Senate EPW Committee votes to reauthorize EPA's Brownfields program

swamp-rabbit-trail2
The EPA Brownfields program helped to remediate a former railroad line in Greenville, SC. Today that line is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the backbone of an extensive pedestrian and bicycling trail system in the county. Photo via Flickr.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program has helped hundreds of communities clean up and redevelop vacant and contaminated land known as brownfields. The program has not been an official part of the federal budget for several years, however. Last week the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) voted to change that.

On May 18, the EPW Committee approved the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015 (BUILD Act), which would reauthorize the EPA Brownfields program through 2018. Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator Edward Markey introduced the Act on June 2, 2015. Last week the bill passed on voice vote without amendment.

LOCUS

DRIVE Act could step up Complete Streets implementation

Indy Mass Ave credit Ian FreimuthThe Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, IN exemplifies design flexibility in creating streets that are safe and inviting for walking, bicycling, and driving. Photo by Ian Freimuth.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved its draft six-year bill, the DRIVE Act, this week. Included in the bill are several provisions that would provide the long-term stability that states, regions, and local communities need to plan and build good projects and offers important steps forward for safe, multimodal streets.

Complete Streets

Smart growth news – November 14

U.S. Farmers Reclaim Land From Developers
Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2011
Five years into a brutal national housing downturn, raw land destined for residential development has fallen so far in value that thousands of acres across the country are being used again for agriculture.

McMansions swell the real eastate market as homebuyers think small
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), November 13, 2011
Certain homebuyers once prized these large houses, tucked away on a few acres of land and featuring half a dozen bedrooms, grand entranceways, and three-car garages. But in the face of the economic collapse, declines in personal wealth, a tight housing market, and a shift of what prospective homeowners want, all that has changed. Major demographic changes could also make the market shrink even further in the next five years, as baby boomers retire and look to downsize. The generation behind them is smaller and has less money and a desire to live closer to urban centers.

In Shift, More People Move In to New York Than Out
New York Times, November 11, 2011
While much of the city’s population growth in recent years has been fueled by the influx of immigrants and more people being born than dying, there have been new waves of arrivals from other parts of the country and fewer New Yorkers leaving. In 2010, 252,000 people moved to New York — 157,000 from elsewhere in the country — while 220,000 left, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That contrasts sharply with 2006, when 230,000 arrived and 341,000 left.

Uncategorized

Summary of the Senate MAP-21 transportation bill proposal

Crossposted from Transportation for America.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a draft of the transportation bill late Friday. The EPW committee’s portion of the bill covers what’s known as the “highway” title. (The Banking Committee is responsible for writing the “transit” title and the Commerce Committee covers rail and safety. Those sections of the bill have not been released yet.)

We’ve prepared a short few pages on what MAP-21 means for the federal transportation program. This top-line analysis is a bit on the wonky side, but hopefully it’ll be helpful if you’ve been trying to summarize the 600 pages of bill text.

One of the most visible changes MAP-21 makes is to restructure seven core highway programs and 13+ formula programs into just five core highway programs. This graphic below illustrates those changes. Read on for the full summary, which you can also download here. (PDF)

Uncategorized