EPA and HUD Make Big Investments in Sustainable Development

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are making significant progress on their joint effort, with the U.S. DOT, to connect cleaner transportation options with affordable  housing and denser urban development.

fairmount539__1237909144_3098.jpgA future commuter rail station along Boston’s Fairmount Line, one of five areas selected for EPA sustainable development aid. (Photo: Globe)

The latest moves came as Obama administration officials gathered in Seattle for the annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference, where HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan officially tapped Shelley Poticha and Ron Sims as leaders of his agency’s sustainable communities office.

On the HUD website, Donovan’s aides are seeking input and suggestions from local planners as they prepare to award an initial $100 million in grants to cities with plans for transportation and land use reform.

Not to be outdone, EPA took the opportunity to launch two pilot grant programs aimed at using clean water funds to boost community development and rebuilding brownfield communities around transit access.

The water-funding pilot will focus on New York, California, and Maryland, while the brownfields — former industrial sites where hazardous materials may impede environmental cleanup — selected for transit-oriented development aid are located in Indianapolis, Iowa City, Denver, Boston, and the San Diego area.

The three federal agencies involved in green development work are also beefing up their message, connecting a number of recent policy shifts on their respective fronts into a larger narrative of progress towards a more harmonious approach to transportation and housing. For a recap of the recent steps taken by the EPA, HUD, and U.S. DOT — many of which were covered by Streetsblog Capitol Hill — check out the agencies’ January bulletin [PDF].

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