The new year is only a couple of weeks old, but readers of this blog know that DOT has hit the ground running. Bridge, tunnel, port, and transit projects are starting. We continue pursuing safety as our top priority. And we're working hard to make sure Americans have the transportation system they deserve.
Deputy Secretary John Porcari began 2013 just as he finished 2012 –working hard to improve transportation options for Americans across the country. Last week, Deputy Secretary Porcari was in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, with his counterparts from HUD and EPA, reviewing both cities' progress on key projects funded by the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
Now in its third year, the DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities has provided a big lift to cities and regions trying to coordinate transportation, housing, and environmental projects. Planners have long known that decisions in any one of these three areas are interconnected with policies in the other two. The federal Partnership recognizes this and coordinates federal investments to reinforce good policy.
In Cincinnati, Deputy Secretary Porcari and others traveled along the future route of the Cincinnati Streetcar. This 3.6 mile loop will connect Cincinnati's Central Business District with the Over the Rhine neighborhood and is being funded by $40 million in DOT TIGER, Urban Circulator, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants, as well as $85 million in local public and private funds.
In 2010, the City of Indianapolis Smart Growth District northeast of the downtown area was selected as one of five Partnership brownfield pilot projects. This pilot project coordinated planning efforts to rebuild a declining urban area by rehabilitating a brownfield and building a walkable neighborhood that can support future transit-oriented development. By working with local leaders, the three Partnership agencies are helping transform the District into a truly green community with good, affordable housing.
With grants from DOT to plan transit connections, from HUD for rezoning efforts, and from EPA for smart growth redevelopment, this project is a perfect example of what we can achieve when federal agencies work together to support local planners and decision-makers.
For nearly three years, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities has worked to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments. By coordinating our efforts, DOT, HUD, and EPA are helping improve the economic strength of neighborhoods, allowing people to live closer to jobs, saving households time and money, and reducing pollution.
As Deputy Secretary Porcari noted, "This is how President Obama wants us to help communities. You think less about a national template and try to focus more on what communities need."
That's exactly what the Partnership has been doing, and that's what we'll continue to do--in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and across America.