Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Federal Policy Update: Smart Growth & Economic Success

Reconnecting America provides occasional updates on federal activities related to transit, TOD, and sustainable communities. Updates may include key legislative or regulatory actions, grant opportunities, relevant resources, or original analysis.

Smart Growth & Economic Success

The EPA's Smart Growth Program has released a new report, Smart Growth and Economic Success, on the economic advantages of smart growth development. As this report shows, smart growth development -- compact, walkable, and diverse -- is attractive to developers, investors, local governments, and communities because it offers new opportunities for economic growth that is also environmentally sustainable:

  • Compact: Using land and resources more efficiently and redeveloping old or neglected areas while retaining existing infrastructure can create economic advantages for real estate developers and investors, businesses, and local governments. Compact development can generate more revenue per acre because it uses land more efficiently. It can reduce the costs of land and infrastructure for individual projects and the costs of providing fire and police protection, utilities, schools, and other public amenities. By locating companies closer together, compact development can create a density of employment that increases economic productivity and attracts additional investment.
  • Walkable: Walkable neighborhoods have well-connected streets and a mix of land uses near each other, making walking and bicycling more convenient and appealing. Projects in walkable neighborhoods command a price premium, earning real estate developers and investors a higher return on investment. Improvements to streets and sidewalks can help local businesses by attracting more customers. Local governments benefit from additional property and sales tax revenue.
  • Diverse: People and businesses value places that bring together a variety of activities to create vibrant environments. The demand for such places exceeds the supply. Many baby boomers and their children are particularly interested in lively neighborhoods with services to meet their daily needs close by. Communities with access to transit also help people reduce their transportation costs.

Smart Growth and Economic Success is the first in a series. Additional reports will explore how real estate developers and investors can overcome real and perceived barriers to infill, how decisions about where to locate will impact the bottom lines of businesses, and why smart growth strategies are good fiscal policy for local governments.

FTA Transit Asset Management Dialogue

The Federal Transit Administration has announced that it will hold an online dialogue on Transit Asset Management from Dec. 12, 2012, through Jan. 4, 2013. This Dialogue will provide public transportation stakeholders with an opportunity to provide comments to FTA on transit asset management requirements in MAP-21 in advance of FTA beginning a related rulemaking process.

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