Introduced in the 107th Congress Promoting Smart Growth:
to read the bill's legislative text, check the bill's status, and to see
if your congressional representative is a cosponsor. Click here
to find your Representative and here
for your Senator.
Growth and the FY 2002 Bush Budget: Highlights of Key Programs (June
The Bush Administration’s first budget proposal
(FY 2002) is a disappointing missed opportunity to promote smart growth
activities in America. Although the budget does contain progress
on smart growth in certain areas, it fails to follow through on many of
the major proposals of the previous Administration and in some cases actually
reduces the leadership role the federal government could play. In
general, this budget reflects Bush’s philosophy of turning over government
activities to state and local officials. In the case of smart growth,
however, this approach neglects the partnership role of the federal government
and fails to provide supporting resources for local efforts.
Urban Sprawl and Smart Growth Study Act
Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Mark
Udall (D-CO) that would use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
to give local communities greater power in identifying, reviewing and addressing
federal actions or projects that may have an impact on urban growth
and sprawl. The "Urban Sprawl and Smart Growth Study Act" (H.R. 1739)
would require federal agencies to do a more thorough NEPA analysis if a
state governor or a lead local or tribal governmental official
requested such review due to the proposed project's impact on sprawl.
In addition, the bill also would direct the Council on Environmental Quality
(CEQ), the agency that implements NEPA, to study how well federal agencies
evaluate sprawl impacts of federal actions in conducting their environmental
Bike Commuter Act (H.R. 1265)
The act would allow employees who bike to work
the same financial incentives as car-poolers and mass transit users. The
bill would change the Transportation Fringe Benefit of the tax code to
include bicyclists who chose
to bike to work. Currently, employers may
offer a Transportation Fringe Benefit to their employees for commuting
to work. Employees who take advantage of this program may receive
a tax exemption benefit totaling $175 for participating in qualified parking
plans or $65 for transit, car-pool, and van-pool expenses. Employees may
also opt to take cash compensation instead, which is subject to employment
taxes. The Bike Commuter Bill would extend these same Transportation Fringe
Benefits to employees who choose to commute by bicycle.
and Environmental Restoration Act of 2001 (S. 350)
The Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental
Restoration Act of 2001 was voted out of the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee by a 15-3 margin on March 8,
2001. S. 350, which is identical to S. 2700 that nearly became law
in the 106th with 67 cosponsors, enjoys broad bipartisan support along
with the endorsement of hundreds of public officials and organizations
including the Trust for Public
Land, U.S. Conference
of Mayors, and the National
Association of Realtors. Please click here
for a summary of S. 350.
Community Character Act of
2001 (H.R. 1433)
The Community Character Act authorizes $50 million
annually for FY02 - FY06. The Department of Housing and Urban Development
would administer the program. Individual grants of up to $1 million
would be to states and $200,000 to tribes. A minimum local match
of ten percent would be required. Grants could be used for developing
land use planning legislation, supporting planning in states with updated
enabling legislation, and planning efforts by multi-state regions or tribal
Commuter Benefits Equity Act
of 2001 (S. 217 & H.R. 318)
Raises the cap on the Federal employer-provided
transit/van-pool benefit from $65 per month to $175 per month. This
will give the transit benefit parity with the Federal employer-provided
parking benefit. The bill also makes a minor modification in current
law to allow Federal agencies to offer the parking benefit to employees
who pay to park at commuter transportation facilities and travel to work
via public transportation.
Conservation and Reinvestment
Act (CARA H.R. 701)
CARA will dedicate over $3 billion annually for
various natural resource protection programs through the Outer Continental
Shelf (OCS) revenue royalty system. CARA would fund the Land
and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at its fully authorized level of
$900 million with a 50/50 split between the federal and state governments.
In addition to its significant support of the LWCF and coastal resources,
CARA also funds the Urban
Park and Recreation Recovery Program which supports urban parks and
recreation areas. CARA also provides critical funding for urban forestry,
historical preservation, and other wildlife protection programs.
