DOT's fifth round of TIGER grants support 52 economic development projects in 37 states

Kansas City Streetcar
Kansas City’s streetcar is one of the 52 projects to receive a 2013 TIGER grant. Image via PlanningKC.

Yesterday, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the fifth round of DOT’s Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. The 2013 grants award a total of $474 million to 52 projects in 37 states, with 25 projects specifically for rural communities. A total of 568 applications were submitted for the grants, for projects in all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.


Partnership in the news: Rochester, NY awarded TIGER grant for Amtrak station upgrades

Rochester Amtrak station
Amtrak station in Rochester, NY. Photo via New York Railroads.

Rochester, NY is building a transportation gateway to the city that will serve the region and become a landmark for generations—thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

In August, USDOT dedicated $15 million in TIGER grant funding to replace the city’s current Amtrak station, which first opened its doors in 1978, with a new intermodal transit center. The new 12,000 square foot, $26.5 million facility will include high passenger platforms, an underground concourse and two new passenger sidings.


Spotlight on Sustainability: Sustainable development plan brings new life to Augusta, GA

15th St., August, GA.
Community meetings helped inform this rendering for proposed improvements along August, GA’s 15th Street corridor, including landscaped median, bike lanes, and tree-lined sidewalks. Image via the Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program.

Augusta, GA, is reinvesting in its downtown and a 4.5 mile corridor along 15th Street, thanks in part to a 2010 Community Challenge grant from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Downtown Augusta today is home to many empty storefronts and vacant houses, starting at an empty shopping mall in the Rocky Creek neighborhood and running along Deans Bridge Road up to 15th Street in Cherry Tree. The Augusta Sustainable Development Implementation Program is working to transform these struggling neighborhoods and spur economic development in Augusta’s downtown. The Program focuses on four areas along the corridor: Rocky Creek, Southgate, Oates Creek and Cherry Tree. Each community has unique needs, and concept plans have been developed for each neighborhood through input from community residents.


Upcoming Webinars: September 2013

Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders. Building Vibrant Local Economies: Diversifying local economies to strengthen county resilience Thursday, September 12, 2013 2:00 PM Eastern Click here to register Many rural places grew around a single industry, such as agriculture or manufacturing. … Continued


This hurricane season, how can the federal government improve the National Flood Insurance Program?

Sandy flooding in New Jersey
Damaged homes along the New Jersey shore after Sandy. Photo by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Flickr.

When communities are hit by a hurricane or flooding, the National Flood Insurance Program helps families recover and rebuild. Changes to the program proposed by Smart Growth America—and supported by the Obama Administration—could help homeowners reduce their flood risk and cut costs for the federal government at the same time.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding, and the National Flood Insurnce Program (NFIP) is a supplemental insurance offered by FEMA to protect families financially from flood damage. Many NFIP plan members pay highly subsidized rates that do not reflect the true risk of flooding or the costs associated with it, and these subsidies have contributed to increased development in flood hazard areas, putting more people and property at risk. All this has come at a high cost to taxpayers: The program is currently almost $24 billion in debt to the Department of Treasury.


Senators introduce bi-partisan legislation that would improve the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

American Brewing Building, Baltimore, MD
The American Brewery Building in Baltimore, MD, was redeveloped with the help of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. Photo via the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In June Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced S. 1141 The Creating American Prosperity Through Preservation (CAPP) Act, a bill that would encourage developers to invest in and restore historic buildings by updating the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program.

Since its inception in 1976, the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program has leveraged more than $106 billion of private-sector investment to preserve and rehabilitate more than 38,000 historic properties. The credit program has rehabilitated more than 75,000 low- and moderate-income housing units. In fact, nearly 75 percent of Historic Tax Credit projects are in low-income areas.


Partnership for Sustainable Communities celebrates 4 years of work in Asheville, NC

Speakers in Ashveille, NC
From left: Land-Of-Sky Regional Council Executive Director Joe McKinney, Congressman Heath Shuler and HUD Regional Field Director Christian Stearns. Photo via City of Asheville

The City of Asheville, the Land-of-Sky Regional Council and federal partners gathered in North Carolina last week to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities – a collaboration between the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency that helps communities across the country develop in more economically sustainable ways through the exchange of ideas, planning tools and public engagement.


Partnership in the News: City of Birmingham, AL breaks ground on new multi-use trail thanks to TIGER grant

The City of Birmingham, Alabama received a $10 million U.S Department of Transportation,Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to partially finance a bicycle-pedestrian trail through the city.

This trail system is part of a larger planned system, the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System, created with the input of over 3,000 residents of Jefferson County.

Thanks to the TIGER grant, the trail will connect residents to some of the city’s Civil Rights Heritage Sites, as well as provide options for physical activity and access to jobs, schools, and public transportation.When completed in 2014, the trail will span 29-miles and link 21 communities.


Upcoming Webinars: August 2013

Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.

Preserving Affordable Housing Near Transit: Program and Policy Models for Success
***NOTE: This is a rescheduled webinar from July 24 that was cancelled due to technical difficulties.****
Monday, August 5, 2013 – – 2:00-3:30 PM EDT
Click here to register.
Regions and cities across the country are struggling to preserve affordable housing near their current and future high frequency transit. This webinar will provide a brief overview of the need to preserve affordable housing near transit at the national level and will focus on three unique examples from the Boston, Denver, and Washington DC regions. The examples will highlight the ways that policy, cross sector collaboration, and financing can begin to address the need for affordable housing preservation near transit.

Building Vibrant Local Economies: Creating Entrepreneurial Communities in Rural Places
Thursday, August 15, 2013 – – 2:00-3:15 PM EDT
Click here to register.
Oftentimes, attracting and retaining entrepreneurs is overlooked as a vital way to build on existing assets to strengthen rural economic development on the local and regional levels. Communities across the country are finding ways to attract and retain an entrepreneurial community to help achieve their land use planning, economic development, and sustainability goals. Join NACo to learn more about strategies and resources for developing entrepreneurial communities in rural and small towns.


Appropriations update: Debate ends over T-HUD, brownfields funded in Senate

In an unusual situation on Capitol Hill this week, both the House and Senate had an opportunity to pass their versions of the FY 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bills – a bill that funds critical transportation and community development programs around the country. On Thursday the Senate moved to cut off debate … Continued