After ten years of working to create sustainable and equitable communities around transit, Reconnecting America is closing its doors and transferring some capacity to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). For over 40 years, NRDC has worked to build sustainable, healthy and equitable communities in the United States and around the world. NRDC was the first national environmental organization to devote full-time staff to urban issues, beginning in New York City and Los Angeles; the first to devote staff to environmental equity and environmental justice; and the first to establish a smart growth and transportation program. NRDC has worked to make buildings and neighborhoods more energy efficient and healthy, to promote policies and financing tools that support green infrastructure for clean urban watersheds, and, most recently, to strengthen regional food systems and access to healthy food for underserved city populations. Led by Shelley Poticha (former Reconnecting…
Reconnecting America Interim President & CEO Allison Brooks and Project Manager Elizabeth Wampler will be in Seattle on August 12-13 to train Planning & Development Department staff in transit-oriented development (TOD) data and implementation tools in order to help promote walkable, vibrant, and affordable neighborhoods around major public transportation hubs in the region. Additional information about this place-based sustainability technical assistance is available here.
Reconnecting America and Smart Growth America's boards and staff have recently completed a joint strategic planning process to evaluate how to have the most impact in advancing shared goals related to federal transportation policy reform. To that end, the boards of each organization have agreed to the full transfer of the Transportation for America Campaign, which has been jointly hosted by Reconnecting America and Smart Growth America, to Smart Growth America with the goal of consolidating the transportation policy advocacy work into one organization.
Reconnecting America Program Director Catherine Cox Blair and Program Associate Bill Sadler will be in Phoenix July 23-24 for the EPA Building Blocks project with Valley Metro. Additional information about this place-based sustainability technical assistance is available here.
Reconnecting America Project Manager Elizabeth Wampler will be participating in the Department of Housing and Urban Development Technical Assistance Implementation Site Visit and Peer Exchange in Seattle on July 9-11. The technical assistance program is part of HUD's Capacity Building for Sustainable Communities grant program.
Reconnecting America President & CEO John Robert Smith gave the National League of Cities Summer Policy Forum an update on the current Amtrak reauthorization legislation. Smith, the former mayor of Meridian, MS, is a member of the League's Transportation and Infrastructure Services Committee.
Policy Associate Sasha Forbes discussed urban sustainability and the connections between TOD and its impact on sustainability as a whole at The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars in Washington, DC. Forbes works on federal, state, and local level transit-oriented development policies and research projects, particularly as they relate to affordable housing, mixed-income housing, and sustainable communities.
I commend the US Senate for its unanimous vote to confirm Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next Secretary of Transportation. Foxx will bring an invaluable perspective on the needs of local governments to the federal department responsible for transportation policies that affect every American.
Secretary Foxx understands that transportation comes in many modes, and that they're each integral to the economic strength of a region. As mayor, Foxx saw first-hand the role that transportation choices play as the backbone of economic development and the creation of resilient cities and regions. He made efficient and innovative transportation investment the centerpiece of Charlotte's job creation and economic recovery efforts.
Under Foxx's predecessor, Ray LaHood, the Department of Transportation partnered alongside the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address the interdisciplinary challenges of housing, employment, the environment and…
Reconnecting America Policy Director Sarah Kline will be participating in the National Rural Assembly conference in Bethesda, MD, June 25. Kline will be a member of a panel in a breakout session discussing the MAP-21 transportation legislation in order to illustrate the federal rule-making process. The principles of rule-making that will be reviewed apply to any issue area. The National Rural Assembly is a movement of people and organizations devoted to building a stronger, more vibrant rural America for children, families, and communities.
Reconnecting America's Abby Thorne-Lyman, director of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, and Reconnecting America Project Manager Elizabeth Wampler participate in a lunchtime forum at the SPUR Urban Center on June 11 in San Francisco. They will be joined by Vu-Bang Nguyen of Urban Habitat and Egon Terplan of SPUR for a discussion of how to encourage job growth near transit and improve job access via transit, particularly for low- and moderate-income workers.