HUD & DOT Team Up To Promote Sustainable Communities

This is awesome. Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s joint press release from HUD and DOT:

“WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a new partnership to help American families gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs. The average working American family spends nearly 60 percent of its budget on housing and transportation costs, making these two areas the largest expenses for American families. Donovan and LaHood want to seek ways to cut these costs by focusing their efforts on creating affordable, sustainable communities.”

Testifying before a House committee, Donovan and LaHood also announced an inter-agency task force charged, among other things, to do the following:

  • Research, evaluate and recommend measures that indicate the livability of communities, neighborhoods and metropolitan areas.

This is huge. I remember going to HUD in the late 1990s with Don Chen (then with the Surface Transportation Policy Project, now with the Ford Foundation) to talk to agency officials about problems associated with sprawl, particularly those hurting the agency’s core constituency, and how HUD programs might become part of the solution. To say that there was zero interest on their part may actually overstate their interest. In fact, they actively sought to rebut our points to defend the status quo. This is change I can believe in.

For more, go here.

Kaid Benfield is director for sustainable communities and smart growth at The Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC. He has his own blog on land development and community issues and enjoys contributing here, too, since there is so much common ground.


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