Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Our Year Of Transforming Promising Ideas

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Fall 2010 Platform Newsletter

Welcome to the Fall 2010 issue of Platform. The staff of Reconnecting America has been busy all year. We have gone through a rebranding process and are currently overhauling our website, and have a number of accomplishments in transit-oriented development and policy work. In addition, we have expanded our talent roster to fulfill our mission of transforming promising ideas into thriving communities.

2010 has been a great year for our issues — TOD, multimodal transportation links, livability, sustainability, equity and affordable housing. We have many advocates on Capitol Hill and in the Obama Administration. Under the direction of our chief of staff, Allison Brooks, staff has been advancing our cause both on Capitol Hill and in the administration, as well as in our expanded regional TOD work. We were delighted to receive news from the Federal Transit Administration that they will continue our partnership and have funded us for FY 2011. This will enable us to continue to help bring equitable TOD to scale across the country.

In March, I testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the transportation challenges facing rural areas and the need to address these in the next transportation bill. In conjunction with our testimony, Transportation for America released a white paper titled, “Principles for Improving Transportation Options in Rural and Small Town Communities.” I am happy to report that our message has been heard on the Hill and an active rural strategy is now being pursued.

We were excited to see HUD release its Notice of Funding Availability for the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants.  Reconnecting America staff provided guidance to several regions as they wrote their proposals and worked to build regional consortiums of local jurisdictions and community organizations. We have been reviewing the regional applications to get a sense of the activities each is proposing to undertake to help realize the federal livability principles.

Our technical assistance program continues to help facilitate innovative work. We recently completed an exciting effort in Portland, where we have been collaborating with Oregon Metro and Nelson\Nygaard to create an investment framework for Metro’s TOD program.  (See the story here.) In the Bay Area, we have been working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and a regional collaboration called the Great Communities Collaborative to help create what is slated to be a $60 million dollar Affordable Housing Transit-Oriented Development Fund that is focused on preserving and producing affordable housing in key high-access locations across the region.

And last but not least, be sure to read the exciting news of the MITOD website. We are certain this resource will prove invaluable to jurisdictions and planners as they develop creative and innovative mixed-income communities around planned transit stations.

As our new tagline says, Reconnecting America is all about People, Places and Possibilities. We look forward to continuing our work and appreciate your support.