Bipartisan omnibus bill represents a strong federal commitment to local communities

Yesterday, congressional leaders released a bipartisan FY18 omnibus funding agreement. In response Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoff Anderson issued the following statement:

“This bipartisan appropriations bill reflects a strong federal commitment to rebuilding our country’s neighborhoods and investing in a range of federal programs that will help local leaders and advocates build strong local economies.

“This bill includes the reauthorization of EPA’s brownfields program (H.R. 3017) which will catalyze significant investment in brownfield cleanup and accelerate economic growth across the country. There are scores of neglected and contaminated sites weighing down the economic potential of local communities, and this important program will equip local leaders to restore these properties and transform them from liabilities into powerful assets as they rebuild their neighborhoods and downtowns. This is the culmination of more than five years of work and advocacy by Smart Growth America and our National Brownfields Coalition, and we applaud the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and the Energy and Commerce Committees, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for their bipartisan leadership in making this reauthorization a reality.

“The bipartisan funding agreement also protects vital funding for affordable housing and community development, including $1.4 billion in funding for the HOME program and $3.3 for the Community Development Block Grant program, programs which were both slated to be either reduced or eliminated in President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal. We’re also pleased that the agreement includes the plan from Senators Hatch and Cantwell (S. 548) to make needed adjustments to the successful Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in order to support greater mixed income and affordable housing projects.

“When the president released his budget request last year, we called it ‘a broadside against communities,’ because Americans shouldn’t have to choose between good transportation and attainable housing, or between support for small businesses and support for low-income families. These programs need to work together in order to succeed. This proposed FY18 omnibus agreement reflects a better approach, and we call on Congress to swiftly pass this bill and urge the president to sign it.”