Partnership in the news: Smart Growth in the Military

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 3.58.01 PM
Members of the U.S. Military ride public transportation. Photo via Flickr

In 2010 the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) was awarded $640,000 for Planning for Livable Military Communities, a project to provide improved transportation and housing conditions for families in the US armed forces. The award comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Challenge Grant, which is an initiative of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

North Central Texas is home to Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base. Many of the military families live off-base in surrounding communities including Fort Worth, White Settlement, Westworth Village and River Oaks. Planners intend to use the community challenge grant in a number of studies aimed at integrating smart growth strategies in these surrounding communities.

The NCTCOG will conduct a number studies that will create short- and long-term recommendations to improve transportation options, establish a model building code for greater energy efficiency, and update zoning codes and ordinances.

These recommendations will lead to a reduction in vehicle miles traveled and energy consumption, improve air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while establishing a network of safe and connected neighborhoods. They will also help identify locations for military housing that reduce household transportation costs and that are considered affordable by Navy standards.

This week, the Senate will consider the National Defense Authorization Act, in which Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced an amendment to improve major military bases through smarter master planning. The bill, S. 1749 seeks to make better use of  land occupied by Department of Defense military bases by planning for redevelopment and infill development; planing for horizontal and vertical mixed-use development; consideration for the full lifecycle costs of planning decisions; and establishing growth boundaries to preserve range and training space.

Funding for the Planning for Livable Military Communities project was made in part through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between the HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to help communities improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while promoting sustainable practices.

If you support the partnership and other similar programs, ask your congressman to fund these programs today!