USDOT wants to make it easier to find funding for innovative transportation projects

build-america-bureauTransportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at the launch of the Build America Bureau last month. Photo via USDOT.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) offers a number of different grant and loan programs for innovative transportation projects. But navigating the application process for these programs—or even knowing exactly what types of projects are eligible under each one—can be complicated.

To help cities and state navigate and better utilize all these programs, last month USDOT launched the the Build America Bureau, a one-stop shop for information about how to apply for federal transportation grants and loans. As Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx explained at the launch, the Bureau will “streamline credit opportunities and grants more quickly and transparently, while providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring.”

Ask USDOT to #MakeMeCount this Bike to Work Day

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Don and his co-pilot asked USDOT to #MakeMeCount last week. Photo by @KostelecPlan.

This Friday, thousands of people across the country will put on their helmets and take to the streets for National Bike to Work Day, an annual event promoting active commuting options and safer streets.

Will you be joining the event? If so, make your ride even more impactful by telling USDOT to #MakeMeCount when it comes to measuring how well a street works.

Five things to read and share during #InfrastructureWeek

This morning kicked off this year’s Infrastructure Week, a chance for political leaders and advocates to talk about how to make our nation’s roads, bridges, sidewalks, water, and digital infrastructure better for everyone.

Looking for ways to get involved? Here are five things to read and share this week:

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1. Two big moves for safer, more complete streets

Federal Highway Administration has a lot of influence over our nation’s infrastructure, and last week the agency made two big moves to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets. Read more >>

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2. Mapping structurally deficient bridges

Do you drive across a bridge each day? There’s a good chance it’s structurally deficient. That’s according to The Fix We’re In For, our report about bridge conditions across the country. Find structurally deficient bridges in your area with our interactive map or get an overview of the national findings with this infographic.

Feds get out of the way of communities that want to design safer, more complete streets

The Federal Highway Administration made two big moves this last week to clear the way for states, metro areas, and local communities to use federal dollars to design safer, more complete streets.

Both of these updates are great news for anyone advocating for streets that better meet the needs of everyone that uses them, as well as better serving the goals of the surrounding community. FHWA deserves a big round of applause for making these changes.

If you are working on a local transportation project and your DOT or some other agency cites vague federal rules when refusing to build a safe and complete street, show them the FHWA memo below. Their guidance makes it extremely clear: there’s wide latitude to design streets to best suit local needs, and old regulations that treat all roads like highways have been rolled back.

Tell USDOT that #WeAllCount

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If someone takes the bus to work, and no one is around to count them, do they still matter?

We say yes, but the U.S. Department of Transportation seems to disagree.

Last week, USDOT issued a draft rule that will govern how states and metro areas will have to measure and address congestion, along with freight movement and emissions. These new requirements will help measure what America’s transportation dollars are actually buying us—which is great. 

However, the rule as it is currently written would measure success in outdated ways. Using old measures will lead to the continued use of outdated strategies, such as prioritizing fast driving speeds above all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.

Newly awarded technical assistance will help nine communities make the most of their transit projects

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Oklahoma City, OK – and its project restoring the historic Santa Fe depot, above — is one of nine communities selected to receive technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration and Smart Growth America.

Nine communities working to support development around planned or existing transit projects will get a big boost this year thanks to newly awarded technical assistance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in partnership with Smart Growth America.

The National Public Transportation/Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Initiative, which officially launched in December, is a four-year project of FTA in partnership with Smart Growth America to help communities across the country build compact, mixed-use, equitable development around transit stations, with a focus on development in disadvantaged areas.

Supporters spoke out for safer streets, and USDOT listened

Thanks to the action of supporters like you, all Americans will be safer on our streets. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation released a much-improved ruling for how states and metro areas should measure — and be held accountable for improving — the safety of streets for everyone that uses them. Back in 2014, 1,500 Smart … Continued

New and expanded urban development programs included in President Obama's 2017 budget proposal

promise-zone-camdenPresident Obama in Camden, NJ in May. Camden is one of 13 Promise Zones, a program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would be expanded under the 2017 proposed budget. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, via HUD.

President Obama released his proposal for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 federal budget yesterday, and it outlines the President’s lofty political ambitions for the coming year. The proposal focuses on five main goals: continuing the country’s economic and fiscal progress, supporting innovation, creating opportunity for all Americans, national security and global leadership, and improving how government works. Smart growth strategies play an important role in achieving several of those goals — here are some specifics of what the budget would mean for programs related to housing, urban development, and transportation.