Rep. Earl Blumenauer: Announcing the Livable Communities Task Force

Editor’s note: Today we have a guest post from Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who has
represented Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District since 1996. He is the
lead sponsor of the House’s "CLEAN TEA" climate legislation and founded the Congressional Bicycle Caucus.

congressman_earl_blumenauer.jpgRep. Earl Blumenauer. Photo: Airdye.com

With much excitement, today we are launching the Livable Communities Task Force
— an official initiative of the House Democratic Caucus that will work
to improve community livability and Americans’ quality of life.

This
means reducing the nation’s dependence on oil, protecting the
environment, improving public health and investing in housing and
transportation projects that create jobs and give people more commuting
choices.

As Chairman of the Livable Communities Task Force, this
is an exciting moment for me. When I first came to Congress 13 years
ago, people sometimes looked at me funny when I used the term
“livability.” They had no idea what I was talking about. Today, not
only are blogs like yours dedicated to transportation, infrastructure,
and livability, but other leaders in Washington are talking about how
to make our communities more livable.

The Obama administration is leading on this issue, having recently established
the Partnership for Sustainable Communities with six “livability
principles” for coordinating policy across the Departments of
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental
Protection Agency.

What a difference a year makes.

The Task Force is made up of 20 members
from around the nation who are leaders on everything from
transportation and building efficiency to renewable energy and
community gardening. In the coming months, we will work with members of
the administration to hold briefings and strategy sessions on
everything from the livability provisions in the energy and climate
legislation that passed the House to the pending transportation re-authorization.

After spending a lifetime in public service working to make
our nation’s communities more livable, it feels like the pieces are
coming together. America was ready for change when President Obama came
into office. It is exciting that in 10 months we have moved legislation
that will rein in global warming pollution. With the leadership of
Secretary LaHood and Chairman Oberstar, we are gearing up for a
transportation bill that will make smart investments in low-carbon
transportation, give people more commuting choices, and reduce
America’s dependence on oil.

It is an honor to lead this unique Task Force and, and I am
eager to work with Congressional leaders and members of the
administration who are committed to protecting our environment and
making our communities safer, healthier, and more economically secure.