (Fresno)

Federal Policy Transportation Funding US DOT

Demand for TIGER II Funding Overwhelms Supply

DOT 177-10
Friday, September 24, 2010
Contact:  Olivia Alair
Tel.:  202-366-4570

Demand for TIGER II Funding Overwhelms Supply

Nearly 1,000 construction grant applications for more than $19 billion from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia far exceeded the $600 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II dollars the U.S. Department of Transportation can award for infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit and ports, Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.  The announcement followed the August deadline for submissions.

The overwhelming demand for TIGER II grants continues a trend. Last February 17, the Department announced 51 grant awards from nearly 1,500 applications for TIGER I grants nationwide. The TIGER I requests were for almost $60 billion worth of projects, 40 times the $1.5 billion available under that program.

“The wave of applications for both TIGER II and TIGER I dollars shows the back-log of needed infrastructure improvements and the desire for more flexible funds,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This also shows the opportunities still before us to create jobs, to reduce congestion, make wise environmental choices and help generate lasting economic growth.”

The $600 million in TIGER II grants is for capital investment in surface transportation projects. Up to $35 million can be used for planning grants. The Department of Transportation has partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to offer TIGER II planning grants along with HUD’s $40 million in Community Challenge Planning Grants.  Almost 700 applications were received for DOT or HUD planning grants.  HUD’s funds can be used for localized planning efforts, such as development around a transit stop and zone or building code updates and improvements.  Combining these funds will provide applicants with one-stop shopping and greater consistency for community development projects that include both transportation and housing or economic development components.  The two Departments, along with assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will participate in the evaluation of the planning grant applications.

TIGER II grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area.  The projects sought are those that contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and/or enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections.

The Department will also give priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity.
The Federal Register notice can be accessed at


Education/Webinars GHG Reduction Local Government Public Transit Research

UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Seminar to Host Fall 2010 Webinar: Handy, Lubell, Cervero to Present

October 13, 2010: Encouraging Sustainable Travel, Part II

Introductions by Larry Orcutt, Caltrans Division of Research & Innovation

Presentations & Speakers:

Photo of Susan Handy How Do We Get More People Bicycling? Evidence from the Davis Bicycle Studies
Susan Handy – Sustainable Transportation Center

Communities throughout the US are giving increased priority to bicycling as a mode of transportation. However, it is not clear what factors are most important in promoting bicycling in these communities. A 2006 survey of residents of six small U.S. cities shows that bicycle ownership and use depend on individual characteristics, as well as aspects of the physical environment and the social environment. Critical factors include how much a person enjoys bicycling and how comfortable they are bicycling. In addition, bicycling-oriented people tend to “self-select” bicycling-oriented communities as places to live. Among characteristics of the physical environment, distances to destination are most important. Bicycle infrastructure seems to play an indirect role through its influence on comfort and safety. For the social environment, negative perceptions of other bicyclists seem to be a greater deterrent to bicycling than positive perceptions are an encouragement. These results suggest that to foster bicycling, communities must adopt land use policies that put destinations within bicycling distances of residents and create a safe bicycling environment through investments in infrastructure and other policies. To increase bicycling substantially, communities must also create programs that encourage bicycling by increasing comfort levels and changing the way their residents think about bicycling.

Dr. Susan Handy is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Director of the University Transportation Center at the University of California Davis.  Her research interests focus on the relationships between transportation and land use, particularly the impact of land development patterns on travel behavior, and on strategies for reducing automobile dependence.  She is a member of the Committee on Women’s Issues in Transportation and the Committee on Transportation Education of the Transportation Research Board.

Photo of Robert Cervero Are TODs Over-Parked?
Robert Cervero – University of California Transportation Center

Apartments that provide more parking than needed near rail stations, critics argue, drive up the cost of housing, consume valuable land near transit, and impose environmental costs like water pollution from enlarged impervious surfaces. We surveyed multi-family housing near suburban rail stations and asked professional planners about parking ordinances that account for transit. We found that vehicle trip generation rates for some projects were well below ITE standards and that adjacent land uses and proximity to transit matter. Based on this analysis, we recommend parking policies for state and local agencies to consider, particularly in light of climate legislation (AB 32, SB 375).

