U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced an interagency "Partnership for Sustainable Communities" to help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options and lower transportation costs, while protecting the environment in communities nationwide.
Testifying together at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing chaired by U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Secretary LaHood, Secretary Donovan and Administrator Jackson outlined the six guiding "livability principles" they will use to coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection and housing investments at their respective agencies:
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.
Earlier this year, HUD and DOT announced an unprecedented agreement to implement joint housing and transportation initiatives. With EPA joining the partnership, the three agencies will work together to ensure that these housing and transportation goals are met while simultaneously protecting the environment, promoting equitable development and helping to address the challenges of climate change.
"Creating livable communities will result in improved quality of life for all Americans and create a more efficient and more accessible transportation network that serves the needs of individual communities," said LaHood. "Fostering the concept of livability in transportation projects and programs will help America's neighborhoods become safer, healthier and more vibrant."