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Senators Schatz, Markey, Merkley Introduce Legislation To Support Investment In Neighborhoods Near Transit

Transit-Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act Will Provide Credit Assistance for Infrastructure Linking Communities to Public Transit

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), introduced the Transit-Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act, legislation that would provide additional tools for cities to finance the development of more walkable, bikeable communities near public transit stations.  The legislation would make a broader array of projects eligible for loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit through the U.S. DOT Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.

“In Hawai‘i , increased traffic congestion has made it more challenging for people to go to work or to connect with friends and family,” said Senator Schatz.  “This bill would provide another tool for cities to facilitate smart, long-term planning and investment in neighborhoods near public transit, giving working families more convenient transportation options. By making projects financially feasible in neighborhoods around transit, we can build safer communities, improve our infrastructure, and create jobs while preserving water and undeveloped land.”

“Transit-oriented development is about Massachusetts communities working smarter, not harder,”
said Senator Markey.  “Supporting innovative development projects around transportation hubs creates much-needed construction jobs, attracts private investment, and promotes sustainable living in our towns and cities in the Commonwealth and across the country. That's good news for our economy, our environment, and our future. I am proud to join Senators Schatz and Merkley on this legislation and will work with my colleagues to work to include it in the final surface transportation reauthorization bill.”

“Everyone wants it to be easy to get from where they live to where they work, go to school, buy food, or spend time with their family,” said Senator Merkley.  “When we plan transit and development in smart ways that make it easier for people to get around, it’s good for families, for jobs, and for economic development. Oregon has been a worldwide leader in smart planning strategies, and we should put these win-win concepts to greater use in our national policy.”

Locating housing and businesses within walking distance of a bus or rail station increases economic opportunities and creates better access to jobs for working families.  Transit-oriented development would also free up household income by reducing dependence on automobiles and benefits the environment by using land more efficiently, preserving undeveloped land and protecting water quality.  

Supporters of the Transit-Oriented Development Infrastructure Financing Act include LOCUS: Coalition of Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, Smart Growth America, Transportation for America, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“LOCUS has been a strong advocate for improving federal programs to meet market demand. Now more than ever, Americans are choosing to live and work in neighborhoods with transit access,” said Christopher Coes, Director of LOCUS: Coalition of Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors.  “The inclusion of TOD in TIFIA will encourage private developers to meet this market demand and to ensure that Americans have the option to live in great, walkable neighborhoods with great transportation access.”

“Encouraging walkable development around rail and rapid-bus stations is a no-brainer. By attracting more potential riders, it makes the best use of the transit investment and helps to build the tax base,” said James Corless, Director of Transportation for America.  “Even more importantly, it helps to meet growing demand for homes and workplaces in neighborhoods with easy access to transit, which has become an important economic development tool for attracting talented, young workers. This bill would help to support communities in creating public-private partnerships that help to spur economic development, build the local tax base, improve neighborhoods and infrastructure and make the most of transit investments.”