Aug 03 2010
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today passed S. 1619, the Livable Communities Act, which included two important amendments proposed by Senator Warner. The bill represents a coordinated effort of the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to better plan for future community growth while encouraging affordable housing, more accessible transit options and reduced energy use.
Through competitive planning and implementation grants, the legislation will assist communities in promoting sustainable development, cutting traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, protecting farmland, spurring economic development and creating more affordable housing while also reducing long-term costs of unplanned expansion in our communities. The bill also includes important provisions that will allow rural communities to plan for growth and implement sustainable development plans.
As a member of the Banking Committee, Senator Warner was involved in shaping the legislation. He successfully amended the bill to include a review across federal programs for duplication on sustainable development programs and to develop common performance measures. Tracking performance and developing ways to measure the progress in achieving the goals of the legislation will improve accountability in transit oriented development efforts and will help guide us as we work to improve the effectiveness of these programs in the future. Senator Warner also teamed with Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado in amending the bill to establish a credit facility that will offer direct loans and loan guarantees to help local communities in funding transit oriented development projects. With significant upfront costs and long-term lending periods that make it hard for local communities to get financing, the credit facility will help communities, as well as public-private partnerships, meet the funding gaps that infrastructure projects currently face.
Having successfully passed out of the Senate Banking Committee, the Livable Communities Act now awaits consideration by the full Senate.