Portland, Maine has begun to develop a regional bikeshare program thanks to initial technical assistance provided through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.
Portland’s Planning and Urban Development Department applied for EPA’s 2013 grants under the leadership of Jeff Levine. Portland residents, Mr. Levine noticed, already had a strong interest in alternative transportation.
“There’s a big commitment in Portland toward the environment and sustainability,” said Levine. “The challenge is providing an infrastructure that can help people to meet that goal.”
Residents were interested in a bikeshare program, but Portland needed a catalytic event to kick-start the project.
EPA’s workshops and forums, conducted earlier this month, jumpstarted the city’s efforts to implement a bikeshare program. Mr. Levine believes EPA’s time in Maine brought a necessary and “strong focus on the issue”. Residents and local officials participated in the sessions strategizing how Portland can make a bikeshare program a reality. With the project underway, Portland and the project’s supporters now must develop a business plan for a bikeshare program.
Easton, PA in the Lehigh Valley. Photo by Lehigh Valley, PA via Flickr.
A 2011 Regional Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is helping Lehigh Valley, PA plan for a vibrant future.
Located conveniently between the Philadelphia and New York City metropolitan areas, the Lehigh Valley is currently home to approximately 650,000 people. The region’s population is projected to grow over the next 20 years by as much as 145,000 people, and the region wants to make sure it’s prepared for the demands such growth will bring.
Envision Lehigh Valley is doing just that. The three-year effort promoting a vibrant future for the region was made possible by a 2011 Regional Planning Grant from HUD. The project officially launched in July 2012 with a broad consortium of partners and five focus areas: affordable housing, regional economic development, access to fresh food, transportation, and climate and energy efficiency. The five focus areas will help inform a new comprehensive plan for the region.
Senators and Representatives sign on to letter supporting the Partnership for Sustainable Communities
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, is one of the recipients of this week’s letters. Photo via the Committee on Appropriations.
Last month we asked smart growth advocates to speak out in support of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Hundreds of supporters sent letters to their members of Congress, and Congress listened.
If you were one of the many people who sent letters to your members of Congress, thank you. Your voice was heard and Congress is taking action to support these important programs. In total, 29 members of Congress signed letters championing better development programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in fiscal year 2014′s budget.
Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.
School Siting: Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities for Communities and Decision-makers
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 – 1:00-2:15 PM EDT
Click here to register
This webinar will help districts, schools, and communities understand the importance of school siting and the impacts on economic development, public health, and the environment. A panel of experts, including Suzi Ruhl, Senior Attorney Policy Advisor in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice; Regina Langton, Senior Policy Analyst, EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities; and Katherine Moore, Manager of Georgia Conservancy’s Sustainable Growth program, will provide participants with information and tools with school siting decisions.
Groundwork Hudson Valley, which help residents reclaim and revitalize communities with great need, is one of this year’s grant recipients.Photo via Groundwork Hudson Valley.
Twenty communities looking to bolster their economy by revitalizing abandoned land will have the help of a 2013 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week.
EPA’s Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program provides funding for research, technical assistance and training that will result in an area-wide plan and implementation strategy for key brownfield sites. EPA launched the program in 2010 with the goal of adopting a broader approach to brownfield redevelopment.
Partnership in the News: Bergen County, NJ wants transportation choices, less traffic, more walking and biking
At a recent public workshop, residents of Bergen County noted that sitting in traffic, few transportation choices, and the lack of affordable housing are things they’d like to see changed.
Together North Jersey, a partnership between 60 local governments, public agencies, non-profits, and others, held the workshop to begin to find out what residents of the 13-county region like about where they live and what they would change. Eventually that input will be turned into a development plan to deal with uneven job growth, high taxes, and an aging population among other regional concerns.
On Monday the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the availability of $474 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for 2013.
DOT is looking for surface transportation projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or a metropolitan area and projects, such as:
- Improve existing transportation facilities and systems;
- Contribute to American economic competitiveness;
- Create and preserve jobs;
- Increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the U.S.;
- Improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Improve safety.
Pheonix began to see its future a little differently in 2008, when the city began operating a 29-mile light rail line with 28 stations. To take advantage of this new infrastructure, Phoenix focused the city’s growth and giving its residents with what they wanted: more housing and transportation choices.
In the next few days, Congress will set priorities for millions of dollars of funding for federal programs—including programs that support better neighborhood development.
This funding could helps towns across the country revitalize Main Streets, redevelop historic buildings, rebuild on abandoned land and more. But only if Congress hears from supporters like you.
Congress needs to hear your support for this work. Send a letter to your members today.
Whether you planned ahead or rushed to get them done, income taxes were due yesterday. Income tax pays for a variety of federal programs, including programs that help communities build in better ways. What portion of income taxes go to these programs?
The White House’s Federal Taxpayer Receipt breaks down how much of the budget was spent on different programs, and what that means for an average taxpayer’s tax payment. Enter your tax information below to find out exactly where your tax payment went.