Category: Federal

In wake of Senate action, Representatives Pallone and Tonko introduce House version of Brownfields authorization bill

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EPA Brownfields funds helped transform the site of a former tin manufacturing and can factory into a mixed-use office and retail hub in Canton, Baltimore, MD. Photo via EPA.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill to authorize and improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program. Now the House of Representatives is moving to do the same.

Last week Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Paul D. Tonko (NY-20) introduced the Brownfields Authorization Increase Act of 2016 (H.R. 5782). The legislation would amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to enhance EPA’s Brownfields program and include it as a formal part of the federal budget.

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Introducing the new TODresources.org

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In December, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a new initiative to help communities across the country advance transit-oriented development (TOD) projects to grow their economies, achieve their social equity goals, and improve quality of life for everyone.

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Senate passes bill to help communities redevelop brownfield sites, urges House of Representatives to do the same

quik-trip-greenvilleEPA Brownfields funds helped transform the site of a former auto body repair shop into a neighborhood market in an underserved community in Greenville, SC. Photo via.

With sweeping bipartisan support, last week the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation to help communities across the country clean up and redevelop contaminated land. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), one of the champions of the bill, urged his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to do the same.

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Should every street be designed for fast-moving cars?

complete-streetHelping cars drive fast isn’t always the most important thing. Photo by Derek Severson via Streetsblog.

Back in April, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) proposed new requirements for how states and metro areas will have to measure traffic congestion — the first time the agency has ever proposed such a requirement.

Measuring what America’s transportation dollars actually buy us is a great move. But the rule as it’s currently written would measure success in outdated ways, prioritizing fast driving speeds over all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.

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Senate EPW Committee votes to reauthorize EPA’s Brownfields program

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The EPA Brownfields program helped to remediate a former railroad line in Greenville, SC. Today that line is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the backbone of an extensive pedestrian and bicycling trail system in the county. Photo via Flickr.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program has helped hundreds of communities clean up and redevelop vacant and contaminated land known as brownfields. The program has not been an official part of the federal budget for several years, however. Last week the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) voted to change that.

On May 18, the EPW Committee approved the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015 (BUILD Act), which would reauthorize the EPA Brownfields program through 2018. Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator Edward Markey introduced the Act on June 2, 2015. Last week the bill passed on voice vote without amendment.

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Ask USDOT to #MakeMeCount this Bike to Work Day

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Don and his co-pilot asked USDOT to #MakeMeCount last week. Photo by @KostelecPlan.

This Friday, thousands of people across the country will put on their helmets and take to the streets for National Bike to Work Day, an annual event promoting active commuting options and safer streets.

Will you be joining the event? If so, make your ride even more impactful by telling USDOT to #MakeMeCount when it comes to measuring how well a street works.

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Five things to read and share during #InfrastructureWeek

This morning kicked off this year’s Infrastructure Week, a chance for political leaders and advocates to talk about how to make our nation’s roads, bridges, sidewalks, water, and digital infrastructure better for everyone.

Looking for ways to get involved? Here are five things to read and share this week:

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1. Two big moves for safer, more complete streets

Federal Highway Administration has a lot of influence over our nation’s infrastructure, and last week the agency made two big moves to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets. Read more >>

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2. Mapping structurally deficient bridges

Do you drive across a bridge each day? There’s a good chance it’s structurally deficient. That’s according to The Fix We’re In For, our report about bridge conditions across the country. Find structurally deficient bridges in your area with our interactive map or get an overview of the national findings with this infographic.


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Feds get out of the way of communities that want to design safer, more complete streets

The Federal Highway Administration made two big moves this last week to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets.

Both of these updates are great news for anyone advocating for streets that better meet the needs of everyone that uses them, as well as better serving the goals of the surrounding community. FHWA deserves a big round of applause for making these changes.

If you are working on a local transportation project and your DOT or some other agency cites vague federal rules when refusing to build a safe and complete street, show them the FHWA memo below. Their guidance makes it extremely clear: there’s wide latitude to design streets to best suit local needs, and old regulations that treat all roads like highways have been rolled back.

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