The Federal Transit Administration has launched a new Livable and Sustainable Communities Website to advance the Department of Transportation’s Livability Initiative and the Interagency Sustainable Communities Partnership.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Kansas City, Missouri today, February 19, to announce that 51 projects in 41 states and the District of Columbia have been awarded $1.5 billion in TIGER Discretionary Grants. The TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and funding was awarded on a competitive basis to transportation projects of national or regional significance that also create jobs and provide economic benefits.
John Robert Smith, CEO of Reconnecting America and co-chair of Transportation For America, discusses why he left his hometown of Meridian, MS, where he grew up in the house his grandfather built, a home he had lived in all of his life, to come to DC and work on reforming our country's federal transportation program.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has launched HUD’s new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities under the management of former Reconnecting America President and CEO Shelley Poticha. He told an audience at the New Partners smart growth conference in Seattle on Feb. 4 that this new office would be the center of HUD’s sustainability efforts, and would work toward connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation and building a clean energy economy. The three agencies have not coordinated their policies and funding in the past.
The Obama Administration is clearly charting a new course for policy and investments in housing and transportation with announcements in recent weeks by U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The three agencies have formed an interagency partnership that signals an unprecedented level of collaboration among the agencies, with the goal of achieving sustainability and livability through coordinated transportation and housing policies and investments. Reconnecting America’s analyses of these developments is provided at the links below.
President Obama has proposed $1.82 billion for 27 New Starts/Small Starts transit projects in his FY 2011 budget, including 10 new projects, nine that had previously been recommended for funding and eight projects already under construction. Winners of new Full Funding Grant Agreements include two bus rapid transit projects in Oakland and Connecticut, San Francisco’s Central Subway, rail projects in Honolulu and the Twin Cities and two lines in Denver.
The U.S. Department has released its 2009 Record of Accomplishment, and it includes implementation of the Economic Recovery Act, called “the most ambitious infrastructure investment program in more than half a century, creation of the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program, and a number of other initiatives including the Federal Transit Administration’s work with the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.
The Center for Transit Oriented Development has just finished a data-rich analysis of all 71 existing and planned rail stations in the City of Los Angeles and a TOD typology that organizes stations into place types based on their intensity (residents and workers in the half mile radius around stations) and mix of land uses. CTOD began developing TOD typologies several years ago to help cities and regions get a “big picture view” of all stations in their transit systems. CTOD has created typologies for Denver, Houston and Baltimore, and has been refining this approach with each new region.
With the support of the Federal Transit Administration and HUD, CTOD is releasing several new resources to support widespread implementation of mixed-income housing near transit. These include a new publication in CTOD’s “200 Series” of best practices manuals. Entitled “Mixed-Income Housing Near Transit: Increasing Affordability With Location Efficiency,” the booklet explains how locations near transit can “deepen” housing affordability, and offers strategies for implementation at all levels, including the state, corridor, city, neighborhood and site.
Abigail Thorne-Lyman comes to Reconnecting America from our Center for TOD partner organization Strategic Economics, where she was a principal who specialized in regional economic and fiscal impact. Abby had worked with the Center for TOD since 2004, and is now a project manager in the Oakland office.