Cooperative Landscape Conservation
Act (H.R. 1381)
The Cooperative Landscape Conservation Act (H.R.
1381) would authorize $100 million a year for fiscal years 2002-2007 for
acquiring conservation easements nationwide. The Federal share of the cost
of acquiring a conservation easement with a grant under this section may
not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of acquiring the easement.
High Speed Rail Investment
Act of 2001 (S. 250)
This would enable Amtrak
and other passenger rail companies to issue as much as $12 billion in bonds
over the next 10 years, with investors receiving tax deductions rather
than interest payments. Nearly identical legislation passed the Senate
last year with sixty-seven cosponsors, but was dropped from the final budget
Historic Homeownership Assistance
Act (H.R. 1172)
This is identical to the previous "Historic Homeownership
Act" introduced in the 106th Congress. Features include a 20%
federal income tax credit to homeowners who rehabilitate or buy a qualified
historic house, up to a maximum credit of $40,000 for a principal residence.
Qualifying areas include single- and multi-family residences, condos, and
co-ops listed on the National Register of Historic Places or on a state
or local register. Visit the National
Trust for Historic Preservation to read a summary of the legislation
and to see if your representative is a cosponosor.
Rural Rental Housing Act of
2001 (S. 652)
The bill provides for the construction or rehabilitation
of rental housing in rural areas. It authorizes $250 million annually
for a program to be administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
which will fund states by formula based on each state's share of rural
substandard units and rural households living in poverty. States
would be required to match the federal funds on a dollar for dollar basis.
Funds under this program would have to be used to serve low income households,
those making under 80% of the area median income, with priority for very
low income families, making less than 50% of the area median income.
Properties could receive no more than 50% of their funds from this program,
and units would be required to remain affordable for 30 years.
Congressional Caucuses &
Smart Growth Task Force
U.S. Senators James
M. Jeffords (R-VT) and Carl
Levin (D-MI), on January 13, 1999 established the Senate Smart Growth
Task Force, a bipartisan, multi-regional working group dedicated to exploring
and promoting community-focused development policies. To contact
the Task Force, call Cameron Taylor at 202/224-0606.
Communities Task Force
Organized by Oregon
Representative Earl Blumenauer.
This task force of the HouseDemocratic Caucus hopes to promote smart growth
policies in an array of federal programs. Click here to learn more
about Rep. Blumenauer's
Sustainable Development Caucus
The Sustainable Development Caucus is a bipartisan
Congressional caucus in the US House of Representatives formed at the beginning
of the 105th Congress. Representatives Marty
Meehan (D-MA) and Wayne
Gilchrest (R-MD) are co-chairs of the Caucus. Currently, the Caucus
has more than 30 Republican and Democratic members. The goal of the
Caucus is to educate Congressional members and staff on what sustainable
development is and where it is happening on the local level around the
country. Members will then be able to use this knowledge when looking at
legislation to ensure that federal policies promote rather than impede
Current Federal Law:
Communities Website contains information about federal agencies'
efforts to assist communities to grow in ways that ensure a high quality
of life and strong, sustainable economic growth. You will also find information
on and links to specific programs, resources, guides, and tools offered
by federal agencies to assist your community.
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency
Act (ISTEA) was the first Federal highway bill to integrate smart growth
concerns with federal transportation policy. In 1998, the bill was
reauthorized as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
(TEA-21). For more details, link to the Surface Transportation Policy Project's
Brownfields Tax Incentive. The Brownfields
Tax Incentive is a provision included in the Taxpayer Relief Act, Pub.
L 105-34, to spur the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields in distressed
urban and rural areas. Click here for highlights of the tax incentive and
Brownfields Initiative. For comprehensive information about
brownfields-related legislative proposals, federal policies and more, link
to the Northeast-Midwest
Taxpayer Relief Act. (Section 508. Treatment
of Land Subject to a Qualified Conservation Easement.) The Taxpayer
Relief Act Pub. L. 105-34 contains provisions that eases the inheritance
tax burden on heirs who try to preserve family lands. Read "A
Second Chance, New Tax Incentive to Protect Open Space" and
view the tax law at the Land Trust Alliance's website. You can also
contact: Russ Shay, director of Public Policy, Land Trust Alliance, 1319
F St., NW, Suite 501, Washington, D.C. 20004; Tel: (202) 638-4725.
Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965,
Pub. L. 88-578, Sept. 3, 1964, 78 Stat. 897. When it passed in 1964,
the Act established a funding source for both Federal acquisition of park
and recreation lands and matching grants to state and local governments
for recreation planning, acquisition and development. Click here to learn
more about the Land
and Water Conservation Fund, and here to view the LWCF
Act of 1965
Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act, Executive
Order 12072 and 13006. Two Executive Orders -- 12072 and 13006 -- require
federal agencies to first consider locating in central business areas and
in historic buildings and districts that best serve communities. E.O. 12072
was issued in 1976 under the Carter Administration and was affirmed when
President Clinton issued E.O. 13006. For a copy of the Executive Orders
and for more information about the program itself, click here to visit
the Government Services Administration's Good
Further resources: In addition to the resources
listed here, a number of other organizations are studying the impacts of
Federal policies on land use and livable communities. Link to Sprawl Watch's
list of National
For specific information regarding state
laws and policies, visit Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse's In
The States page.
State of the State Addresses
Following are summaries and links to full texts
of each State of the State address that mentions sprawl or smart growth
Governor Jane Dee Hull (R)
"One of the most important issues
facing this legislature is growth. The people want action.
Let's face it, we have fallen behind the public's expectations. Growing
Smarter, passed in 1997, is the vehicle to get us back on track.
Thanks to that land mark legislation, cities and counties are now planning
with a more thoughtful eye toward our environment and quality of life."
For the full text, click on Hull.
Governor Gray Davis
"I am focused on traffic congestion in commuter
corridors that affect the daily productivity and quality of life of Californians."
the full text, click on Davis.
Governor Bill Owens (R)
"The "Smart Growth: Colorado's Future' initiative
recognizes the diversity that makes Colorado unique. It is a specialized
package of incentives -- not mandates -- geared toward saving our natural
landscapes, promoting strong neighborhoods, and building our transportation
future while providing economic opportunities for the entire state.
I urge the legislature to support and pass bills to promote the preservation
of more open spaces and wildlife habitat." For the full text,
click on Owens.
Governor John Rowland
"Let's encourage this urban commitment...by expanding
our urban brownfields program. It's good economics and it's good
for the environment."
For the full text, click on Rowland.
Governor Thomas Carper
"One area of smart growth where the legislature
has already made its mark is investing in open spaces and preserving farmland."
the full text, click on Carper.
Governor Roy Barnes
"We took an important first step toward dealing
with Georgia's transportation, pollution, and land use problems by establishing
the Georgia Regional Transporation Authority. This year I hope we
will build on that beginning by preserving greenspace in our fastest growing
counties." For the full text, click on Barnes.
Governor Paul E. Patton (D)
"And while we're talking about our inner cities,
let's talk about our society's policy of the throw-away city. Just
because we have abundant open space in the proximity of our cities that
is the backbone of our agriculture economy, and is relatively cheap in
one sense of the word, is no reason to ignore the long-term cost of random
growth." For the full text, click on Patton.
Governor Angus King (I)
"But our ace in the hole in terms
of long-term economic prospects is the wonderful Maine environment- clean
air and clean water, forest trails, mountains, lakes, the ocean, the New
England village, viable downtowns; simply a great place to live, work and
raise a family. This is our competitive advantage that we can't let
slip through our fingers.
"But there are signs that we may be squandering
this asset- congestion and commercial sprawl at the gateways to our spectacular
natural resources; residential development leapfrogging to the headwaters
of lakes, slowly turning them algae green..." For the full text,
click on King.
