Yesterday the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved its six-year transportation bill, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1732).
The bill includes dozens of transportation provisions, but we were watching three in particular: the Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act (S. 1626) and the Safe Streets amendment, both of which we hoped to see included, and a proposal to narrow the scope of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER grants, which we hoped would be cut.
Today the House of Representatives will continue consideration of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, which will set funding levels for nearly all federal housing and transportation programs in the coming year.
The House’s current version of the bill would slash funding for many of these programs, including grants and technical assistance programs at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Specifically, the bill:
- Cuts funding for HUD’s HOME program from $900 million in FY15 to $767 million in FY16. HOME must be fully funded in addition to, not at the expense of, critically needed funding for the NHTF.
- Cuts funding for HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program from $90 million in FY15 to $20 million in FY16. Choice Neighborhoods supports struggling neighborhoods and aids in community revitalization.
- Eliminates HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, which has helped communities rebuild their economies, create jobs and improve economic development.
- Cuts $200 million for new transit construction. This comes at a time when public transportation ridership is booming and cities of all sizes are looking to invest in new bus, rail transit, and bikeshare projects to help them stay economically competitive.
- Slashes funding for USDOT’s TIGER program by 80 percent from last year’s level down to just $100 million. Over the past six years this competitive grant program has proven to be incredibly popular and effective, and its previous funding level was already inadequate to fulfill the huge demand for this program across the country. The program has funded innovative projects in communities of all sizes in all 50 states — and in districts both red and blue.
- Cuts Amtrak’s budget by $250 million, just a few weeks after the tragic Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia and at a time when ridership is growing fast.
The bill does maintain funding levels for HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program at $3 billion.
Members of the House will consider this bill later today, so now is the time to voice your support for these important programs. Send a letter to your Representative today >>
These programs help Americans live in safe, affordable homes in convenient neighborhoods with transportation choices. That’s important for families and it’s crucial for our economy. Tell your Representative not to cut these important programs.
Great, walkable neighborhoods are stronger when people of all income levels can afford to live there. Next month, real estate developers from across the country will gather to talk about how they can help make that happen as part of the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit.
Transportation is a crucial part of this discussion and no one is more important in this arena than the U.S. Department of Transportation. The good news is that USDOT will join the Summit to speak frankly about how developers and transportation advocates can work together to build walkable, equitable communities.
We are excited to announce that U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will deliver the keynote address at the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit. Under Secretary Foxx’s leadership, USDOT is working to make sure transportation investments support working families and America’s broader economy. Foxx’s keynote will provide insights into USDOT’s current programs, its plans for the future, and how real estate developers can be part of the national effort for more equitable, walkable communities. Register today to join the event:
Communities across the country are eager to build more homes and offices near transit stations. These projects can create walkable neighborhoods, and great returns on public investment, but are often complicated and difficult to finance.
A new bill in Congress could make financing these projects easier. The Transit Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act would add new provision to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to include financing for transit oriented development projects.
TIFIA already provides loans, not subsidies, to eligible transportation projects. The new provision would go a step further to make loans available for transit oriented development infrastructure projects as well.
The Senate needs to hear your support for this program. In the coming weeks, Congress will consider whether or not this provision should be included in the next federal transportation bill.
Send a letter to your Senators now >>
Transit oriented development is a fiscally sound way to leverage private sector dollars and create new homes and office space near transit. These projects can revitalize neighborhoods and support broader economic growth, but we need innovative programs like this to make it happen.
As Congress prepares to consider the next federal transportation bill, now is the time to voice your support for development near transit. Send a letter to your Senators today.
Real estate developers can help address gentrification, make housing more affordable, and improve social equity—all while making a profit. How do we make this possible? And how does public policy need to change in order to do so?
Join us to discuss these and other questions at the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit: Private Sector Solutions to the Affordability and Social Equity Crisis. This fourth annual national Summit will be held on June 2-3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
A new survey of development trends will reveal which regions are building most walkable neighborhoods.
Photo via DC: The WalkUP Wake-Up Call, 2013.
Our major metropolitan regions are racing to capture the market demand for walkable urban places. Do you want to know who is winning?
Join us for the release of Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros on June 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM EDT, live streamed from Washington, DC during the 2014 LOCUS Leadership Summit.
Yesterday, Senate EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (CA) and Ranking Member David Vitter (LA) released a draft bipartisan six-year, transportation reauthorization.
For the first time, the bill includes a transit-oriented development (TOD) financing provision that LOCUS has strongly supported. As proposed, the TOD financing provisions provide local communities the tools needed to leverage greater private sector investment and economic development around public transportation through the highly successful TIFIA program.
Have you ever caught a bus right outside your office? Taken the subway to a ball game? Or ridden the light rail to go to the grocery store?
If you have, you know how convenient and inviting transit-oriented development can be.
This strategy—of building neighborhoods with homes, shops and offices near public transportation—can create significant economic development, generate new tax revenue for towns and cities, and lower housing and transportation costs for families. But these projects come with complex infrastructure challenges, and as a result need more than just bank support.
A new bill introduced today in Congress would help make transit-oriented development projects more financially feasible.
Are you thinking about registering for the 2014 LOCUS Leadership Summit? Register today to take advantage of our lowest rates!
Summit registration includes two full days of programming, including “R.E.A.L. Talks: Reimaging Communities and Community Revitalization”; “Off-the-Record” sessions that will address controversial smart growth development issues; federal, state and regional policy briefings; policy roundtables about turning local practice into federal policy; and much more. Learn more about the 2014 Summit program >>
The LOCUS Leadership Summit is a chance for real estate developers, investors, members of Congress and Washington’s thought leaders to come together to discuss cutting edge design, planning, finance and management ideas you won’t find anywhere else. Registration rates go up on April 1 so register today for our all-time lowest rates.
Sound Transit in Seattle, WA was made possible in part by federal transportation funding. Photo by Flickr user Sean Marshall.
Real estate developers everywhere are familiar with the federal programs and regulations involved with building transit-oriented development. With the federal surface transportation bill due to expire early this fall, how could these programs and regulations be improved?
We want to hear from you. Join LOCUS for a conference call on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 3:00 PM EST to discuss federal transportation programs as they relate to smart growth development and how these programs can better support walkable, sustainable development.