Tag: DOT

What the GROW AMERICA Act would mean for smart growth and community development

Yesterday the Obama Administration sent Congress its proposal for a four-year federal transportation bill—the GROW AMERICA Act. The current bill, MAP-21, is set to expire at the end of September, and the new bill has implications for highway and rail construction as well as economic development programs like TIGER grants. How would these proposals impact community development and smart growth?

The good news
The bill includes several promising policies for smart growth advocates.

First and foremost, it would require cities and states to consider all modes of travel when designing federally funded roads, provisions very similar to those proposed in the Safe Streets Act. This strategy gets the most out of federally funded projects, makes sure a given project best meets a community’s needs, and supports neighborhoods with a wide range of transportation choices—all things that Smart Growth America supports.

Posted in Complete Streets, Congress, DOT, Federal, LOCUS, White House | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What smart growth advocates need to know about the omnibus appropriations bill

Congress
Last night, Congress released a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014, which lays out funding for agencies and their programs working to help communities build in smarter, stronger ways.

The bill contains many high points for smart growth advocates, and if you were one of the many people who encouraged Congress to pass a strong appropriations bill in the past few days, thank you. Your voices were heard!

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Could state DOTs provide better service for less money?

innovative-dot-second-edition-coverState transportation officials across the country are facing the same challenges: Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking but transportation demands are continuing to grow.

Innovative approaches can help transportation officials overcome both these sets of challenges, and an updated resource from Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) outlines how.

The second edition of The Innovative DOT, released today, provides 34 strategies transportation officials can use to position their agencies for success in a new era of constrained budgets. Originally released in 2012 and developed with input from top transportation professionals and agency staff from around the nation, the handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied.

“America’s transportation system is vital for economic growth and to our everyday quality of life,” said Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America. “Faced with tight budgets, transportation agencies are taking new approaches to managing our nation’s transportation infrastructure. The resources in The Innovative DOT encourage smarter investments and a more strategic approach to help deliver the best possible performance given our current fiscal situation.”

Posted in Featured Content, Resources | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Congress is nearing a budget deal – speak out today

This is a crucial time for national community development programs.

Today, committees in both the House and Senate are working on bills to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year—including key programs at the Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. How much these programs receive in the coming year is currently under debate.

The bills will soon go to a vote, and so now is the time to speak out for these important programs.

Tell Congress to support community development in this year’s budget: Send a letter to your representatives today.

Together we can help communities clean up brownfields, reuse already developed land, revitalize neighborhoods and expand transportation options.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities’ planning grants, brownfields assessment and clean up assistance, and the innovative TIGER program are all critical to this work. These programs get more out of public investment and help communities build in ways that will support local economies for decades to come—but Congress needs to hear from you.

Tell Congress to fund community development programs: Send a letter to your members today.

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New tool reveals combined costs of housing and transportation in regions across the country

Housing and transportation costs nationwide

How much does housing and transportation cost your family each month? These two items are typically a family’s largest expenses. Together they take up almost half of the average household’s budget, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). How does your family’s housing and transportation costs compare to the rest of the region? And how would living in a different neighborhood or commuting in different ways affect your monthly budget? A new tool is designed to help you find out.

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Partnership in the news: Pittsburgh transit center moves forward with implementation plan

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Last year the city of Pittsburgh, PA received a $15 million U.S Department of Transportation TIGER IV Grant for the construction of a multi-modal transit center in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. The transit center will serve as the hub for nearly 1,000 bus arrivals and departures per day.

The board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recently adopted a Transit Revitalization District Implementation Plan which calls for future real estate tax revenue to secure bonds to finance infrastructure improvements in East Liberty, furthering the city’s transit oriented development goals.

Improvements for the transit center include a two-level station linking bus rapid transit service with street level bus service as well as realignment and reopening of streets, sidewalks, landscaping, a replacement road bridge, adaptive traffic signals, and a bike and pedestrian access bridge.

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Partnership in the News: Cincinnati makes strides toward transit oriented development

Cincinnati-Streetcar-Announcement

Cincinnati, OH is a regional leader in pursuing ways to make the city more livable and attractive to residents and business. To help advance the city’s smart growth goals even further, Cincinnati will receive technical assistance from Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute to inform residents and community leaders about the benefits of transit oriented development (TOD).

Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America, says, “This workshop will provide the community with an opportunity to learn more about transit options and transit oriented development in the context of Cincinnati. Now is a great time to assess how Cincinnati can most effectively align its development with transit investments.”

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Maryland capitalizes on grant, plans growth around Metro stations

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The southern expansion of the Washington, D.C. Metro green line opened in 2001 – costing over $900 million. Prince Georges County, Maryland, seeking to capitalize on the existing transit system developed a corridor action plan that incorporates transit oriented development around four southern green line stations; Southern Ave, Suitland, Naylor Rd. and Branch Ave.

With an annual ridership of over 200 million trips the Metro system is an invaluable asset to spur future growth in the DC metropolitan region. Job and housing growth was higher in the area along the southern green line than it was along any other transit line in the DC metro system between 2000-2010.

The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) capitalized on the growth potential of the southern green line with an $800,000 Community Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop the corridor action plan.

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Madison, IN and Milton, KY are repairing a landmark and boosting biking and walking

Milton Madison bridge
The Milton-Madison bridge undergoing construction. Photo via the Milton Madison Bridge Project.

The reconstruction of a bridge spanning the Ohio River between Madison, IN and Milton, KY is more than just a long overdue repair. It is a restoration of a landmark, a way to better connect two interdependent communities and a means of bringing smart growth improvements to both sides of the river.

The existing Milton-Madison bridge had become functionally obsolete, deteriorating badly despite multiple rehabilitations. Its 20-foot wide road deck was too narrow to handle modern traffic and in August 2008, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation launched the Milton-Madison Bridge Project in an effort to replace the bridge.

Posted in Blog, DOT, Indiana, Kentucky, Partnership and Main, Smart growth stories | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mayor Murphy McMillin on preserving small town USA

Jena, LA
From left: Oak Street in downtown Jena; participants in one of the city’s visioning sessions; an excerpt from Jena’s Vision, the town plan.

When a proposed highway project threatened Jena, LA’s historic downtown, Mayor Murphy McMillin worked with residents and fellow city officials to come up with alternatives to the construction. What ensued was a long-term vision incorporating smart growth strategies that not only found a solution to the highway project, but will also help guide development and protect Jena’s natural assets for years to come.

Jena has a simple tag line—“A nice place to call home.” Mayor McMillin, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, describes the town as a close-knit community of 3,000 residents located between the larger metropolitan areas of Alexandria and Monroe, and residents are fond and protective of their town’s rural character and identity.

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