Partnership for Sustainable Communities Under Threat
UPDATE, September 22: The Senate Appropriations Committee has restored funding to this essential program. Thank you to all who contacted their Senators. This vital program will be preserved and continue to provide the jobs and community enhancements that such a unique collaboration makes possible.
UPDATE, September 20: Smart Growth America is reporting that the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Urban Development has restored most of the funding for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Senate Appropriations Committee will next review the budget and may make amendments. We will keep you posted on what happens and how to get involved.
(Original text follows, from Monday, September 19)
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a federal program that has brought diverse agencies together in the service of more livable neighborhoods and cities in 45 regions (including Oregon), is under serious threat in the US Senate. 1000 Friends needs you to take action by contacting Oregon's Senators Wyden and Merkley to remind them how important this program is. In Oregon, this program has provided crucial grants to transportation projects in Multnomah, Lane and Coos counties; the I-5 "Electric Corridor" project; and the Aloha-Reedville Community Livability Study in Washington County. The Partnership is vital for the future of collaborative regional projects like these, which create thousands of jobs and will improve Oregon's livability and sustainability.
When cities, towns and suburbs plan their future transportation, housing, water and sewer infrastructure and public services strategically, they save money and so does the federal government. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between the EPA, DOT and HUD, is about making that type of planning possible. 45 regions containing 80 million Americans in rural, suburban and urban communities are already benefiting from the Partnership programs.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on funding for the Partnership tomorrow, and now is a crucial time to ask your Senators to support these programs. Calling your members of Congress is simple and only takes a few minutes: click here to find out how to call your Senators.
Communities across the country are already successfully using many of the Partnership’s strategies :
Envision Utah received $1 million of its $8 million budget from two of the three Partnership agencies (the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highway Administration). Once implemented, the plans developed by Envision Utah will save Utah and the Salt Lake City region $4.5 billion in infrastructure, much of it usually paid for by the federal government.
The Region Five Development Commission in central Minnesota includes five rural counties and a series of small towns looking to save money and create jobs. The region is struggling with population shifts, family farms disappearing, pressure on natural resources and economic distress. Working across local agencies and jurisdictions, the communities are developing a strategic plan for housing and employment, business retention and attraction, and conservation of natural resources through eco-tourism. This effort will save money across the jurisdictions and leverage each step for future economic growth.
A 2010 survey by Smart Growth America found that 84% of Americans want the federal government to coordinate activities and funding between agencies more effectively. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is one of the best examples of this principle in action.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is an investment in more efficient and effective government. It helps communities break down barriers in existing federal housing, transportation and infrastructure programs while providing an incentive for improving regional collaboration among public, private and non-profit stakeholders. Projects supported by these grants are the product of local leadership driven by the vision and values of local residents, save households and their municipalities money and help to build a 21st century economy.