Score One For Livability

Senator Dodd's Livable Communities Act passed a milestone on August 3 by passing the Banking Committee on a party line vote: 12-10. Known as a "smart growth planning" bill, it would integrate transportation with housing and economic planning.

Dodd's bill would make 'livability' more than just a popular planning term but the essence of a $4 billion federal planning law that would help transportation plaining fit into sustainable development.

"If passed, the Act would provide $4 billion in competitive grants for projects that integrate transportation, housing, economic development and environmental planning. It would also establish a new Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities in the Department of Housing and Urban Development to coordinate federal policies that foster sustainable development "

From Jesse Prentice-Dunn/Sierra Club Chapter Transportation Chairs Listserv: "After the Senate returns from August recess, Senator Dodd hopes to advance his bill to the floor of the Senate (possibly attached to another bill) and pass it before he retires. So we'll have more work to do convincing other Senators to support this good legislation and get it passed. "

Senator Chris Dodd in "his statement as prepared for delivery and a summary of the bill":
"There is great demand for the kind of integrated planning and ‘location-efficient" investments that the Livable Communities Act makes possible. This is demonstrated by the fact that hundreds of communities from all 50 states have submitted expressions of interest in applying for HUD's Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program, which is closely modeled on the planning program authorized in this legislation."

Thanks to Jesse Prentice-Dunn

Full Story: Livable Communities Act Gains Momentum

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

More on Livable Communities Act

DC.Streetsblog has a truly excellent write-up on this important legislative event. Two interesting paragraphs on roles of Envision Utah and AARP:
"To make the case for the bill to his rural and Republican counterparts, Dodd singled out Envision Utah, a campaign that has built public support for smart growth policies in one of the country's reddest states. Not a single GOP Senator voted for the bill, however, even Utah's Bob Bennett, who told UPI, "I think the overall philosophy is wise, but I will be voting against it."

"Some of the strongest backing for the bill has come from AARP, which sent a letter to committee members on Monday pointing out that the country's aging population will be poorly served if development patterns don't evolve to make driving less necessary. "Nine out of ten of our members tell us they want to stay in their own homes as they age -- most are living in suburban or rural areas and don't have access to public transportation," said Debra Alvarez, senior legislative representative for AARP. "There's a lot of things that can be done in small towns: co-locating things like post offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, and putting housing there too."

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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