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Schatz, Markey, Gillibrand, Merkley Bill Supports Investment in Neighborhoods Near Transit

Legislation Will Provide Credit Assistance for Infrastructure Linking Communities to Public Transit

Washington, DC –  Today U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced legislation with Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, that will help finance the development of better walkable, bikeable communities near transit stations.  The Transit-Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act (S. 2275) would support community development that integrates housing, amenities and commercial development into walkable neighborhoods located near quality public transportation.  The act would enable the U.S. DOT Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program to provide loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit to public infrastructure projects for those neighborhoods.

“No one wants to sit in traffic all day. This bill will help provide investment in smart development that can transform our communities making them safer and more economically and environmentally healthy,” said Senator Schatz.  “Building communities near public transit and integrating retail and residential areas is the smart thing to do.  Making investment financially feasible in neighborhoods around transit will create construction jobs and reinvigorate communities while preserving our water and undeveloped land.”

“Investing in smart, transit-oriented development is about communities working smarter, not harder,” said Senator Markey. “By providing up-front public assistance for projects that focus on development around transportation hubs, these infrastructure projects create much-needed construction jobs, attract private investment, and promote sustainable living in our towns and cities in Massachusetts and across the country. That's good for our economy, our environment, and our future.  I am proud to join Sen. Schatz in introducing this legislation and will work with my colleagues to work to include it in the next surface transportation bill.”

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the fastest, most effective ways to support job creation and strengthen our economy,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Building our communities with more transit choices can connect more of our workers, students and businesses, and help families save time and money. And by using more sidewalks, buses and bikes, we can get more cars off our roads -- protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Locating housing, workplaces, and retail within walking distance of a bus or rail station creates better access to jobs for working families and economic opportunities.  Transit-oriented development frees up household income by reducing dependence on automobiles and benefits the environment by using land more efficiently, preserving undeveloped land, and protecting water quality.  Today, financing for public infrastructure in these areas is often complex and hard to obtain.  Supporters of the Transit-Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act include LOCUS, Smart Growth America, the American Planning Association and Transportation for America.

"This bill will help both the public and private sectors build great places along our rail corridor,”said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.  “The housing in these transit-enhanced neighborhoods will be affordable for middle-class working families like teachers, office workers, and young professionals, whose lives will be linked to where they work, play, and connect with family and friends.  We welcome and support the new financing tool this bill provides."

“In today’s real estate market, transit-oriented development is one of the most important ways the public and private sector is investing in our infrastructure and real estate to meet the growing demand for great walkable communities.  Public-private partnerships, like transit-oriented development, face many huddles including financing of infrastructure improvements and regulatory barriers to private investment in areas around transit,” said Chris Leinberger, president of LOCUS, a national network of smart growth and transit-oriented investors.  “The Transit-Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act, proposed by Sens. Brian Schatz, Ed Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Jeff Merkley, would provide common sense tools to the private and public sector to address those challenges and unleash the many economic benefits of transit-oriented development.”

"I applaud Senators Schatz, Markey, Gillibrand, and Merkley for introducing the Transit Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act.  Increasingly, Americans are choosing to live and work in places accessible by transit and demand for this type of development is projected to double over the next 20 years,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America.  “This bill will allow communities to better realize the potential of their transit systems, grow their economies and provide families with more housing and lifestyle choices while giving both the private and public sectors the financial tools to help make it happen."

“Transit-oriented development provides a powerful draw for the talented, young workforce that every region seeks to recruit and retain – something our recent poll with the Rockefeller Foundation underscored,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America.  “With only a modest boost from federally supported financing, communities can make themselves more economically competitive while boosting the tax base to the benefit of all residents. We thank Senators Schatz, Markey, Gillibrand, and Merkley for their vision in introducing the TOD Infrastructure Financing Act."