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Building Stronger, Sustainable Communities Through Strategic Coordination

The Obama Administration announces a combined $742 million in grants and assistance to support the creation of more livable and sustainable communities across the country.

This morning at the National Press Club, I joined HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to discuss the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.  The Partnership is an initiative that brings together the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure that the agencies’ policies, programs, and funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together.  Founded on the idea that how and where we build our communities affects our economy, our environment, and our everyday lives, the Partnership is supporting communities that want to give Americans more housing choices, make transportation systems more efficient and reliable, and support vibrant neighborhoods that attract businesses.  This is good for our communities and good for our economy.

Since June of 2009, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities has been building economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation. Examples include:

  • EPA grants to develop area-wide plans for the reuse of formerly contaminated properties and targeted technical assistance to communities tackling growth and development issues;
  • HUD Sustainable Community Regional Planning Grants to assist in the development and execution of regional plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development and realize more livable and sustainable communities across the country;
  • DOT TIGER II Grants to fund innovative surface transportation projects that can improve communities’ quality of life while advancing broader transportation goals;
  • And, awarded in conjunction with DOT’s TIGER II grants, HUD Community Challenge Planning Grants to support local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development.                                                                                                                                                             

Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services meets multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent.  At a time when every dollar the federal government invests in jumpstarting the economy is critical, the President’s plan ensures that all these agencies are coordinating efforts and targeting resources with precision.  This collaboration gets better results for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently. 

The Sustainable Communities Partnership is yet another foundational pillar of the President’s urban agenda; last month you learned more about the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.  Both of these initiatives show that the federal government is doing business in a new way to more effectively serve the American people and our communities in urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods.