In wake of Senate action, Representatives Pallone and Tonko introduce House version of Brownfields authorization bill

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EPA Brownfields funds helped transform the site of a former tin manufacturing and can factory into a mixed-use office and retail hub in Canton, Baltimore, MD. Photo via EPA.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill to authorize and improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields program. Now the House of Representatives is moving to do the same.

Last week Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) and Paul D. Tonko (NY-20) introduced the Brownfields Authorization Increase Act of 2016 (H.R. 5782). The legislation would amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to enhance EPA’s Brownfields program and include it as a formal part of the federal budget.

Senate passes bill to help communities redevelop brownfield sites, urges House of Representatives to do the same

quik-trip-greenvilleEPA Brownfields funds helped transform the site of a former auto body repair shop into a neighborhood market in an underserved community in Greenville, SC. Photo via.

With sweeping bipartisan support, last week the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation to help communities across the country clean up and redevelop contaminated land. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), one of the champions of the bill, urged his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to do the same.

Senate EPW Committee votes to reauthorize EPA's Brownfields program

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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.

Speaking out for smart growth issues leads to a better transportation bill in the Senate

Yesterday, the Senate finally passed its version of a six-year federal transportation bill. As you likely know by now, this bill will have a huge impact on how communities across America grow in the coming years.

We asked you to speak out about a number of issues related to this bill over the last few weeks. And right now, I want to say thank you for stepping up.

Many of the crucial provisions we championed—the Safe Streets Act, TIFIA financing for transit-oriented development, and protection of the TIGER grants program at the U.S. Department of Transportation—were included in the final version of the bill.

Complete Streets, TOD, and TIGER all included in Senate Commerce Committee’s transportation bill

Yesterday the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved its six-year transportation bill, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1732).

The bill includes dozens of transportation provisions, but we were watching three in particular: the Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act (S. 1626) and the Safe Streets amendment, both of which we hoped to see included, and a proposal to narrow the scope of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER grants, which we hoped would be cut.

What we're watching: Senate Commerce Committee to mark up six-year transportation bill today

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Later today the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is scheduled to mark up the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (S. 1732), a proposed six-year transportation reauthorization. As we’ve mentioned here before, the federal transportation bill has huge implications for development across the country. Here’s what we’ll be looking for during today’s proceedings.

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.

Senate committee votes "yes" on financing for transit-oriented development

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Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously approved the Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act (S. 1626). The bill expands the capabilities of the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF), a $30 billion loan program to provide needed financing for transit-oriented development infrastructure and development projects near passenger rail stations.

Transit-oriented development financing included in senate transportation reauthorization bill

Today, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee unanimously approved its six-year, $275 billion transportation reauthorization bill, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. LOCUS Director Christopher Coes made the following statement: “The Senate took an important first step towards passing vital transportation and infrastructure legislation that will increase private … Continued

Senate Appropriations Committee Marks Up FY15 THUD Bill

Yesterday, the Senate FY15 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 29-1 vote. The bill proposes funding levels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other related agencies for fiscal year 2015.

This comes on the heels of the House Appropriations Committee passing their version last month. Overall, the Senate bill would provide $54.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for THUD agencies, as opposed to the $52 billion from the House bill. Despite the funding differences between the two bills, the final funding decisions will likely be determined in an omnibus appropriations package later this year.