What Does It Take to Win a Planning Grant From the Feds?

Reconnecting America has crunched the numbers on which projects won planning grants from the feds last month. Planning awards were announced through three programs: Sustainable Communities Regional Planning (SCRPG), Community Challenge, and TIGER II.

adf
Reconnecting America has mapped and analyzed the winners of competitive grants from HUD and DOT. ##http://reconnectingamerica.org/public/display_asset/2010_hud_dot_award_maps##Click to enlarge (PDF)##

It’s worth noting that these are the types of competitive grant programs that John Mica is planning to put under the microscope when he takes the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“We had unelected officials sitting behind closed doors making decisions without any hearings or without any elected officials being consulted,” Mica said soon after the election. “I’m going to have a full review of that.”

He’s looking for “rational explanations” of why the grants went to the projects they went to. Criteria for the awards were announced well in advance, but it’s true that the departments could have been more transparent in their process. Reconnecting America’s report can help fill in some of the gaps in the agencies’ own explanations of what they were looking for when they made their decisions.

In addition to mapping the top winning regions, Reconnecting America pulled out some common themes, illustrating the awarding agencies’ priorities. They include:

  • Equity: ensuring equitable benefits from development with regional affordable housing plans and inclusionary zoning
  • Planning for transit corridors and stations: for instance, a project in Seattle will strategize for up to 25 transit corridors and 100 new stations planned for the year 2025
  • Comprehensive planning: for regions without an existing plan or for those filling in gaps on affordable housing, transportation, or sustainability
  • Street connectivity and safety: complete streets, off-street trails, and making transit stations more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists
  • Economic development, including workforce development
  • Zoning and land use reform: fostering compact, mixed-use development
  • Healthy eating: improving access to healthy food and integrating local food systems

Generally, the report reflects the growing cohesion between DOT, HUD, and the EPA and the increased desire to achieve goals systematically, instead of operating within separate silos.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Planning and Programming Committee Recommends Metro Board Take Next Steps on Rail-to-River ATC

|
On October 23, 2014, the Metro Board of Directors voted to adopt the Rail to River Intermediate Active Transportation Corridor (ATC) Feasibility Study and directed staff to identify funding for full implementation of the project. The Board also authorized $2,850,000 be put towards facilitating the environmental, design, alternative route analysis, and outreach work required for […]

Bicycling is for Everyone: The Connections Between Cycling in Developing Countries and Low-Income Cyclists of Color in the U.S.

|
A Missing Story As urban transportation bicycling becomes more popular, planners and advocates often use “bike friendly cities” like Portland, Amsterdam and Copenhagen as examples for facilities as well as political strategies and tactics.  Although these are wonderful cities with dazzling bike networks and impressive ridership numbers, a narrative is emerging that bicycle advocacy needs […]

Goodbye, 30/10. Hello, Fast Forward America.

|
Goodbye “30/10” and hello “Fast Forward America.” Congressman John Mica (R-FL) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) brought their road show to Los Angeles earlier this morning to get feedback and elicit testimony on how to improve the federal transportation bill.  While Boxer was on her “home turf,” it was Mica who sounded like a local […]

Transit-Oriented Development and Communities of Color: A Field Report

|
(This article first appeared in Progressive Planner, the official magazine of the Planner’s Network and is reprinted with the author’s permission.  Gen Fujioka is the senior policy advocate with the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development. This article was written in collaboration with the Urban Communities of Color Caucus which seeks to advance […]