A few of the record-breaking 1,700 attendees at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Seattle might have been pinching themselves on Thursday night after hearing three of President Obama’s cabinet secretaries emphasize the importance of smart growth, sustainability and livability as core goals shaping the work of their three massive federal agencies.
Demonstrating the Obama Administration’s commitment to making neighborhoods more livable, sustainable and affordable, Secretaries Ray Lahood and Shaun Donovan of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development came to Seattle to discuss their plans to use their giant agencies’ budgets and programs in unison to help American families in rural, suburban and urban communities have better options for affordable housing and getting where they need to go each day. Making sure that future growth in our towns and cities results in affordable homes in walkable neighborhoods close to places to work, shop or go to school means less money wasted on skyrocketing transportation costs — saving money for everyday Americans.
(Lahood and Donovan were joined by Assistant Administrator Mathy V. Stanislaus from the Environmental Protection Agency, filling in for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who was unable to attend due to a conflict, but sent a video message for the conference recipients to watch.)
Secretary Ray LaHood made it clear that the federal government will be a powerful supporting partner in the work that all of us are doing across the country to ensure that the neighborhoods, communities and cities we call home are great places to live for decades to come. “You guys are the dreamers; the innovators — but we are going to partner with you to do this work,” he said.
Smart Growth America applauds HUD, DOT and EPA for the powerful message delivered by cabinet secretaries flying across the country to tell 1,700 planners, local officials, advocates and ordinary citizens that they’ll be making smarter growth and livability the norm and the standard — not the exception.