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October 15, 2010
HUD AWARDS $1.45 MILLION TO LANE COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS TO PROMOTE SMARTER, MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANNING FOR JOBS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN LANE COUNTY
Lane Council of Governments one of just 45groups to win HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Sought by more than 1,000 communities nationwide
EUGENE - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Director of Housing Sustainable Communities Shelley Poticha and HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary E. McBride, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today announced the award of $1,450,000 to the Lane Council of Governments in Eugene to support
regional planning for more livable, prosperous and sustainable communities in Lane County.
The award was made under HUD's new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program that was funded
for the first time this year. Some 45 organizations received awards today, competitively selected from a pool of
more than 1,000 applicants from across the country.
"The response to this program is huge," said Shelley Poticha of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. "We were inundated with applications from every state and two territories - from central cities to rural areas and tribal governments. This program was designed by people from local government, and incorporated local input at
"A sustainable community is a smarter community, a community with a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs, private investment and, most importantly, people who want to call that place home for generations," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "It means a community where parents spend less time driving and more time with their children, where more families live in safe, stable neighborhoods near good schools, good jobs, good public services and more businesses will have access to the capital, talent and infrastructure they need to
grow and prosper. Lane County already is well along in planning for and developing that kind of a community for its residents. We look forward to partnering with the County to take its efforts to the next level."
"Sustainable community development brings in jobs, improves infrastructure, gets cars off the road and creates safe neighborhoods -- that much is clear," said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. "But it also creates communities where people can spend more time with their families or enjoy parks and recreation areas. The potential for a better quality of life
is the hallmark of a sustainable community and this funding will help Eugene area residents realize that quality."
"Leaders in Lane County are committed to making the Eugene-Springfield area a better place for families to work
and live," said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. "This grant today will help make our communities places where people
spend less time commuting, have more green space to enjoy, reduce pollution, and improve public health."
"For over 60 years, partners in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area have collaborated on a vision for sustainability and livability in our community," said the Council's Andrea Riner who is directing the sustainability initiative. "This grant validates that effort and acknowledges that our regional programs in affordable housing, long-range transportation planning, combined with the Eugene-Springfield MetroPlan constitute what the HUD/DOT/EPA Partnership describe as a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. We are excited at the chance to partner with HUD/DOT/EPA to deliver real opportunities to the community, particularly in the areas of housing, transportation options, and economic development."
The Lane Council of Governments sustainability initiative will receive $1,450,000 and will be used to implement and refine its Metro Plan which, explains the Council, is the "basic guiding land use policy document" and already
includes a sustainability plan. Partners in the undertaking include Lane County, the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County, the Lane Transit District, the University of Oregon, the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization, St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County and Oregon Housing and Community Services.
This year HUD's new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program will support a total of 45 State,
local, and tribal governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, in the development and execution of regional plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development. Many of the
grants will leverage existing infrastructure and all reward local collaboration and innovation.
These grants are part of the Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which brings EPA,
HUD, USDA and DOT together to ensure that the agencies' policies, programs, and funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together. This interagency collaboration gets better results
for communities and uses taxpayer money more efficiently. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services meets multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent.
The Partnership is helping communities across the country to create more housing choices, make transportation
more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods that
attract businesses. At a time when every dollar the federal government invests in jumpstarting the economy is critical, the President's plan ensures that all these agencies are coordinating efforts and targeting resources with precision. Reflecting this new collaboration, these grants were judged by a multidisciplinary review team, drawn
from eight federal agencies and from partners in philanthropy.
HUD's inaugural grants under this program will support metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that incorporate housing, land use, economic development, transportation and infrastructure. This approach will benefit diverse areas across the U.S. including $25.6 million split evenly between regions with populations less than 500,000 and rural places (fewer than 200,000 people). HUD is reserving $2 million to help all of these areas build the needed capacity to execute their plans.
The grants are awarded through one of two categories. One category of grants will assist regional planning for sustainable development where such plans do not currently exist. A second category of funding will support the implementation of existing sustainability plans. The Lane Council's award was made under the second category.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.