Update on Appropriations: The Partnership for Sustainable Communities

This week, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities celebrated three years of collaborative and innovative work, but members of Congress proposed to eliminate and restrict the funding of its programs. While the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations (T-HUD) bill in the Senate had not been brought to the floor, the full House of Representatives has passed … Continued

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Proposed House Appropriations Bill Would Defund Smart Growth Program, Slash EPA Funding

WASHINGTON DC — In language that puts politics ahead of public safety and economic development, the House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year 2013 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill zeroes out funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s smart growth program and reduces EPA funding overall by 17 percent. “Though House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers … Continued

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Update on Appropriations: The Partnership for Sustainable Communities

This week, the House Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee marked up their spending bill for the 2013 fiscal year. The bill funds HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities to continue its operations, though funding for the tremendously popular Regional Planning and Community Challenge grants was not included. Also lacking in the bill was funding for DOT’s TIGER grants.

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National Brownfields Coalition ramps up outreach to Congress during 2013 Appropriations process


Cumberland Park on Nashville, TN’s waterfront, transformed a former industrial area into a 6.5 acre nature-inspired play space that gets kids and parents moving. It is an excellent example of brownfield redevelopment in action. Photo via Inhabit.com.

As Congress considers the federal budget for fiscal year 2013, the National Brownfields Coalition is working to support several brownfields-related federal programs. These programs include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Brownfields program, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 108 loan guarantee authority, its Sustainable Communities program, and the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) program.

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Senate Appropriations Committee votes to restore funding to HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative

This morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2013 spending bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and restored $50 million in funding to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Sustainable Communities Initiative.

To those of you who took time to write or call your Senator in the past week on behalf of this issue, THANK YOU! This victory would not have been possible without your help!

The Sustainable Communities Initiative is part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between HUD, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency which coordinates federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution.

The Senate’s vote is a huge step forward for the Partnership’s work this year. The Partnership programs are already helping communities across the country use their resources more wisely and support their local economy – read more about these communities on our Partnership blog.

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Senate subcommittee votes to restore funding to HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development approved its FY 2013 spending bill, including a restoration of $50 million in funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative.

The subcommittee voted 15-1 to approve the bill, which contains $53.4 billion for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending for FY 2013, a 3.5% decrease from current levels. During the markup, Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) emphasized the important role infrastructure investment plays in creating jobs and improving our economy.

“This legislation will create jobs and make critical investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, rail and transit systems, and airports. The bill also preserves an essential part of the country’s safety net by protecting housing assistance for low-income families and veterans,” Murray later said in a statement.

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Smart growth news – April 18, 2012

Senate committee approves transportation and HUD budget
The Hill – April 17, 2012
A $53.4 billion budget for the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments was approved on Tuesday by a Senate subcommittee. The measure was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. It is less than the $74 billion President Obama requested for transportation in his 2013 budget proposal, and $44.8 billion less than he called for housing and urban development.

Highway Bill Faces Veto over Pipeline Provision
Reuters – April 18, 2012
he White House on Tuesday renewed its threat to veto legislation to fund U.S. transportation projects responsible for millions of jobs if it includes the politically charged Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Austin, Atlanta Give ‘Middleweight’ U.S. Cities Global Punch
Businessweek – April 17, 2012
Mid-size U.S. cities such as Austin, Texas, and Atlanta will join New York and Los Angeles to drive more than 10 percent of the world’s growth from now to 2025, McKinsey Global Institute said in a report.

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National Brownfields Coalition successfully advocates for federal brownfields program in FY 2012

For small towns, cleaning up a contaminated brownfield can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Rehabilitating former industrial sites, abandoned gas stations or other polluted land can be complicated and expensive – but transforming this land can have enormous benefits to both the environment and the economy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Brownfields Program helps communities of all sizes achieve these goals.

As Congress debated the federal budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, Smart Growth America’s National Brownfields Coalition ramped up a national campaign to support the EPA Brownfields Program in the FY 2012 appropriations process. Faced with $40 million in proposed cuts from the House of Representatives, the Coalition reached deep into its membership to generate support for this important federal program. The Coalition asked mayors and economic development directors across the country to contact their Members of Congress and successfully reached nearly three-quarters of the members of the Interior and Environment Appropriations subcommittees.

The result of these efforts was that $35 million of those proposed cuts were restored. Among the many efforts involved in achieving this goal, dozens of towns, elected officials, non-profits, companies and other organizations sent letters to their members of Congress supporting the EPA Brownfields Program in FY 2012 appropriations.

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Omnibus package includes full funding for EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities

A contaminated empty lot is more than just an unsightly nuisance for its neighbors. It’s a financial burden on taxpayers, local businesses and nearby homeowners, not to mention a serious threat to land and water quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities helps towns and cities address these kinds of problems and turn them into economic assets. Today Congress is scheduled to vote on the final FY 2012 Omnibus Spending package which includes full funding for the EPA’s Smart Growth Program in fiscal year 2012.

“Today’s vote will be a victory for towns across the country working toward economic prosperity,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “The EPA’s Office provides towns with the tools they need to overcome some of the largest, most persistent challenges to creating a stronger local economy. We are thrilled that Congress decided to support this program.”

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Smart growth news – November 2

Senate passes $182B spending bill for agriculture, transportation and housing programs
Washington Post, November 1, 2011
The Senate has approved must-do legislation to fund the day-to-day budgets of five Cabinet agencies, kick-starting long overdue work to add the details to budget limits agreed to by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans this summer.

Senate votes to spare money for bike paths
Associated Press, November 1, 2011
Republican senators failed Tuesday in their third effort in less than two months to eliminate federal money for bike paths, walking trails and other transportation enhancement projects.

City’s 20-year bike plan obsolete after 4 years?
Seattle Times, November 1, 2011
Just four years after Seattle published its $300,000 Bicycle Master Plan, city officials are considering spending an additional $400,000 to revise it. The 2007 bike plan, a 174-page document produced for then-Mayor Greg Nickels, was supposed to be a 20-year blueprint to help Seattle build a $240 million cycling network as good or better than Portland’s.

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