The Senate Banking Committee has approved legislation, S. 1619, authorizing new competitive grants for local governments and regional planning organizations working together on community planning initiatives that coordinate housing, transit, and energy efficiency. However, due to budget pressures funding was reduced from $4 billion to $2.7 billion over three years.

The bill, known as the Livable Communities Act, will improve the alignment of housing, transit and energy efficiency programs at the federal level and continues to showcase the changes taking place in federal policy and once again shows the need for Michigan communities to be working on a regional basis to further such efforts.

So what’s in the bill?

The Livable Communities Act of 2009 will make it possible for communities to:

  • Develop comprehensive regional plans to incorporate transportation, housing, community and economic development, and environmental needs.
  • Enables communities to enact their plans by funding Transit Oriented Development (TOD), public transportation, and pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfares that foster economic development and build livable communities.

Senator Chris Dodd says, “with sustainable development, our communities will cut traffic congestion; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and gasoline consumption; protect rural areas and green spaces; revitalize existing Main Streets and urban centers; and create more affordable housing.”