Friday, September 18, 2009

Federal Action Prompting Metro Action on "Livability"?

Might the Mayor's Office be seeing what's happening in the Obama administration and appointing a local livability task force to be in position for federal money if the national task force makes it available?
As the White House plots a long-term sustainability and resource-management course, with a "livable communities" initiative among top presidential priorities in the 2010 FY budget, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will work through a joint task force to involve the public in planning, expand transportation alternatives and transit-oriented development, and provide less costly housing near jobs, while coordinated federal investments in livability will encourage urban regions to create and follow integrated housing, land-use and transportation plans.

"Livability incorporates the concept of collaborative decision-making," said Secretary LaHood in testimony before the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, noting that the new congressional transportation funding act also opens up an opportunity to recast the federal transportation policy and address housing and land-use concerns.

Secretary Donovan, observes E & E Daily reporter Josh Voorhees, said the combined DOT-HUD task force will work out federal housing-affordability measures that will include transportation, energy and other costs, to inform consumers and enable the market to price housing accordingly
We should keep an eye on how pie-in-the-sky intentions about livability start to unfold in real local communities. A little vigilance over whether the local Livability Task Force really listens to neighborhoods or is merely an exercise in pumping federal money into developers' pockets wouldn't be a bad idea either.

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