Yesterday we reported on some of the terrible amendments that might get tacked on to the House transportation bill this week. But there are also some good ideas with bipartisan support among the hundreds of amendments submitted by members of the House.
Here are three amendments that have the potential to improve transportation policy in the U.S. — should legislators give them the thumbs up in the next few days.
Amendments 18 and 101: Financing for Transit-Oriented Development
Amendments 18 and 101 would both make federal loans available for the construction of walkable places around transit stations.
Amendment 18 [PDF], sponsored by Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois), Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) and Bob Dold (R-Illinois), would open up $30 billion in federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing to transit-oriented development projects.
“It would expand the eligibility so it’s not just about fixing railroads and ties, it’s about fixing up the station and the area around the station,” said Stephen Lee Davis of Transportation for America.
Similarly, Amendment 101 [PDF], sponsored by the bipartisan pair of Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) and Barbara Comstock (R-Virginia), would open up $200 million annually in loans from the TIFIA financing authorized by the Senate’s DRIVE Act to transit-oriented development projects. It would also lower the minimum project cost to apply for TIFIA financing from $50 million to $10 million.
T4A’s Davis says financing is still a big obstacle to transit-oriented development, because banks have been slow to adjust to changing preferences.
“This is a way for them to get them done and meet the surging demand for housing near transit and hopefully bring down prices in the process,” he said.