Senators Propose $4 Billion for Transit-Oriented Development Grants

Making good on a vow first reported
in Streetsblog Capitol Hill, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris
Dodd (D-CT) and three colleagues today offered a bill authorizing $4
billion in grants to help states and cities pursue transit-oriented
development, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and other green
transport projects.

dodd_working.jpgSenate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) (Photo: Washington Note)

The
legislation aims to put some teeth in the goals of the inter-agency
Sustainable Communities effort that the Obama administration launched earlier this year.
Dodd’s plan would create an office within the Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) to spearhead the work and administer two new
competitive grant programs.

The first, slated for $400 million over four years, would help
states and cities implement regional plans that integrate sustainable
housing, transportation, and community development.

The
second, slated for $3.75 billion over three years, would assist
localities in making their plans materialize, from affordable housing
to bike-ped access. Both grant programs would need to be separately
funded through appropriations bills, but authorizing the spending is a
crucial first step.

The bill is co-sponsored by Banking panel
Democrats Robert Menendez (NJ), Michael Bennet (CO), and Jeff Merkley
(OR). Here is Dodd’s statement on the measure:

As
our communities grow, people are commuting longer distances on more crowded
roadways. Those are precious hours they
could be spending with their families, and precious dollars wasted on
gas. We must change the way we plan for the future of our communities and
tackle these challenges with a coordinated
strategy.

A House counterpart bill has yet to be introduced.