Tag: Transportation bill

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.

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Smart growth news – July 2, 2012

Congress passes two-year transportation bill
Washington Post 2chambers blog – June 29, 2012
On the eve of the Fourth of July travel rush, Congress agreed Friday to a two-year plan to fund the nation’s transportation projects, as part of a broader package that included resolution of other long-simmering issues.

Transit bill ‘kicks can down the road’
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) – July 2, 2012
“This is a step backwards,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America, a broad-based coalition that favors major reforms in transportation spending, in a conference call with reporters last week.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Marks Three Years Helping Communities Build a Foundation for Prosperity
FastLave via the White House blog – June 29, 2012
Building strong, resilient communities starts with having a great team. In 2009, President Obama challenged us to improve how our agencies work together to help communities around the country better meet their housing, transportation, and environmental goals, laying the groundwork for an economy that provides good jobs now and creates a strong foundation for long-term prosperity.

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Smart growth news – June 29, 2012

Conservative groups rev up opposition to highway bill
The Hill – June 29, 2012
Pressure from groups like the Heritage Foundation’s political arm and the anti-tax Club for Growth raises the possibility that conservatives in the House will put up a roadblock to the long-sought bicameral transportation agreement — and in the process put the brakes on a painstakingly negotiated compromise with the Democratically controlled Senate.

Senate adjourns awaiting House vote on highway bill
The Hill – June 28, 2012
The Senate adjourned Thursday evening without voting on three major pieces of legislation with fast approaching deadlines.

Complete Streets Provision Eliminated From Final Transpo Bill
Streetsblog DC – June 28, 2012
Transportation for America, the big-tent coalition for transportation reform, tends to be careful about the statements it puts out. Its folks are diplomatic, since they work with both sides on the Hill and a wide variety of coalition members. Yesterday, as details of the conference report were leaking out, they wanted to read the whole bill before weighing in publicly. Now that they’ve absorbed it all, they’ve come out swinging. “Senate Capitulates to House Demands,” today’s statement reads, “Eliminates Critical Provisions in Transportation Bill.”

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Compromise on Transportation Reauthorization Fails to Advance Critical Transportation Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 28, 2012

Compromise on Transportation Reauthorization Fails to Advance Critical Transportation Reform
Conference report does not represent major improvement to existing law, lacks significant “fix-it-first” and bike-pedestrian safety measures

WASHINGTON DC — After weeks of negotiations to resolve differences between the House and Senate, the two bodies’ conferees have released a transportation reauthorization. That conference report, now moving toward a vote in Congress, represents a significant downgrade to existing services and fails to provide the kind of visionary, gamechanging transportation reform America deserves.

“The conference report is a disappointment,” says Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson. “It compromises safety, it doesn’t do anything to ensure that roads and bridges are repaired and maintained, and it bypasses the kinds of innovative transportation solutions that we should expect out of a new transportation reauthorization.”

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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.

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LOCUS Developers gather in Washington DC to push for transportation bill improvements


The Navy Yard Metro station in Washington, DC is a recent example of development near transit stations. Photo by Flickr user M.V. Jantzen.

The hotly debated federal transportation bill could better support development near transit stations – if the House and Senate adopt a key amendment in their negotiations.

Members of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS, a coalition of real estate developers and investors, are gathering in Washington this week to call on Congress to pass a transportation bill that makes it easier to build transit-oriented and walkable development projects across the country. LOCUS developers will deliver that message as part of the 2012 LOCUS Leadership Summit, a three-day event that includes educational forums, walking tours of smart growth in the DC region, the inaugural LOCUS leadership awards and presentations by Obama Administration officials.

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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.

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Smart growth news – May 18, 2012

Top Stories

Erie and Chautauqua counties to get state land bank
Buffalo News (NY) – May 17, 2012
The Empire State Development Corp. on Thursday approved a joint application from Erie County and the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Tonawanda, as well as one from Chautauqua County, giving the area the ability to start two of the state’s first land banks.

City hopes to become more sustainable, vibrant with bicycling
Dayton Daily News (OH) – May 17, 2012
Dayton is planning on spending $12.1 million through 2018 — most from federal and state money — on street repair, and road reconstruction and repaving that includes adding bike lanes or making improvements to bike and pedestrian paths.

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Smart growth news – April 18, 2012

Senate committee approves transportation and HUD budget
The Hill – April 17, 2012
A $53.4 billion budget for the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments was approved on Tuesday by a Senate subcommittee. The measure was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. It is less than the $74 billion President Obama requested for transportation in his 2013 budget proposal, and $44.8 billion less than he called for housing and urban development.

Highway Bill Faces Veto over Pipeline Provision
Reuters – April 18, 2012
he White House on Tuesday renewed its threat to veto legislation to fund U.S. transportation projects responsible for millions of jobs if it includes the politically charged Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Austin, Atlanta Give ‘Middleweight’ U.S. Cities Global Punch
Businessweek – April 17, 2012
Mid-size U.S. cities such as Austin, Texas, and Atlanta will join New York and Los Angeles to drive more than 10 percent of the world’s growth from now to 2025, McKinsey Global Institute said in a report.

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Speak out for Main Streets in the Senate transportation bill

Last week, the House of Representatives introduced their surface transportation reauthorization bill. Their proposal, H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, threatens to derail federal funding for public transportation, and we’re still fighting to change their proposed bill. If you were one of the many supporters who spoke out against H.R. 7, thank you.

This week, the Senate has begun working on its version of the bill and we need your help to make it as strong as possible.

A bipartisan amendment to the Senate bill sponsored by Senator Cardin of Maryland and Senator Cochran of Mississippi would give local governments a larger say over a share of state transportation dollars. This change to the current bill would give local leaders a greater voice and more direct access to money for projects like main street revitalization.

Will you speak out for Main Streets in the Senate transportation bill? Click here to send a letter to your Senators.

As it’s currently written, the Senate bill would take the limited funds once dedicated to improving safety and conditions for people on foot and bike, and transfer them to state departments of transportation for expensive highway construction instead.

The Senate vote could happen as soon as this week, and this amendment is one of the most important that we’ll see. By setting money aside, the Cardin-Cochran amendment would ensure local communities can get the money they need for the projects they want.

Take one minute to send a message to your Senators: Ask them to support the Cardin-Cochran amendment today.

If you think our transportation bill should give communities the resources they need to build Main Streets that are attractive to businesses, pedestrian friendly and safer for everyone using them, tell your Senator to sponsor this amendment.

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