DOT

Big Improvements in Little Rock

Little Rock philanthropist Anita Davis discusses her efforts to revitalize the downtown with senior officials and staff from EPA, HUD, DOT, and USDA. Photo courtesy of the city of Little Rock.

Little Rock philanthropist Anita Davis discusses her efforts to revitalize the downtown with senior officials and staff from EPA, HUD, DOT, and USDA. Photo courtesy of the city of Little Rock.

This Monday and Tuesday, I spent time with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, and Department of Transportation (DOT) Acting Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Beth Osborne touring ongoing redevelopment efforts in Little Rock, Arkansas. Through the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, each of our agencies has invested in Little Rock. Our tour gave us the chance to see how these investments are making a real difference.

In 2011, our Greening America’s Capitals program provided support to help the city envision improvements to the Main Street corridor downtown. With additional support from Clean Water Act funds, the city starting putting in place some of the green infrastructure improvement ideas born from that workshop.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Click and Print– New Labels for Used Vehicles

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The test of a good idea is if you hear yourself saying – “Why didn’t I think of that?”  The new fuel economy and emission labels for used cars and trucks just announced by EPA and the Department of Energy pass that test.

When you consider that buying a car is the second biggest purchase most people make and that used cars outsell new cars by a ratio of roughly 3 to 1 – it’s an idea whose time has come. Fuel economy has always been of interest to consumers, but it is becoming increasingly important now that there is such a range of fuel efficient cars available and car buyers are thinking more about their environmental footprint.

If you want to save money by buying a used car, wouldn’t you also want to know what it’s likely going to cost you at the pump?

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Partnership for Sustainable Communities: Four Years of Helping Communities Become Economically Stronger, Environmentally Healthier

Join us for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities Twitter Town Hall on Monday, June 17, at 1:30 PM ET.

Posted online by HUD, DOT and EPA on respective websites.

By Bob Perciasepe, Maurice Jones,  and John Porcari

June 16, 2013 marks the four-year anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since 2009, our three federal agencies have been working together to help communities build stronger regional economies, improve their housing and transportation options, and protect the environment.

As President Obama said when the Partnership launched in 2009, “…by working together, [the agencies] can make sure that when it comes to development—housing, transportation, energy efficiency—these things aren’t mutually exclusive; they go hand in hand.”

Our collaboration helps communities plan the housing, transportation and economic development they need as infrastructure for economic growth, helping them attract businesses and improve quality of life for residents.

The Partnership is a one-stop shop for communities to access federal resources that can help them become more economically and environmentally sustainable. To date, the Partnership has provided more than $4 billion in funding for projects in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, for example, coordinated investments across our agencies are supporting the revitalization of the East Side neighborhood. (Read the case study; watch the video.) An EPA Environmental Justice Showcase Community Grant facilitated renewed access to the waterfront for residents. An $11 million DOT grant for TIGER multimodal transportation is helping build and upgrade roads around the East Side’s Steel Point Peninsula to prepare for redevelopment. And a HUD Regional Planning Grant helped study the opening of a proposed rail station on a cleaned-up brownfield in Bridgeport’s East End. The station will anchor the East Side redevelopment plan, leading to new business investment; mixed-use, transit-oriented development; and affordable homes.

To celebrate the four-year anniversary of work on these and similar projects, the Partnership is undertaking three major activities this summer:

  • EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe, HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones, and DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari will respond to your questions and comments about the Partnership in a Twitter Town Hall on Monday, June 17, 1:30 PM ET. Twitter users may ask questions in advance and during the Town Hall using the hashtag #sustainableqs. You may also join us through the live webstream.
  • Throughout the summer, the Partnership agencies will host roundtables in Arlington, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Toms River, New Jersey, and other communities across the country. Municipal staff, community leaders, business and industry representatives, and other stakeholders will be invited to tell us about the successes and challenges of their projects—and what the Partnership can do to help.
  • In July, the Partnership will host a webinar series about three of the topics on which EPA, HUD, and DOT offer coordinated support: investing in green infrastructure, creating context-sensitive streets, and integrating housing and transportation planning. See www.sustainablecommunities.gov for dates and further details.

Staff from HUD, DOT, and EPA continue to regularly work as a team to find ways to serve tribal communities, small towns, rural areas, suburbs, and cities more effectively. We feel privileged to be a part of this collaboration, and hope that you will join us in celebrating the progress of communities across the country that are investing in a sustainable approach to economic growth.

About the authors: 

Bob Perciasepe is acting administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Maurice Jones is deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
John Porcari is deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Congratulations Des Moines

By Jeffery Robichaud

Congratulations are in order to the City, of Des Moines Iowa, the third recipient in Region 7 for a Greening America’s Capitals project.  Greening America’s Capitals is a project of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help state capitals develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies. According to the release:

Des Moines will receive assistance to incorporate green infrastructure elements into a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of 6th Avenue. The 6th Avenue corridor, which serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown, is a Main Street Iowa Urban Neighborhood District with direct access to the Des Moines River. The Greening America’s Capitals project will create design options to revitalize this commercial street, such as wider sidewalks, narrower traffic lanes, better lighting, and improved bus stop shelters, as well as street trees, permeable pavement, and rain gardens to minimize stormwater runoff. The city plans to use the 6th Avenue project to guide designs for other planned streetscape improvements throughout the city.

You can view the previous awardees in Region 7, Jefferson City, MO and Lincoln, NE to find out more about plans for greening these State Capitals.  What I found interesting about these (as well as from other State Capitals throughout the country which you can visit here) is that an important part of visualizing future green development, taking stock of community assets, and communicating the public is a good map

Map from plan - Greening America's Capitals - Jefferson City, Missouri

In both of the design plans for Jefferson City and Lincoln, maps help to anchor the effort and depict where activities might occur to help green the Capital.  In my experience folks always want to know the “what” involved with a potential project but more often the “where” is just as important.  Communicating activities visually through mapping, provides greater transparency and allows the public to become better informed in order to provide comments and ideas to decisionmakers.  You can also check out more about the Smart Growth Partnership here.

About the Author: Jeffery Robichaud is a second generation EPA scientist who has worked for the Agency since 1998. He currently serves as Deputy Director of EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.