Governor Parris Glendening (D)
"Finally, during this session we must continue
our work protecting Maryland's environment and quality of life. We
must step up the fight against sprawl and over-development. Just
two years ago, with your help, we took the first courageous steps to protect
our environment by stopping sprawl. Today, Maryland is hailed as
a national -- even international -- model in the Smart Growth/Anti-Sprawl
movement." For the full text, click on Glendening.
Governor Paul Celluccii (R)
" I am announcing tonight that I will issue an
executive order directing state agencies, whenever they award discretionary
grants, to give priority to those communities that are making good faith
progress creating new housing.
"And to help cities and towns build more housing,
while preserving the character of their communities, the executive order
will make $9 million available over the next two years for community planning.
This money will be used to give planning grants to cities and towns to
find ways to make more housing available while also preserving open
space." For the full text, click on Celluccii.
Governor John Engler (R)
" Our strategies like the Clean Michigan Initiative
are improving our environment. One successful strategy has been to
reuse old industrial sites. Tonight, I propose we build on our past
success and spur even more redevelopment in our core cities. Let's
pass a new Brownfield Redevelopment Act as part of a broader core cities
strategy. This new measure will allow developers to invest in blighted
areas and reuse old buildings that are not necessarily contaminated.
Recycling more abandoned urban sites will reduce pressure to develop in
rural areas without services." For the full text, click on Engler.
Governor Jeanne Shaheen
"As we grow, we must preserve whatis special
about New hampshire, the traditional character of our communities our forests
and farms, and our hitoric buildings and downtowns." "State government
should serve as a role model for smart growth." For the full text, click
Governor Christine T. Whitman
"With help from this adminstration and this Legislature,
we have seen New Jersey turn some of these so-called borwnfields into vertiable
gold mines. They've helped city residents gain jobs and enjoy a higher
quality of life," "As we save farms, let's also salvage the urban acres
that could be fertile ground for new homes or business," For the full
text, click on Whitman.
Governor George Pataki (R)
"And we will build upon our historic progress
on open space conservation. On Long Island, I am delighted to say that
we have nearly reached our goal of protecting three-quarters of the land
in the core preservation area of the Pine Barrens. And right here
in the Capital District, we've made outstanding progress in protecting
the Albany Pine Bush. With your support, the Preserve has grown to
2,400 acres. Over the next two years, we will expand the Preserve
to 3,000 acres, bringing greater ecological stability to this unique area."
For the full text, click on Pataki.
Governor Bob Taft (R)
"This time last year, I announced the creation
of the Urban Revitalization Task Force. This group held hearings
in 16 cities and heard from more than 300 citizens. Every mayor spoke
to the importance of reclaiming abandoned industrial sites.
"Therefore, my first priority will be to dramatically
improve the state's role in brownfield redevelopment. For
the full text, click on Taft.
Governor John Kitzhaber (D)
"When we talk about Oregon's greatness, we always
talk about our public beaches. We talk about our land use planning
program and our protected farm and forestlands and open spaces. And
that has given this state more options, more choices in how we grow and
develop than probably any other state in America." For the
full text, click on Kitzhaber.
Governor Tom Ridge
"We intend to preserve 100 farms in 100 days,
from the Farm Show to Earth Day." For the full text, click on Ridge.
Governor Lincoln Almond
"We know that open space is precious so let's
safegaurd it." For the full text, click on Almond.
Governor Michael Leavitt (R)
"There are other ways to extend our vision and
extract guarantees from this era of possibility. Wise growth planning
is one way. That encompasses a new ethic of water conservation, open
space preservation and the efforts of Envision Utah to foretell our future
needs for housing recreation and livable communities." For
the full text, click on Leavitt.
Governor Howard Dean
"Today 19 percent of our land is conserved with
either easements or public ownership; I hope that by 2100 that figure will
be 30 percent."
For the full text, click on Dean.
Governor James Gilmore III
"Long-term vision means less congestion.
We need to evaluate where we are and where we need to go with transportation
For the full text, click on Gilmore.