Category: Federal

BUILD Act moves through committee

This morning, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted unanimously to pass the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013. The bill will go next to the full Senate for a vote. The BUILD Act …

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USDOT’s proposed safety rule gives agencies a pass on progress

Get out your commenting pens, folks, because the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed rule for measuring progress on safety needs a lot of work.

In the 2012 transportation law, MAP-21, Congress directed the DOT to set measures of progress in a number of areas that could be used to hold transportation agencies accountable. The first one out of this gate last week was safety. [See the full rule as published in the Federal Register here.]

It should have been a triumph for people concerned about the lives and well-being of all users of the road network. For the first time, Congress emphasized that state DOTs would need to significantly reduce the number and rate of deaths and injuries on our roadways. And the DOT’s rhetoric in the new rule suggests that as their intention.

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Brownfields financing legislation introduced in the House

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY) introduced the Brownfield Redevelopment and Economic Development Innovative Financing Act of 2014, or H.R. 4173. The legislation would re-establish a guaranteed financing program for brownfields at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and allow localities to utilize innovative financing mechanisms to begin the redevelopment process.

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What President Obama’s budget proposal means for federal community development programs

Earlier today President Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, focusing on economic growth, job creation for the middle class, and fiscal responsibility.

An important part of the administration’s priorities includes improving infrastructure and investing in urban and community development. Three federal agencies carry the brunt of that workload, and here is how the president’s proposal would affect each of them.

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Smart Growth America congratulates Senator Carper on his appointment as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has announced the appointment of Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), as chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued this statement in response:

“We are pleased to hear of Senator Carper’s appointment as chairman of a key subcommittee helping to write the next version of our nation’s transportation law. Senator Carper brings a pragmatic approach that is coupled with a bold vision for a 21st century transportation system that will benefit communities across the country. Smart Growth America and our alliance of local elected officials, real estate developers and coalition of non-profits look forward to working with him on the upcoming transportation reauthorization, and helping him push for a bill that will allow our communities to make the investments that will improve the nation’s economic competitiveness.”


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Representative Camp releases his proposal for tax reform. What does it mean for smart growth?

Yesterday Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced his proposal for comprehensive tax reform—and it has big implications for real estate and smart growth.

Each year Americans take billions of dollars worth of income tax deductions related to real estate. Things like the mortgage interest deduction and property tax deduction can represent big savings for a household—so big that they can influence taxpayers’ decisions about the type of home they buy. Even more credits are available to real estate developers, who can get tax breaks to help pay for things like redevelopment or the construction of low-income housing.

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House tax reform proposal a mixed bag on urban development issues

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) took the first step toward comprehensive tax reform yesterday and introduced a proposal that would have a mixed impact on communities’ efforts to grow in smart, economically efficient ways. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, and Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS, issued this joint statement in response:

“Above all, we’re glad Congress is finally tackling comprehensive tax reform. Hundreds of billions are currently spent through the tax code on housing and community development and much of this could be spent better than it is today. For anyone who wants to see these incentives achieve their maximum effect—helping Americans access good affordable housing choices in safe, stable, thriving communities, tax reform is a must.


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How could the next federal transportation bill better support smart growth real estate development?

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.

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