The Obama Administration today convened a meeting with more than 50 local government and business leaders to discuss the role of sustainability in economic development and job creation. The gathering coincided with the third anniversary of the creation of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a landmark collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Administration participants included HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, DOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari, EPA Regional Director Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, White House Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew and White House Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson.
"At a moment when federal funds are precious, we need to ensure every taxpayer dollar is working to bring private investment off the sidelines and into our communities and economy," said HUD Secretary Donovan. "By bringing stakeholders from all sectors to the table and planning together with local business partners we are eliminating barriers to private sector investment -- ensuring local planning efforts are aligned not only across government but with the businesses and investors communities need to spur long-term economic growth."
Comprised of HUD, DOT, and EPA, the Partnership is a landmark collaboration designed to increase cooperation between the departments and strategically target transportation, land use, housing, environmental and other community development resources. Since 2009, the Partnership has provided over $3.7 billion in assistance to more than 700 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The purpose of bringing local government and business leaders together at the White House forum was to discuss how sustainability strategies make regional economies more competitive in a global market. The forum also focused on how coordinated investments in housing, transportation, the environment and regional economies can attract businesses to their regions and create jobs.
"The Obama Administration is committed to giving the American taxpayer a bigger bang for its buck, so we are working with our partners at HUD and EPA to implement strategies that will help Americans lower household transportation costs, improve air quality by lowering emissions and reduce our dependence on oil," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"For three years, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities has supported communities across the country as they work toward their economic and environmental goals," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "By coordinating resources across the Federal government, we're taking the necessary steps to ensure that each dollar we spend is more effective in helping communities protect human health and the environment, enhance their residents' day-to-day lives, and lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth."
Based on the high demand for Partnership assistance from municipalities and regional authorities, HUD, DOT, and EPA announced at the White House Forum that a select number of their competitive assistance programs would be more formally aligned. For the first time, the three agencies will take the other agencies' investments into account in making grant allocation decisions and utilize common language in notice of funding proposals. This type of reciprocal arrangement will bring a new level of coordination to federal investments and ensure that are designed to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
For more information about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, please visit www.sustainablecommunities.gov