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 Secretaries discussed their plans for sustainable communities today at a U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing hearing titled, “Livable Communities, Transit Oriented Development, and incorporating Green Building Practices into Federal Housing and Transportation.” To read the full text of Secretary Donovan’s testimony, visit HUD’s website.
DOT and HUD have created a high-level interagency task force to better coordinate federal transportation and housing investments and identify strategies to give American families:
- More choices for affordable housing near employment opportunities;
- More transportation options, to lower transportation costs, shorten travel times, and improve the environment; and
- Safe, livable, healthy communities.
The HUD/DOT task force will:
- Enhance integrated regional housing, transportation, and land use planning and investment. The task force will set a goal to have every major metropolitan area in the country conduct integrated housing, transportation, and land use planning and investment in the next four years. To facilitate integrated planning, HUD and DOT seek, through HUD’s proposed Sustainable Communities Initiative which it will administer in consultation with DOT, to make planning grants available to metropolitan areas, and create mechanisms to ensure those plans are carried through to localities. DOT will encourage Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to conduct this integrated planning as a part of their next long-range transportation plan update and will provide technical assistance on scenario planning, a tool for assessing future growth alternatives that better coordinate land use, and transportation planning.
- Redefine affordability and make it transparent. The task force will develop Federal housing affordability measures that include housing, and transportation costs and other costs that affect location choices. The task force will redefine affordability to reflect those interdependent costs. The task force will also continue to ensure that the costs of living in certain geographic areas are transparent- using an online tool that calculates the combined housing and transportation costs families face when choosing a new home.
- Develop livability measures. The task force will research, evaluate and recommend measures that indicate the livability of communities, neighborhoods and metropolitan areas. These measures could be adopted in subsequent integrated planning efforts to benchmark existing conditions and identify progress toward achieving community visions. The task force will develop incentives to encourage communities to implement, use and publicize the measures.
- Harmonize HUD and DOT programs. HUD and DOT will work together to identify opportunities to better coordinate their programs and encourage location efficiency in housing and transportation choices. HUD and DOT will also share information and review processes to facilitate better-informed decisions and coordinate investments.
- Undertake joint research, data collection and outreach. HUD and DOT will engage in joint research, data collection, and outreach efforts with stakeholders, to develop information platforms and analytic tools to track housing and transportation options and expenditures, establish standardized and efficient performance measures, and identify best practices.