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.