Category: Federal

Senators Schatz, Markey, and Merkley introduce Transit Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act

A new bill introduced today in the Senate would help local communities better capitalize on development opportunities near public transportation by providing financing support in the form of loans or loan guarantees under the highly successful the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Transit Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act, a bill which would add a new provision to TIFIA to include financing for transit-oriented development projects. In response, Christopher Coes, Director of LOCUS, released the following statement.

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A new bill in Congress would create new financing option for transit-oriented development

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Transit-oriented development (TOD) can make it easier for people to live and work near public transportation. These places are in high demand and real estate developers are eager to build them, but because they’re often complicated TOD projects can be difficult to secure financing for.

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Transportation and infrastructure take center stage in President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal

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President Obama released his proposal for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 federal budget yesterday, and if passed, it would be an enormous help to communities looking to grow in better, more economically vibrant ways.

Most notably the proposal includes significant investment in transportation and infrastructure programs (there’s even a photo of a bridge on the cover). Building on the Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act, the budget proposes $94.7 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding for the Department of Transportation and sweeping improvements to its programs as part of a six-year, $478 billion surface transportation reauthorization. That would be a $176 billion increase over the last authorization, and $76 billion more than the four-years of funding proposed in the GROW AMERICA Act last spring.

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U.S. Transportation Anthony Foxx voices support for transit-oriented development before Senate EPW Committee

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works this morning on a number of issues related to the next transportation bill. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) asked the Secretary what role, if any, transit-oriented development should play.

“When you build a transit station, it captures the imagination of real estate developers,” Secretary Foxx replied, “and they start to build dense developments and bring amenities to communities. I would urge that we do more to partner with local communities, and to help them develop the tools to utilize land use opportunities.”

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Secretary Foxx challenges mayors to a Complete Streets approach

Secretary Foxx and Charlotte
Left: Secretary Foxx, photo by USDOT. Right: people walking and bicycling in Charlotte, NC. Photo by James Willamor

Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx launched the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets—inviting mayors and other local elected officials to take significant action to improve the safety of their constituents who walk or bicycle in the next year.

Their first action: attending the Mayors’ Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets this March.

Their second: Taking a Complete Streets approach locally.

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LOCUS statement on President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address

In reaction to President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors Director Christopher Coes issued the following statement:

“We applaud the President for recognizing the need to address comprehensive tax reform and invest America’s transportation and infrastructure now. Today, Americans are voting with their feet by seeking out neighborhoods that are walkable, economically accessible and culturally vibrant. Many, however, are feeling the squeeze in their search for affordable housing and transportation options in great, walkable neighborhoods.


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What the ‘cromnibus’ would mean for federal community development programs

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On Tuesday, the House released its plan to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year. The bill is part omnibus, part continuing resolution—hence the nickname “cromnibus”—and sets discretionary federal spending at close to $1.01 trillion for the rest of fiscal year 2015. The House is expected to take up passage of the bill by tomorrow and the Senate is expected to follow soon after, in hopes of avoiding a potential federal shutdown when the current funding bill expires this week.

The good news is that nearly all federal community development programs would be funded as part of this bill. The bad news is that the majority of those programs would face cuts of some kind.

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EPA accepting proposals for Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants

texaco-brownfieldThe Double Wide Grill in Pittsburgh, PA was built in a former gas station building with help from the EPA Brownfields Program. Photo by EPA Smart Growth via Flickr.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced three grant programs for 2015 to help clean up land contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

Brownfields Assessment Grants provide funding for developing inventories of brownfields, prioritizing sites, conducting community involvement activities and conducting site assessments and cleanup planning related to brownfield sites. Individual grants go up to $200,000.

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