Robert Cervero works in the area of sustainable transportation policy and planning, focusing on the nexus between urban transportation and land-use systems. Besides his academic and directorship appointments at Berkeley, Professor Cervero is also a faculty affiliate of the Energy and Resources Group, the Institute of Transportation Studies, the Center for a Sustainable California, the Berkeley Center for Future Urban Transport, and the Global Metropolitan Studies Center. His current research is on the intersection of infrastructure, place-making, and economic development as well as urban transformations and their impacts on travel behavior. He is a frequent advisor and consultant on transport projects, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Photo of Mark Lubell City Adoption of Environmentally Sustainable Policies in California’s Central Valley
Mark Lubell – Sustainable Transportation Center

Problem: Sustainability remains “the current object of planning’s fascination,” as Campbell described it in 1996, but it is unclear what causes local governments to adopt environmentally sustainable policies and whether they are effective once adopted. Purpose: The goal of this article is to explain why communities adopt environmentally sustainable policies.

Methods: We develop an environmental policy sustainability index for 100 incorporated cities in California’s Central Valley using a combination of survey and archival data. We then use regression and cluster analyses to test which independent variables expressing three theoretical perspectives (Tiebout’s public goods development model, Peterson’s fiscal capacity model, and Logan and Molotch’s interest group/growth machine model) are best at explaining this index.

Results and conclusions: The results suggest that sustainable policies are more likely to occur in cities with better fiscal health and whose residents are of higher socioeconomic status. These findings raise important questions about the relationship between developed and developing cities that were not raised in previous studies, which focused only on major metropolitan which focused only on major metropolitan areas in the United States.

Takeaway for practice: Our results suggest that small, less-developed cities will need substantial technical, financial, and planning assistance to move toward greater sustainability. Many medium-sized, more developed cities may also need technical assistance, but are otherwise capable of becoming more environmentally sustainable.

Federal Policy NewsFlash Transportation Funding US DOT

Obama’s Labor Day Announcement: $50 Billion in Transportation Infrastructure

From The Hill:

Obama wants $50B to beef up infrastructure ‘as soon as possible’

By Darren Goode – 09/06/10 03:10 PM ET

President Obama on Monday called for an upfront investment of $50 billion to improve roads, railways and runways as part of a larger six-year strategy to update the nation’s aging infrastructure.

Obama announced the strategy at the Milwaukee Laborfest in Wisconsin hosted by the AFL-CIO and Milwaukee Area Labor Council and was joined by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The president wants Congress to approve this first-year $50 billion “as soon as possible” and pay for it by scaling back oil and gas industry tax incentives, a senior administration official said.

“Over the next six years, we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads — enough to circle the world six times,” Obama said, according to remarks prepared for delivery the White House released ahead of his speech Monday afternoon. “We’re going to lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways — enough to stretch coast-to-coast.

“We’re going to restore 150 miles of runways and advance a next generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays for American travelers — something I think folks across the political spectrum could agree on.”

The plan will be fully paid for and “sets up an Infrastructure Bank to leverage federal dollars and focus on the smartest investments,” Obama said. It will include federal investments in high-speed rail and “will cut waste and bureaucracy” by consolidating and collapsing more than 100 federal transportation programs, he added.

It will also aim to reform “the haphazard and patchwork way we fund and maintain our infrastructure to focus less on wasteful earmarks and outdated formulas, and more on competition and innovation that gives us the best bang for the buck,” according to Obama’s prepared remarks.

The administration is coming off a disappointing 9.6 percent unemployment rate announced by the Labor Department on Friday, and the message to the union crowd was directly tied to the key concern of jobs.

One administration official stressed to reporters Monday that the infrastructure investment strategy “is not a stimulus, immediate jobs plan” but rather a front-loaded six-year strategy. Administration officials did not have a specific job creation goal for the investment or an overall six-year dollar figure. The $50 billion would be “a significant portion” of the overall six-year investment, a senior administration official said. The White House is also proposing a “robust investment” in modernizing the air traffic control system, saying improvements would cut down on travel delays.

Surface transportation investment bills — after a struggle over the overall dollar amount — usually receive broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill as lawmakers in both parties claim coveted earmarked dollars for their states and districts.

Obama promised the proposal “will not only create jobs now, but will make our economy run better over the long haul.”

“It’s a plan that history tells us we can and should attract bipartisan support,” Obama said.

