Perlmutter Initiative Helps Local Governments Coordinate Economic Development and Planning Efforts

February 25, 2010
Press Release
Washington, DC – As our country tries to rebuild and rebound from a slow economy, local governments need to continue promoting the economic development benefits of sustainable development and community planning.

Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter lead a group of Congressional members in introducing the Livable Communities Act of 2010 (HR 4690).  This legislation establishes a grant program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist local governments plan for and create better more affordable places to live and work. Reps. Waters, Halvorson, Larson, Blumenauer, Hodes, Himes, Sarbanes, Sires, Carson, Christensen, Carnahan, Holt, Cohen, Courtney, Ellison, Quigley, Schwartz, Tonko and McDermott are co-sponsors of the legislation.

Perlmutter stated, “This bill revitalizes Main Street and promotes economic development and job growth in our neighborhoods by helping communities cut traffic congestion, promote energy efficiency, create more affordable housing, and protect open spaces. This kind of planning will create better and more affordable places to live, work, and raise families.”

“As Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, I am pleased to join Rep. Perlmutter and others in introducing this important legislation that will invest in neighborhoods and encourage communities to bring transportation and employment opportunities to affordable housing. I have long supported quality neighborhoods – through the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, to my support of Community Development Block Grants and Section 108 loan guarantees.  I look forward to continuing that work with the Livable Communities Act,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Halvorson stated, “Right now our main focus is putting our economy back on track and putting people back to work, and one way to do that is to build smarter, sustainable communities. Investing in smart infrastructure doesn’t only create jobs, it provides the economic development that grows businesses and improves our hometowns.”

Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said,
“This legislation will spur economic development, put individuals back to work, and improve the quality of lives of millions of Americans. By supporting coordinated planning in our communities, the Livable Communities Act will allow us to redevelop Main Street to be a sustainable network of housing, transit and public spaces that is energy efficient and saves money. I am proud to join Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Ed Perlmutter in advancing this initiative.”

Blumenauer stated, “Around the country, rural and urban communities are struggling to provide people with transportation choices, affordable housing options, and a clean environment. The Livable Communities Act provides an important resource for improving transportation, housing, and water infrastructure while also reducing dependence on expensive oil. Empowering communities to determine the investments they need, with the Federal government as a supportive partner, will help jumpstart local economies and create sustainable jobs.”

“Capitalizing on the economic opportunities of the future—in the near-term and generations from now—requires smart planning and decisive action,” said Congressman Himes. “This legislation will help make the smart investments necessary to bring real progress to our towns and cities.”

Sires stated, “I am proud to join my colleagues.  Legislation like this will assist our communities by creating jobs, improving public transportation, creating affordable housing, and protecting our green spaces.  With a coordinated strategy, our regions and townships can create long-term sustainable plans that will result in the revival of Main Street.”

“One of my priorities in Congress is to renew urban cores in order to better plan and anticipate growth,” said Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-21).  “The Livable Communities bill accomplishes that by emphasizing the importance of planning, which ultimately will reduce costs to local governments, drive down our energy usage and enhance our environment.”  

“Creating livable communities means creating places where families want to put down roots, raise children, and develop community pride. In order to create these communities, we must ensure that Americans have access to quality and affordable transportation options, sustainable and efficient homes, and green and open space. This legislation will help ensure that many Americans will get to share in this rich prosperity,” Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz said.

“The benefits of smart sustainable planning holds enormous potential for economic development and healthier, more livable communities,” said Congressman Russ Carnahan (MO-3). “By creating more affordable places to live and work families will benefit with stronger neighborhoods.”

“In these difficult economic times, we have to resist the urge for short-term fixes that simply kick the proverbial can down the road,” said Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL). “Instead, we have to invest smartly in our future, and remember that building sustainable communities isn’t only the environmentally just thing to do, but that it has a multi-faceted impact. Creating 21st century infrastructure for public transit, for example, creates jobs, while providing for cleaner air, which in turn reduces health care costs and our dependence on foreign oil.”

This legislation is the companion bill to S. 1619, introduced by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).  Key provisions of the bill include:

•    Create competitive planning grants that towns and regions can use to create comprehensive long-term plans that integrate transportation, housing, land use, and economic development.
•    Create challenge grants that towns and regions can use to implement these long-term plans through investments in public transportation, affordable housing, complete streets, transit-oriented development, and brownfield redevelopment.
•    Establish a federal Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to administer and oversee the Livable Communities grant programs;
•    Establish a federal Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities that will include representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies to coordinate federal sustainable development policies.

The Livable Communities Act of 2010 is endorsed by the following national, state and local organizations:

National Organizations

America 2050
American Institute of Architects
American Planning Association
American Society of Landscape Architects
Apollo Alliance
Center for Neighborhood Technology
CEOS for Cities
Congress for the New Urbanism
Conservation Law Foundation
Enterprise Community Partners
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
League of American Bicyclists
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Local Government Commission
National Association of Counties
National Association of Realtors
National Association of Regional Councils
National Complete Streets Coalition
National Housing Conference
National Housing Trust
National League of Cities
National Resources Defense Council
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Northeast-Midwest Institute
Project for Public Spaces
Reconnecting America
Smart Growth America
Transportation for America
US Green Building Council

State and Local Organizations

1,000 Friends of Connecticut (CT)
1,000 Friends of Minnesota (MN)
1,000 Friends of Oregon (OR)
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania (PA)
Action Committee for Transit (MD)
Active Transportation Alliance (IL)
Alliance for Metropolitan Stability (MN)
American Planning Association – New Jersey Chapter (NJ)
Anchorage Citizens Coalition (AK)
Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage (AK)
Bike Delaware (DE)
Bloomington Transportation Options for People (IN)
Bozeman Sustainability Group (MT)
California WALKS (CA)
Cascade Land Conservancy (WA)
City of Duluth Mayor Don Ness (MN)
Cleveland Restoration Society (OH)
Colorado Environmental Coalition (CO)
Conservation Alabama Foundation (AL)
Conservation Minnesota (MN)
Denver Regional Council of Governments (CO)
Empire State Future (NY)
Fit City Duluth (MN)
Fresh Energy (MN)
Futurewise (WA)
Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership (NM)
Greater Ohio Policy Center (OH)
Greenbelt Alliance (CA)
Grow Smart Rhode Island (RI)
Growth and Justice (MN)
Hennepin County, MN Commissioner Peter McLaughlin (MN)
Housing Preservation Project (MN)
Houston Tomorrow (TX)
Lewis & Clark City-County Health Department (MT)
LOCUS Minnesota (MN)
MA Smart Growth Alliance (MA)
Madison Area Bus Advocates (WI)
Metropolitan Planning Council (IL)
Minnesota State Senator Scott Dibble (MN)
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MN)
Missoula City-County Parks and Recreation Department (MT)
Missoula Health Department (MT)
New Jersey Audubon Society (NJ)
New Jersey County Planners Association (NJ)
New Jersey Future (NJ)
Opportunity Link, Inc. (MT)
PlanGreen (OR)
Ramsey County Commissioner Jan Parker (MN)
Regional Plan Association (NY – NJ – CT)
Renew Lehigh Valley (PA)
San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition (CA)
Sierra Club – North Star Chapter (MN)
Smart Growth Vermont (VT)
Somerset County Planning Board (NJ)
St. Paul Smart Trips (MN)
Transit for Livable Communities (MN)
Tri-State Transportation Campaign (NY/NJ/CT)
Tucson Bike Alliance (AZ)
Twin Cities LISC (MN)
Vision Long Island (NY)
WalkBoston (MA)