TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007
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Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Miller-Johnson amendment to restore funding for the HUD Brownfields program.
I want to congratulate the gentleman from California for his amendment. As a former mayor, I believe that this amendment will have a very positive impact on our Nation's cities.
Since the inception of its Brownfield programs, the federal government has allocated over $800 million in brownfield assessment and cleanup funds.
In addition, this investment has leveraged over $8 billion in cleanup and redevelopment dollars, a better than 10-to-1 return on investment. It has resulted in the assessment of more than 8,000 properties and helped create over 37,000 jobs.
This is because EPA and HUD grants work in conjunction with funding from state, local and private sources to address cleanup of brownfield sites.
Brownfields sites include inactive factories, gas stations, salvage yards, and abandoned warehouses.
These sites drive down property values, provide little or no tax revenue, and contribute to community blight.
HUD's brownfields program serves as a catalyst to spur private sector investment, job creation and economic development in communities.
HUD's program supports sustainable economic development that leverages investments from other public and private sources.
In comments from last year's floor debate, an opponent of the HUD Brownfields program stated that ``HUD funds on average are just about 2.3 percent of the total development cost of each project. Moreover, for each HUD dollar, there are $28 in private and $12 in State and local funds committed to the project.''
These statistics were cited as a reason to eliminate the HUD Brownfields program, but instead they demonstrate its unique value.
An initial influx of capital is often the greatest barrier to remediation of brownfields sites, and HUD's program provides that essential start up money.
The HUD program has been remarkably effective at leveraging private and local financial resources to achieve new successes on old properties.
This is an exciting time in the brownfields marketplace. Federal brownfields programs have provided the foundation on which state initiatives have flourished.
New Jersey has taken the lead creating a Federal Brownfields Inter-Agency Working Group comprised of 14 federal and state agencies.
This unprecedented coordination of agencies, community partners and private investors has enabled New Jersey to solve environmental problems while providing businesses a place to locate, create jobs, build housing and entertainment venues--all without having to go into farmlands and areas with open space.
This new business activity, housing or other types of redevelopment can restore the proud heritage of successful enterprise to our historic cities and other locales.
Throughout New Jersey and the country, there are thousands of abandoned structures that were once thriving businesses, often part of large industrial centers.
Economic development matched with environmental cleanup has resulted in the rebirth of many industrial and commercial properties and surrounding neighborhoods.
Anyone who cares about our nation's cities celebrates these successes, and welcomes the flexibility of the program. HUD's particular expertise in incorporating brownfields remediation into a larger strategy for economic development and community revitalization is essential to the success we have had and will continue to have in the future.
I urge my colleagues to support this very worthwhile amendment to restore funding for the HUD Brownfields program.
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