And that’s where the bipartisanship stopped.

Obama bashed Republicans for opposing other economic efforts by the administration. “Even where we usually agree, they say no,” Obama said of the GOP. “They think it’s better to score political points before an election than actually solve problems.”

“These are the folks whose policies helped devastate our middle class and drive our economy into a ditch. And now they’re asking you for the keys back,” Obama added. “Do you want to give them the keys back? Me neither. And do you know why? Because they don’t know how to drive! At a time when we’re just getting out of the ditch, they’d pop it in reverse, let the special interests ride shotgun, and hit the gas, careening right back into that ditch.”

It is the first time that Obama has specifically begun to outline his strategy for a new six-year surface transportation plan, nearly a year after the last congressional strategy expired.

Obama did include infrastructure investment in high-speed rail and other infrastructure spending in last year’s economic stimulus plan. “The president has been ambitious to date in the area of investment,” a senior administration official said on a conference call with reporters. “And this is the continuation of that investment.”

Congress has a history of taking longer than intended to update transportation policy. Lawmakers had to extend surface transportation law for almost two years before approving the last surface transportation reauthorization bill in 2005. That bill expired in September last year and will likely continue to be extended into next year.

Congress has also had trouble approving a new Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization plan and has had to extend current FAA law 15 times so far since it expired more than two years ago.

Administration officials are “going to immediately start our discussions with both parties in Congress,” a senior official said. But the administration official declined to “make a prediction about timing” for when the upfront investment or full six-year plan would be set into law and said it “could all be in one bill or this could end up being divided up.” Full authorization plans, the official said, could “take quite a while and we’re mindful of that.”

Obama’s announcement Monday precedes a speech promoting business tax relief he will make  Wednesday near Cleveland. This is expected to include expanding a research and development tax credit by about 20 percent, or $100 billion, over the next 10 years, simplifying it and making the credit permanent.

The president’s twin bill announcement of infrastructure spending and business tax relief are popular ideas in both political parties heading into the fall midterm election season.

But Obama will continue to run into opposition from many Republicans and oil-state Democrats by following recommendations outlined in his earlier budget proposal to scale back oil and gas industry tax incentives. This includes not allowing oil and gas companies to take advantage of a manufacturing tax credit other industries are allowed to use. He would also aim to pay for the initial $50 billion infrastructure investment by not allowing oil and gas companies to reduce the tax deduction companies can claim on foreign-earned income.

Democrats have sought to include these revenue raisers to pay for multiple legislative proposals – including a set of so-called “tax extenders” and to pay for renewable energy investments.

California Policy Local Government NewsFlash

Urban Forestry Grants for Local Communities

On behalf of CAL FIRE, the Strategic Growth Council is pleased to announce the offering of Urban and Community Forestry Grants for the 2010/2011 fiscal year.  These grants will be for activities that expand urban forests and improve or enhance urban forest management and knowledge.  Please see the two websites listed below for information about the grant programs for tree planting (Gren Trees For The Golden State), tree inventories, urban forest management plans, urban forest education, and innovative urban forestry projects (Leading Edge).  A new program, Leafing Out, can fund any of these previous activities, but in smaller grant amounts.  It is designed for communities and organizations that have less capacity or experience carrying out urban forestry projects.

CAL FIRE’s Urban Forestry Program has endeavored to make these grant offerings user-friendly by having a central procedural guide common to all of the offerings, with requests for proposals unique to each offering.  The concept application is a PDF form, four pages in length, and is submitted via email.  CAL FIRE Regional Urban Foresters are available throughout the state to answer questions and provide technical assistance.

Funding of these grants is dependent upon the state budget process and upon the state’s ability to sell bonds.

All grant materials and a list of available Regional Urban Foresters by geographic area can be found at the following websites:

For more information please contact:

John Melvin, State Urban Forester

CA Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection

(916) 657-2289 Office

(916) 508-2767 Cell

(916) 653-8957 Fax

Mailing: P.O. Box 944246

Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

Shipping: 1700 N. Market St., Ste. 105

Sacramento, CA  95834 ,

RPF #2817, CUF #101, ICA #WE-5889A

Trees make our communities cleaner, cooler, and more comfortable.  They leave a legacy for future generations.”

Federal Policy Local Government Metropolitan Planning NewsFlash Transportation Funding

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.