Legislation would encourage local and federal government collaboration to create more sustainable environmental, transportation, infrastructure, and housing programs
WASHINGTON, DC — (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-CA) has introduced the Sustainable Communities Act of 2019 to support community development through U.S. Department of Transportation grants to provide more transportation options, develop more affordable housing, and improve the livability of communities. As more people are priced out of Los Angeles and move to the Inland Empire, Torres’ bill would support new growth that gives residents reliable transportation and housing options for living in the region.
“As the Inland Empire grows, we need to make sure our local governments are forward-thinking and environmentally conscious in planning development for the future,” said Torres. “The Sustainable Communities Act will strengthen investment and encourage collaboration between local, public, and private groups to build communities that are meeting the housing and transportation needs of workers and families in our area.”
The Sustainable Communities Act builds on the Obama Administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). SCI provided Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants to locally-led initiatives and collaborations between public and private entities with funds to be used to work towards more sustainable environmental, transportation, infrastructure, and housing programs. HUD’s $250 million investment opened the door to hundreds of millions of dollars of public and private investment and engaged more than 3,300 partner groups across the country working to strengthen American cities, counties and regions. Specifically, the legislation would reauthorize this program for an additional five years, with an authorization of $150 million to invest in cities, counties, tribal organizations, universities, commissions, and associations.
Torres is a member of the powerful House Appropriations and Rules Committees. Last Congress, two of Torres’ legislative proposals to increase funding for infrastructure and transit programs were unanimously approved by the House. The first provision provided $12 million for the Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Demonstration Program, which she created as part of the 2015 FAST Act, to connect localities with private financing options, provide technical assistance, and encourage regional planning. The second provision directed $10 million to planning for Transit Oriented Development to help cities increase development with a focus on integrated planning.