Tag: House of Representatives

This week: How will the House improve its version of the transportation bill?

Last week the House of Representatives passed its initial version of a multiyear transportation bill. This bill has the potential to make streets safer across the country, help communities build more homes and offices near transit, and give more control of transportation investments to local communities. In order for this to happen, though, the House’s version of the bill needs to improve considerably.

Representatives agree: they’ve filed more than 200 amendments to the current version of the bill. Today the Rules Committee will decide which ones to allow to the floor. And then later this week, the full House will vote on all the amendments and create their final version of the bill.

Make the next transportation bill a forward-looking one: Send a letter to your representative this morning >>

Several amendments under consideration would improve how the bill supports walkable communities served by transit, including:

  • Amendment #18 from Representative Lipinski of Illinois, which would make transit-oriented development (TOD) eligible for RRIF funding.
  • Amendment #21 from Representative DeSaulnier of California, which would improve planning and project selection performance measures and transparency.
  • Amendment #37, also from Representative Lipinski, which expresses the Sense of Congress that TOD is an eligible activity under the RRIF program.
  • Amendment #47 from Representative Schakowsky of Illinois that would require a study and rule on safety standards or performance measures to improve pedestrian safety.

Posted in Action, Complete Streets, Congress, Federal, Transportation for America | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

House subcommittee hearing makes the case to reauthorize EPA Brownfields program

On Wednesday the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing to examine the many benefits of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program. The program has been funded for the past several years but is not a formally authorized part of the federal budget. Wednesday’s hearing examined whether that should change.

Posted in Brownfields, Congress, EPA | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

House subcommittee to hold hearing this week on reauthorizing EPA Brownfields program

BEFORE AND AFTER: Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta was previously the site of an Atlantic Steel facility. The EPA’s Brownfields program helped make the redevelopment project possible.

Did you know that every federal dollar spent on brownfields cleanup leverages $17.79 in value for communities? And that redeveloping one acre of contaminated land creates an average of 10 jobs? These benefits don’t stop where the brownfield ends: the value of residential property near brownfield sites can increase anywhere from 5.1 to 12.8 percent when cleanup is complete.

These are just some of the many reasons why brownfields cleanup and redevelopment is a great investment of federal dollars, yet the Brownfields program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not formally authorized in the federal budget. Congress has the power to change that, and this week members of the House of Representatives will examine whether to do make brownfields cleanup an official part of the federal budget.

Posted in Action, Brownfields, Congress, Federal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Congress, LOCUS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Senators and Representatives sign on to letter supporting the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Senator Reed
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.

Posted in Congress, Featured Content, Partnership and Main | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington Update: FY 2012 funding extended into 2013, sequestration looms at the end of the year

In anticipation of the upcoming election season, Congress has passed a continuing resolution (CR) to extend federal spending until March 27, 2013.

Leaders in both chambers have pushed for the passage a CR in order to avoid a government shutdown so close to the November election. Funding for the current federal programs, which was scheduled to expire at the end of September, will remain unchanged until March at which point Congress will revisit budget negotiations. The resolution passed the House with overwhelming support on September 13. The Senate deliberated the measure, and eventually passed the resolution, 62-30. President Obama signed the CR late last week.

Posted in Congress, Federal, Partnership and Main, White House | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop the House assault on walkable neighborhoods

Safe sidewalks and bikeable streets are both key parts of creating a great, walkable neighborhood, and towns across the country have used these tools to create places people want to live and visit.

Over the past month, members of Congress have been negotiating details of the federal transportation bill. Now, members of the House of Representatives have proposed allowing states to opt out of a program that would let communities make it safer to walk to public transportation, revitalize a Main Street or create bike trails for families.

Stand up for walkable streets: click here to send a letter to your members of Congress.

The House proposal would eliminate the small amount of money going directly to metropolitan areas, and would let state-level leaders decide whether communities ever see a dime of this funding. The move is slap in the face of city councils, mayors, and county leaders from across the country on both sides of the aisle who are creating the great neighborhoods so many Americans already know and love.

Posted in Action, Congress | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on Appropriations: The Partnership for Sustainable Communities

This week, the House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee marked up their spending bill for the 2013 fiscal year. The bill funds HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities to continue its operations, though funding for the tremendously popular Regional Planning and Community Challenge grants was not included. Also lacking in the bill was funding for DOT’s TIGER grants.

Posted in Blog, Partnership | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The House and Senate are debating transportation today. What will they decide?

Right now, a small group of House and Senate leaders are negotiating their proposed transportation bills, and plan to bring a final bill before Congress in the coming weeks. Their decisions today have the potential to shape our communities for decades to come.

Can you take a moment to call your Senators and Representative? Let them know you want the conference committee to preserve the strong, bipartisan provisions contained in the Senate’s transportation bill MAP-21.

Posted in Action, Congress, Federal, Transportation for America | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

As the House transportation bill languishes, there’s still time to ‘fix it first’

Crossposted from the Huffington Post.

Let’s look on the bright side of life.

By all accounts, you would be hard-pressed today to find anyone who views congressional inaction positively. But with the House of Representatives’ transportation package languishing amid opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, members of Congress at least have added time to address the bill’s severe shortcomings.

Our country’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair, so crafting economically beneficial legislation with bipartisan support should be lawmakers’ top priority. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica has already shown us what’s possible when business development and other interests meet, including language in the House bill that would spur development around transit stations and jumpstart real estate investment. With that kind of cooperative leadership as a model, the House would be wise to make the following revisions, showing voters that it’s the congressional branch with the capacity to get things done in an election year.

Posted in Congress | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment