Menendez Focuses on TOD Funding in Updated Livable Communities Act
September 29th, 2011 by Elaine Clisham
New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez has introduced an updated version of the Livable Communities Act, as noted this morning on DC Streetsblog. The bill updates Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s bill and would formally authorize the HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, and would restore to 2010 levels the funding provided for Planning and Challenge Grants.
“This legislation is essential for New Jersey. Good planning can reduce time spent in traffic, allow us to walk to work or the store, and enable businesses to attract and retain workers,” said Senator Menendez, who chairs the Banking Subcommittee for Housing, Transportation, and Community Development.
Significantly, the Menendez bill also includes $100 million to encourage private investment in transit-oriented development. This money would be an important catalyst in states like New Jersey as they try to increase transit accessibility and usage and to stimulate much-needed economic revitalization in weaker urban areas. In addition Sen. Menendez is hoping to win some Republican support by asserting in the introduction to the bill that this kind of strategic planning can save up to $122 billion in infrastructure costs over 25 years.
“Comprehensive, locally-directed planning fosters long-term prosperity, creates jobs, and can stabilize the housing market while keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy,” said Menendez.
Sen. Menendez’s leadership on this issue is a reflection of the importance that comprehensive planning and transit-oriented development will have for the future of our communities and our state. Passage of this bill would provide valuable incentives for smart development in New Jersey.