Statement of John Robert Smith, President and CEO of Reconnecting America, on the Administration's Proposed FY14 Budget:
"In the Administration's recently released budget for Fiscal Year 2014, we were pleased to see a call for continued investment in the infrastructure we need to provide all Americans with transportation choices. Taken together, the $50 billion investment upfront and longer-term initiatives like the National Infrastructure Bank are designed to improve transit systems, rail lines, roadways and bridges, and other transportation modes nationwide. Encouraging innovation is at the root of America's values, therefore the amounts set aside within the Department of Transportation's budget for competitive multimodal programs and initiatives to attract private investment are particularly noteworthy.
"These initiatives will build on the core programs that keep our transportation systems safe and productive. We are pleased that the President has requested full funding for…
Reconnecting America was honored to learn that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH) as an honorable mention recipient of the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in the category of Programs and Policies for TOAH’s work to provide financing for affordable housing development and community services throughout the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.
With this bill Congress had the opportunity to establish a transportation program that would support communities' efforts to become more sustainable and economically resilient. Unfortunately, the conference report missed this opportunity and is in many ways a retreat from these goals. While I am pleased to see that funding for public transit was preserved at current levels, rather than being cut by 30% as was proposed last year, and that some transit-oriented development (TOD) language was included, the bill could have done so much more to provide transportation choices for people in rural, suburban, and urban areas to connect them with jobs, education, healthcare, and opportunity.
Reconnecting America President and CEO John Robert Smith welcomed the Department of Transportation's announcement of $500 million in funding for TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2012 grants across the country, especially in small towns and rural areas.
Recordings of the interview with John Robert Smith are available on The Infra Blog at InfrastructureUSA.org
Guest on THE INFRA BLOG
Conversation with Steve Anderson, Managing Director, InfrastructureUSA
The Current Transportation Bill: Slow, but Some Progress
Well, certainly, this is not a seismic shift in how we see transportation. It is notthe visionary, interconnected series of transportation investments and choices that I want to see play out during the life of my grandson. But I do think we have to recognize the gains that have been made, and especially within the political context and the economic environment that we operate in. I do think there have been important wins in this bill, and even though it's short term, I think it sets the stage for a much more robust visionary discussion, debate, authorization, and appropriation for…
I am pleased there is now bipartisan action on transportation reauthorization by the House that can be conferenced with the Senate. While this six-month extension does not provide the certainty of a multi-year reauthorization, it will keep our transportation network functioning at current funding levels and allow for a conference to begin with the Senate on a longer-term transportation bill.
I look forward to working with the conference committee to ensure that the final version of the bill includes language to keep our existing transit systems operating and provides support for local communities to invest in new transit services, bicycle and pedestrian projects, and transit-oriented development. These items combined will offer more options for Americans in how they travel to meet their daily needs, reducing costs for families struggling with today’s high gas prices.
I commend the action taken today by the Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee to pass a bipartisan bill that will fund critical housing and transportation programs. The investments called for in this bill in our transit, rail, and road networks and in neighborhoods and communities across the country will strengthen America’s economic outlook and improve the daily lives of millions of families.
Of particular importance is the funding provided for the HUD Sustainable Communities grants. This funding will support integrated regional and local planning for housing, transportation, and other infrastructure in urban and rural areas around the country. In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, 152 communities and regions in 48 states received grants from this program, and are now hard at work developing strategies, implementing plans, and leveraging funds to create strong local economies. The need for these programs is significant; in those two fiscal years HUD received…
Reconnecting America has compiled a Federal Funding Matrix, which provides a listing of possible funding sources for creating sustainable communities. The Funding Matrix displays funding opportunities for states, cities, local governments and organizations, among others, for planning, implementation, site acquisition, business development, development financing, and other eligible uses.