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Senate must rebuff House efforts to gut funding for Sustainable Communities program

09/12/11

Federal program plays critical role in strengthening local economies across the nation,
says Dan Kildee of Center for Community Progress.

 

FLINT, MI (SEPTEMBER 12, 2011): Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives stripped funding for the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities – a shortsighted move that will gut one of the nation’s most innovative programs to create jobs and rebuild local communities, according to the Center for Community Progress. 


Community Progress is joining a growing number of groups around the nation to urge U.S. Senators to reject the House move and approve funding for the Partnership when it takes the issue up on Thursday, September 15.The program has been a popular target of conservatives. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that promotes economic growth projects in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Its work draws significant private investment – stretching government dollars and saving billions more in tax revenues while providing real and immediate benefits to communities.


The Partnership encourages rural, suburban, and urban communities to plan future transportation, housing, and water infrastructure projects strategically – an approach that is expected to save communities nationwide nearly $122 billion on infrastructure costs over the next 25 years. 


The Partnership’s programs also create jobs, with its competitive grant programs providing direct support for job creation and leveraging significant private sector investment. In addition, the Partnership cuts red tape and helps federal agencies work more effectively by working to streamline and reconcile different federal programs’ requirements, easing regulatory contradictions for communities and making local projects more effective and efficient. 


The collaboration also allows federal agencies to share research and best practices and break down institutional, regulatory, and statutory barriers.


“Government at every level has to work smarter to build up local economies and put people back to work,” says Dan Kildee, President of the Center for Community Progress. ”The Partnership embodies the kind of smart government approach we need to pull ourselves out of today’s economic crisis. It makes no sense for Congress to cut funding for an initiative that is already producing real gains for our cities and towns, and I urge the Senate to take a wiser and less partisan course and move to restore funding for this program.”


“The Partnership’s programs support American competitiveness in today’s global economy, and help connect America’s labor force to education and employment opportunities and create opportunities for business growth,” adds Kildee. “Hard data clearly shows the benefit of this kind of approach – and why the Partnership for Sustainable Communities deserves to be funded going forward. It would be a tragedy if the Senate decided to be penny-wise but pound-foolish in allowing cuts to this program to stand.”

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