President Obama today unveiled a budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 that includes strategic investments in America’s economic competitiveness and promotes long-term economic growth. Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement in response:
“The President’s proposed budget rightfully acknowledges the difficult financial times we as a country are facing. Many provisions propose spending the federal government’s limited funds in smarter ways that will help make the towns, cities and regions in our country more economically effective. Several aspects of the proposed budget focus on programs that will catalyze job creation and economic growth in the United States and we applaud the Obama Administration for putting taxpayer dollars to such good use.
“Smart growth is about building neighborhoods that work for the people who live there – meaning rural, suburban and urban communities with more housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools where people want them. These are places where strong economies and a healthy environment can both thrive at once. Places where community leaders choose to get the most out of each federal or state dollar invested in the neighborhoods. Where the private sector can help jump-start the local real estate market in a way that is right for that unique community. Where we make decisions to save money in our municipal budgets and in our own wallets and invest for the future.
“In particular, Smart Growth America endorses the provisions that would:
- Support an interagency effort led by HUD and the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to help distressed cities and regions utilize public resources more strategically and to form partnerships to support job creation and economic development.
- Stimulate economic growth in areas stymied by brownfields by providing technical assistance towns and cities and maintaining an area-wide planning program to integrate sustainable community development with environmental remediation activities.
- Invest in sustainable, innovative communities by providing $150 million to create incentives for more communities to develop comprehensive housing and transportation plans that result in sustainable development, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and increased transit-accessible housing.
- Preserve the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. This will continue to enable State and local governments to address infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic development needs in their communities.
- Include a six-year framework for funding surface transportation programs to modernize the country’s transportation infrastructure, create jobs, and create sustainable investments for long-term economic growth. The President plans to work with the Congress to ensure that the plan will not increase the deficit. This type of reform are precisely in line with recent polls, including one released today by the Rockefeller Foundation which shows that voters believe strongly that providing a modern, safe infrastructure is a primary role of our government.
- Promote infrastructure repair policies that will ensure that transportation agencies stop siphoning off money intended to rehabilitate bridges and highways.
“We support these parts of the President’s proposal and look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to address shortfalls in a few of critical places, including cuts to the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program and HOME which provides grants for building and rehabilitating affordable housing.”