Tag: Senate

New Senate bill would make America’s streets safer and more accessible

Kailua, HIStudents in Kailua, HI, walk along a street with Complete Streets features. A new bill in the Senate would require Complete Streets considerations for federal projects. Photo via Charlier Associates.

Whether you walk, bike, drive or take transit, Complete Streets policies help make sure you travel safely and conveniently, and a new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would encourage every community in the country to use these strategies.

On Friday, Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2014 (S. 2004), which would require all new federally-funded transportation projects use a Complete Streets approach to planning, designing and building roads to accommodate the safety and convenience of all users.

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Congressional testimony on brownfields highlights economic opportunities of redevelopment

Geoff Anderson

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week at a hearing titled “Cleaning Up and Restoring Communities for Economic Revitalization.” Joining him were Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator at the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Honorable Debbie O’Malley, Bernalillo County Commissioner from New Mexico, and Dr. Kendra Kenyon, President of the Idaho Council of Governments.

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Geoff Anderson to testify before Congress today in favor of a crucial tool for redeveloping contaminated and abandoned land


Yards Park in Washington, DC was built on the site of a former brownfield. Photo via Flickr.

Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, will testify before Congress this afternoon in favor of the BUILD Act, a bipartisan plan for helping communities clean up old brownfields (polluted former industrial sites) and abandoned land, and return them to productive use for communities across the country.

The testimony will be before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee at 2:00 PM today, as part of a hearing titled “Cleaning Up and Restoring Communities for Economic Revitalization.” The hearing will likely be viewable online as a stream. for a link on the Committee’s website later this afternoon.

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Geoff Anderson to testify before Senate EPW committee on brownfields and the BUILD Act

hearing

Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson will testify before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works next week to discuss the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act.

If passed, the bill would help communities across the country clean up contaminated and abandoned land and put it back into productive use.

“The BUILD Act is a win for everyone—Congress, local governments, business owners and taxpayers,” said Anderson in March, when the bill was introduced. “Brownfields restoration drives economic growth while giving local governments the flexibility to pursue the projects they need the most. Transforming a community’s financial sinkhole into a new business or residential building is a no-brainer.”

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Video: Senator Inhofe on why he supports the BUILD Act of 2013

Smart Growth America’s National Brownfields Coalition hosted a breakfast at the 2013 Brownfields Conference that brought together more than 120 members and guests working on federal brownfields issues.

To open the event, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) welcomed guests with a video message about the importance of  brownfields redevelopment and its success across the country. Senator Inhofe is a lead sponsor of the BUILD Act, a bill in Congress that would help communities turn abandoned land back into vibrant spaces by reauthorizing the federal Brownfields program.


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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.

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What could we do with an extra 4,570 square miles?

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Railyards project turned an abandoned rail depot into a shopping, dining and event space destination.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Mayo Hotel turned a deteriorating building into luxury accommodations and loft apartments in the heart of downtown.

These are just some of the ways cities have redeveloped brownfield sites — contaminated land which takes up an estimated 4,570 square miles in the United States.

Earlier this month four senators introduced a bill that would give communities crucial tools to clean up and reuse this land. Now we need your help to see this bill through.

Voice your support for the BUILD Act: send a message to your senators now.

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013 would help towns and cities across the country clean up brownfield sites and put them back into productive use.

Brownfields redevelopment creates great places on land that was once unusable, and the BUILD Act would give communities a crucial tool to reinvest in their neighborhoods.

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Details of the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013, introduced today by Senators Lautenberg, Inhofe, Udall and Crapo, would improve the way the federal government supports brownfields redevelopment in the United States. Here’s how.

The Act reauthorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program, and improves the program’s ability to support local economic development. If passed, the bill would modernize and improve key elements of the program, and would provide additional tools and resources to communities working to redevelop brownfields. It makes a number of improvements recommended by the National Brownfields Coalition, which is comprised of a broad set of stakeholders, including local governments, developers, and community redevelopment organizations.

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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.

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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.

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