ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FORMATION OF THE TASK FORCE ON LIVABLE COMMUNITIES

~news from Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Chair of the new Task Force~

“Implementing strategies that incorporate the principles of livability will result in improved quality of life for all Americans and create a more efficient and more accessible transportation network that services the needs of individual communities”.  — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee, March 18, 2009

“HUD’s central mission – ensuring that every American has access to decent, affordable housing – can be achieved only in context of the housing, transportation, and energy costs and choices that American families experience each day.” — Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee, March 18, 2009

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to announce that the House Democratic Caucus is reinstating the Livable Communities Task Force (LCTF). From the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to climate change legislation to the new Partnership for Sustainable Communities between the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, and Department of Housing and Urban Development, livable communities issues are at the forefront of this administration and Congressional activities.

When I came to Congress 13 years ago, the concept of livable communities was considered “novel.” Since then, I’ve watched it move from being desirable, to mainstream, to essential to our economy and the planet. I am pleased livability has become a focal point of this administration’s housing, transportation, and environmental efforts.

As Chairman of the new Livable Communities Task Force, I’d like to provide you with information about our efforts as well as invite you to join in this important undertaking.  Communities across the country are finding creative ways to improve their citizens’ quality of life. Federal policies – including transportation investments, tax incentives, environmental protections, citing federal facilities, and everything in between – have a profound effect on these efforts at the local level. The LCTF seeks to identify ways in which the federal government impacts community livability so it can be a strong partner in enhancing quality of life in communities across the country. Intended to play both an educational and legislative role in Congress, the LCTF will engage Members of Congress on livability issues by:

  • holding briefings with experts,
  • roundtable discussions and town halls with stakeholders,
  • sharing information via newsletters and dear colleagues,
  • collaborating with appropriate federal agencies, and
  • developing and promoting livable communities legislation.

Task Force members will support federal policies that:

  • provide communities with the tools to solve their own local problems;
  • promote cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions to infrastructure challenges;
  • encourage multi-objective and multi-benefit management choices;
  • focus on partnerships between local government, private companies, federal agencies, non-profits, and citizen groups for finding solutions; and
  • coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection, and housing policies.

A current list of members of the Livable Communities Task Force is below. Please note that the list is likely to grow and will be kept updated on our website (www.blumenauer.house.gov/livablecommunities).

As an important stakeholder in promoting livable communities, I invite you to join this Congressional effort. The Task Force will be highlighting local and national livability initiatives and events, so please send any information you would like us to be aware of to livablecommunities@mail.house.gov.

You can also email us to receive:

  • periodic e-newsletters on livable communities information and briefings;
  • invitations to briefings on topics important to the livability of our communities; and
  • information about opportunities for the Task Force to provide a channel for your activities, studies, and ideas on briefings and legislation.

Thank you for your interest in this issue. I look forward to working with you to make our communities safer, healthier, and more economically secure.

Sincerely,

Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress

Chairman, Livable Communities Task Force

Livable Communities Task Force Members

(As of October 7, 2009)

Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D- CA), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Richard Neal (D-MA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), George Miller (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lois Capps (D-CA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), John Olver (D-MA), Russ Carnahan (D-MO)

Articles:

http://blumenauer.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1553&Itemid=167

http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/10/19/rep-earl-blumenauer-announcing-the-livable-communities-task-force/

http://bikeportland.org/2009/10/19/blumenauer-democrats-launch-livable-communities-task-force/

http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009/10/19/launching-a-livable-communities-task-force-in-congress/

Legislation:

H.R. 932, Community Regeneration, Sustainability, and Innovation Act (Tim Ryan).

H.R. 1329, CLEAN TEA (Earl Blumenauer).

H.R. 1443, Complete Streets Act (Doris Matsui).

H.R. 1778, the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) Program Act (Peter Welch).

H.R. 1780, Smart Planning for Growth Act (Doris Matsui).

H.R. 2222, Green Communities Act (Allyson Schwartz).

H.R. 2665, National Centers of Excellence for Regional Smart Growth Planning (Doris Matsui).

H.R. 2724, National Transportation Objectives Act (Rush Holt).

H.R. 3271, Green Routes to Work (Earl Blumenauer).

H.R. 3461, Orphan Highway Restoration Act (Earl Blumenauer).

H.R. 3517, Commute LESS Act (Albio Sires).

H.R. 3715, Community Restoration and Revitalization Act (Schwartz).

H.R. 3734, Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (Abio Sires).

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