EPA, DOT, HUD Unveil Sustainable Communities Initiative

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Transportation Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department are launching a new interagency initiative that aims to coordinate affordable housing and access to public transportation with environmental protection.

The Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, unveiled during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday, will be guided by the following six principles, according to the department heads:

  1. Provide more transportation choices – Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.
  2. Promote equitable, affordable housing – Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.
  3. Enhance economic competitiveness – Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets.
  4. Support existing communities – Target federal funding toward existing communities–through such strategies as transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling–to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes.
  5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment – Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.
  6. Value communities and neighborhoods – Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods–rural, urban or suburban.

"For the first time, the federal government will speak with one voice on housing, environmental and transportation policy," Transportation Secretary LaHood said.

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