Complete Streets Supports the Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Last week, the National Complete Streets Coalition joined dozens of other organizations in urging the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to support the interdepartmental collaboration and success of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. (See the letter we signed below.)

The Partnership formed in 2009, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to coordinate activities related to improving affordable housing and transportation options, while also protecting the quality of land, air, and water in communities across the country.

The Partnership adopted a set of livability principles to guide their work, and we feel that, in pursuing them, the federal agencies are able to help promote and implement Complete Streets policies at all levels of government and in communities both large and small.

  • Provide more transportation choices. Complete Streets policies are fundamental to ensuring people have more choices in how they travel by providing safe, convenient, and accessible facilities for all modes and users, regardless of age or ability. In providing such choices, America is able to lessen the strain of household transportation costs (which are often higher than monthly food costs), reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, and promote public health.
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing. While Complete Streets polices do not directly relate to housing, they are key in ensuring lower combined cost of housing and transportation.
  • Increase economic competitiveness. A lack of transportation options can prevent qualified workers from obtaining and maintaining employment, and as we move toward life-long communities, people of all ages are looking for easy, safe options for getting to work, to education opportunities, and to other basic needs. Complete streets provide these options.
  • Support existing communities. Complete Streets policies are for communities of all sizes, urban, suburban, or rural. By graduating creating a network of roads that serve all users through well-planned, holistic transportation investments, the efficiency of those investments is increased and the surrounding neighborhood gets a boost in quality of life.
  • Leverage federal investment. Complete Streets policies ensure every project is creating better streets now. Implementation often changes the way agencies work, so that goals are aligned, barriers are removed, and all funding opportunities – federal and otherwise – are leveraged for maximum value, accountability, and effectiveness.
  • Value communities and neighborhoods. An effective complete streets policy is sensitive to the community’s transportation needs, mix of building functions, and natural resources. When implemented, a policy enhances these unique characteristics, is appropriate to the neighborhood’s urban, suburban, or rural feel, and increases safety for all users.

Because our goals are supported so clearly by the work of the Partnership’s policy changes and new programs that help local communities realize their Complete Streets policy, we urge Congress to support the Partnership this year and beyond.

Click through to read the letter.

Daniel Inouye, Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
United States Capitol, Room S-128
Washington, DC 20510
Thad Cochran, Vice Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
United States Capitol, Room S-206
Washington, DC 20510
Patty Murray, Chair
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 133
Washington, DC 20510
Susan Collins, Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies
Hart Senate Office Building, Room 123
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Appropriations Leaders:

Congress’s decisions about the federal budget can have immense implications for communities across America and their ability to rebuild local economies and improve fiscal stability. As you consider this year’s difficult budget decisions, we, the undersigned group of concerned organizations, urge you to support the federal programs that keep communities strong, healthy and economically vibrant.

Specifically, we urge you to support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and related grant programs in the FY11 continuing resolution and the FY12 appropriations process.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities helps community leaders get the most out of each federal or state dollar invested in their neighborhoods. These programs make federal investments go even further by helping local leaders leverage private sector investment, save money in municipal budgets and by helping families save on things like transportation – all while creating jobs. Our organizations strongly support these programs, including:

  • Continued funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, which provides Regional Planning Grants and Community Challenge Grants that help communities to leverage private sector investment, improve strategic growth, streamline regulatory barriers and make strategic investments with limited taxpayer dollars.
  • Continued funding for the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program in FY11, which strengthens the economy, creates jobs, reduces gridlock, and provides safe, low-cost transportation choices to our citizens.
  • The full commitment of obligated funds to grants received by more than 87 regions around the country under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative and the Department of Transportation’s TIGER program in FY09 and FY10.

We acknowledge that this year’s budget decisions are difficult ones and that Congress needs to cut wasteful spending, but the Partnership for Sustainable Communities helps the federal government work smarter. The Partnership is a vital opportunity to effectively coordinate and leverage federal programs for the greatest long-term benefit to our communities. Cutting these programs would be a short-sighted solution to the budget shortfall, and one which would stunt the economic growth of regions currently benefitting from the program.

We urge you to support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities in the FY11 continuing resolution and the FY12 appropriations process.


American Institute of Architects
American Planning Association
American Public Transportation Association
American Society of Landscape Architects
Apollo Alliance
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Audubon International
Center for Community Progress
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Center for Rural Strategies
CEOs for Cities
Coalition of Urban Serving Universities
Congress for the New Urbanism
Denver Housing Authority
Enterprise Community Partners
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Friends of the Earth
Good News Mountaineer Garage
Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
International Downtown Association
League of Rural Voters
Local Government Commission
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors
Low Income Investment Fund
Mercy Housing
Metropolitan Planning Council
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Association of Local Government Environment Professionals
National Complete Streets Coalition
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Housing Conference
National Housing Trust
National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Oregon Public Health Institute
Partnership for Working Families
Prevention Institute
Project for Public Spaces
Public Health Law & Policy
Quitman County Development Organization
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Reconnecting America
RiverStone Health
Safe States Alliance
Sierra Club
Smart Growth America
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future
Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments
The Partnership for Working Families
TOD Associates
Transportation for America
U.S. Green Building Council
Upstream Public Health

United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Click here (.pdf) to download a copy of the letter.

Complete Streets