Archive for the ‘Federal’ Category
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced that LEED® for Neighborhood Development will be used to score the location efficiency of grant applications.
HUD will apply the criteria to grant submissions to the upcoming Sustainable Communities Planning Grants and others, totaling $3.25 billion in available grant funds.
“It’s time that federal dollars stopped encouraging sprawl and started lowering the barriers to the kind of sustainable development our country needs and our communities want,” said Donovan.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announces HUD will look at location efficiency of grant applicants, utilizing LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND).
In his remarks to the CNU, Donovan depicted the integration of “location efficiency” measures as a way to encourage housing developers to pursue more mixed-use, denser construction.
“[I]t’s time that federal dollars stopped encouraging sprawl and started lowering the barriers to the kind of sustainable development our country needs and our communities want,” Donovan said. “And with $3.25 billion at stake in these competitions, that’s exactly what they will start to do.”
Mark Muro, Policy Director at Brookings, discusses draft language for the reauthorization of America COMPETES Act, which includes new attention on regional clusters for boosting economic growth through innovation.
According to the current text of Sec. 503 of H.R. 5116, the draft legislation calls for the establishment in the Department of Commerce of a two-part federal initiative that would:
- Establish a regional innovation cluster RIC grants program to “encourage and support the development of regional innovation strategies”
- Create a research and information program on regional innovation strategies, to gather and disseminate best practices in regional innovation strategies and collect and make available data on U.S. clusters
Through these provisions, the federal government will make available competitive grants and information aimed at stimulating the collaborative interactions of firms and other institutions in regions to produce more commercial innovation and higher wage employment. Under the grant program, specifically, the government will award competitive grants to the best, bottom-up proposals for advancing cluster activities–whether it be for planning activities, technical assistance, or market analysis–in individual regions whether by governments, non-profits, public-private partnerships, and other entities.
Clusters COMPETE | The New Republic (via The Other Side of the Tracks)
Developed by The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) for the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the site guides users through an analytical framework to identify issues and opportunities, and suggests appropriate strategies to be considered for different contexts.
Developed for local planners,
“The goal of this guide is to help communities start an inclusive mixed-income TOD planning process in their jurisdiction and help stakeholders be better equipped to know the right questions to ask, where they can find the answers, and what tools and strategies might be available to address their community needs,” FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff told Congress in announcing the guide.
Creating Successful Transit Oriented Districts in Los Angeles: A Citywide Toolkit for Achieving Regional Goals has also just been released from CTOD. The report includes performance evaluations of stations, focus group work, and recommendations for expanding TOD in Los Angeles. This includes some great comparative information on the relative density and jobs/housing mix of LA’s transit stations. The report also provides topical fact sheets (Public Health, Affordable Housing, Economic Growth, SB375) and station profiles for 70 existing and planned stations along 5 corridors.
Continuing to prepare for the pending closing of the NUMMI automobile plant in Fremont, the City is applying for a U.S. Economic Development Administration Planning and Technical Assistance Grant to look at the options for redeveloping the site, including a potential new A’s baseball stadium.
You can also find out more from a January 12, 2010 City Council working session on City staff’s Conceptual Approach to Oakland A’s Relocation.
California High Speed Rail has been awarded $2.25 of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money for high speed rail nationwide.
Construction is supposed to begin by September 2012 and complete by September 2017 in order to receive the funding.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talked Wednesday about the Obama administration efforts on the New Starts transit grant program, the transportation bill, and transportation funding in the next jobs bill being discussed in Congress. A number of the key elements have been discussed in detail by Elana Schor at Streetsblog:
The first move: LaHood’s DOT will rescind a 2005 rule that elevated “cost-effectiveness” above all other criteria used to determine whether a local transit project can receive federal funds. Cost remains a factor in the “New Starts” process, but is no longer given more weight than factors such as congestion relief.
The second of the Obama administration’s moves: Environmental and economic benefits will become official factors in evaluation ‘New Starts’ proposals. This change requires a rulemaking by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which typically includes a period of public comment, so will not take effect immediately.
In announcing this latter shift, LaHood and FTA chief Peter Rogoff emphasized the need to look at the community-building benefits of transit.
LaHood addressed the ongoing impasse over a new federal bill during his remarks today on the transit rules change, calling fresh six-year legislation a ‘critical pice of the puzzle.’
‘I recognize there’s a lot of capacity and demand for additional transportation investments across the country that neither the stimulus nor a new jobs bill can provide,’ he said. ‘We need to empower regional and local transportation authorities to invest in the kinds of projects that will spur economic growth, enhance livability, and preserve the qualities that make each area special.’
On the next jobs bill:
The administration wants a jobs bill to augment the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery discretionary grant program, LaHood said.
The so-called TIGER program was launched as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a meager $1.5 billion, which was only enough to fund a fraction of the applications state and local governments submitted to the Department of Transportation.
On the importance of shifting more funding to the TIGER program, Streetsblog’s Elana Schor explains:
The House opted not to bolster TIGER funding in the $154 billion jobs bill that it passed last month, which included $75 billion in total infrastructure money that would be distributed through existing, and oft-criticized, transport formulas. . .
The choice to begin transitioning toward a more merit-based funding system by distributing money between the competitive TIGER program and the existing transportation formulas is now up to the Senate, which could release its jobs bill as soon as next week. A final vote, however, isn’t expected until next month at the earliest. . .
Also in the federal policy news from Streetsblog Capitol Hill, EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy talks about reducing vehicle miles traveled and transportation policy – EPA Air Chief: We Need to Do More to Reduce VMT.
Kaid Benfield discusses the winners of the 2009 EPA smart growth award.
Alice Lai-Bitker, Alameda County Supervisor and chair of the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority Board, discusses safe routes to school and transportation funding for walking, biking, and access to transit.