Washington DC — In providing full funding in its fiscal 2013 budget for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the Obama Administration has strengthened one of its most innovative inter-agency programs and has reaffirmed the numerous benefits that come from efforts to address housing, transportation and environmental needs in a coordinated manner.
Smart Growth America applauds Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget request to restore funding for the Sustainable Communities Initiative at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Partnership’s programs at the two other participating agencies, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, would remain funded at current levels, preserving their ability to aid communities across the country.
“The Partnership represents an unprecedented level of interaction between government agencies, aligning them in a way that supports economic growth and uses taxpayer dollars more effectively,” said Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “It’s great to see that in these tough economic times, the Administration is investing in programs that help to cut through government red-tape and generate fiscal savings for our local communities. Improving access to affordable housing, creating more transportation options, and protecting the environment equates to a win-win-win for our economy.”
The EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup program received a small funding reduction, but will continue to play a key role in redeveloping abandoned lands across the nation. It has a strong history of national, bipartisan support.
Additionally, the Obama Administration’s new budget proposes to permanently authorize the TIGER inter-modal transportation grant program, which is awarded to participating communities on a competitive basis, and also proposes to adopt a “fix it first” policy for federal highway and public transportation grants.
“Now more than ever, we need investments in transportation infrastructure and to be mindful about how we’re growing as a country,” Anderson added. “To stimulate our economy and to pave the way for America’s future success, we must continue to view conversations about transportation, housing, education and other key areas as profoundly connected. It’s common sense: the right kinds of investments today will provide returns and savings tomorrow.”
Increases in fiscal 2013 funding for the Choice and Promise Neighborhoods programs – by a combined $70 million, according to the Administration’s new budget – likewise emphasize a commitment to addressing entrenched social and economic issues. Smart Growth America strongly supports the Administration’s efforts to aid distressed urban, suburban and rural areas.
“It’s always easier to point out what needs to be fixed than it is to offer solutions,” Anderson said. “This year, we look forward to working with the Administration on solutions to enact the policies and programs that will help create great neighborhoods nationwide.”