Our economy is at a virtual standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and healthcare. Businesses of all sizes are facing an existential threat. Local municipal budgets are being gutted. As we hope for light at the end of the tunnel we’ll need to craft a smart recovery. We leaned on our experience with the stimulus of 2009 and our long expertise in infrastructure and community development to produce a package of federal policy recommendations Congress should consider to build the foundation for a long-lasting recovery.
The economic collapse brought on by the spread of COVID-19 has necessitated urgent action to protect our economy, but we must invest wisely. Funds must go to investments that build lasting economic prosperity and ultimately help all Americans have the opportunity to live in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. While many sectors of our economy are in need of support, we encourage policy makers to provide support for infrastructure and community revitalization programs.
Early yesterday morning, congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic stabilization plan that includes $25 billion emergency direct assistance to transit agencies, at a time when agencies’ revenue is plummeting, as well as more than $1 billion for passenger rail. This is a huge victory, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your messages and calls to Congress. But there’s still more work to do.
Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), Dan Kildee (D-MI-5), Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), and Mike Kelly (R-PA-16) have introduced the REHAB Act in the U.S. House. This legislation, if passed, will help spur private investment in affordable housing and public infrastructure in the places where it’s needed most: walkable, transit-connected places.
Upon the release of the President’s proposed FY 2021 budget request to Congress, SGA President & CEO Calvin Gladney issued this statement.
The House majority’s recent infrastructure proposal finally recognizes what Smart Growth America has been saying for years: We’ll never be able to build and sustain healthy, prosperous and resilient communities without a unified approach to transportation, climate, water, land use, and community development. This is a smart first step, but the details will determine whether or not these investments improve the deep inequities in America, or just make them worse.
Transportation doesn’t just mean cars or trucks—or just bikes, buses, and walking. Transportation is all of those and more, and different modes are better suited for different people, different stages of life, and different tasks. But in America our “transportation system” is more often than not comprised mostly of highways and roads designed solely for cars, with little space for people. The essay below is a personal reflection on how transportation needs and desires change, yet our transportation system often makes it challenging and dangerous to get around without a car.
This year, Smart Growth America continued to produce vital research and other content that is changing the conversation around critical issues. This resources fuel our advocacy across the country and in the nation’s capital, fighting for a future that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient.
Our family is a biking family. For us, that means being healthy, active, and having a lot of freedom and mobility. Biking is how our family chooses to get around, but building a family-friendly city means having streets that can help people get around in any number of ways—walking, biking, transit, scooting, or driving.
Whether responding to growing demands for attainable housing, making streets safer in the face of a record number of people killed while walking, or seeking to improve inequities after decades of disinvestment in marginalized neighborhoods, the role of community builders today can be challenging—and contested. But it’s far too easy for local elected officials and planners to default to doing nothing when confronted with challenges or people who vehemently oppose change. When soliciting community involvement and feedback it should not be a matter of if something changes, but how, and whose voices are heard.