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Public Statements

Issue Position: Shaping Livable Communities

Issue Position

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Livable communities create safe, healthy places for our children to learn and grow and inspire living practices that are healthy for our citizens, economy, and environment. Working to shape livable communities is an important legislative priority for me and my colleagues in Congress.

What are Livable Communities?

Livable communities are communities in which families have equal access to education, economic, housing and transportation opportunities. To create livable communities, we must invest in local infrastructure projects and strengthen positive relationships between transportation, health, energy, environment, housing and education initiatives.

Congressional Collaborations

As a member of both the Democratic Caucus' Livable Communities Task Force and the Congressional Urban Caucus, I am able to work with other members of Congress to promote legislation that focuses on creating more livable communities and spurs a healthier environment and economy for our citizens.

Specifically, the goal of the Livable Communities Task Force is to identify the ways in which the federal government can affect community livability and improve Americans' quality of life. This includes reducing the nation's dependence on oil, protecting the environment, improving public health and investing in housing and transportation projects that create jobs and give people more commuting choices. Investing in smart infrastructure projects in our backyards will create healthy and vibrant communities. This task force endorses the same six livability principles as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that was established on June 16, 2009. These livability principles include:

*Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.

*Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

*Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.

*Reinvest in existing communities. Target federal funding toward existing communities--through strategies like transit oriented, mixed-use development, and land recycling--to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.

*Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment. Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.

*Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods--rural, urban, or suburban.

As a member of the Congressional Urban Caucus, I work with other members who represent the nation's metropolitan areas to formulate ideas on how best to address the challenges faced by cities. Within this Caucus, I have led the effort to create an Urban Parks Task Force to focus on how the revitalization of urban parks can better metropolitan areas by providing healthy alternatives to at-risk youth.

Legislative Initiatives

I have introduced two bills that would help communities promote healthy lifestyles and support smart infrastructure investments.

I introduced H.R. 709, Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, which will invest in the health and well-being of communities across this nation by creating four grant programs that all require a local match. Rehabilitation grants would be used for purposes of remodeling or rebuilding recreational areas and facilities. Innovation grants would be used to cover costs of personnel, facilities and equipment designed to demonstrate innovative and cost-effective recreation opportunities. At-risk youth recreation grants would support new or existing programs support for existing programs that provide alternatives to at-risk youth. Lastly, recovery action program grants would be used for the development of local park and recreation programs, including citizen involvement and planning. Economically distressed communities will be encouraged to use these grant programs to improve local economies, promote environmental stewardship, and provide opportunity for physical activity. To learn more about the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, please view my press release on H.R. 709 -- link http://sires.house.gov/press-release/february-15-2011-sires-reintroduces-urban-parks-bill-strengthen-local-communities

Additionally, I introduced H.R. 3517, the Commute LESS (Leveraging Employer Support and Successes) Act to provide a better connection between transportation planners and employers. This bill would give employers the tools and resources they need to provide their employees with real alternative forms of transportation, including transit, carpooling, telework, and biking or walking to work in an effort to reduce congestion and improve the environment. To learn more about Commute LESS, please 3/21/12

Website: Livable Communities

I am working to strengthen our communities by improving the quality of life for New Jerseyans and all Americans. Livable communities create safe, healthy places for our children to learn and grow and inspire living practices that are healthy for our citizens, economy, and environment. Working to shape livable communities is an important legislative priority for me and my colleagues in Congress.

What are Livable Communities?

Livable communities are communities in which families have equal access to education, economic, housing and transportation opportunities. To create livable communities, we must invest in local infrastructure projects and strengthen positive relationships between transportation, health, energy, environment, housing and education initiatives.

Congressional Collaborations

As a member of both the Democratic Caucus' Livable Communities Task Force and the Congressional Urban Caucus, I am able to work with other members of Congress to promote legislation that focuses on creating more livable communities and spurs a healthier environment and economy for our citizens.

Specifically, the goal of the Livable Communities Task Force is to identify the ways in which the federal government can affect community livability and improve Americans' quality of life. This includes reducing the nation's dependence on oil, protecting the environment, improving public health and investing in housing and transportation projects that create jobs and give people more commuting choices. Investing in smart infrastructure projects in our backyards will create healthy and vibrant communities. This task force endorses the same six livability principles as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that was established on June 16, 2009. These livability principles include:

*Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable, and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.

*Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

*Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers, as well as expanded business access to markets.

*Reinvest in existing communities. Target federal funding toward existing communities--through strategies like transit oriented, mixed-use development, and land recycling--to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.

*Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment. Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding, and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.

*Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods--rural, urban, or suburban.

As a member of the Congressional Urban Caucus, I work with other members who represent the nation's metropolitan areas to formulate ideas on how best to address the challenges faced by cities. Within this Caucus, I have led the effort to create an Urban Parks Task Force to focus on how the revitalization of urban parks can better metropolitan areas by providing healthy alternatives to at-risk youth.

Legislative Initiatives

I have introduced two bills that would help communities promote healthy lifestyles and support smart infrastructure investments.*

I introduced H.R. 709, Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, which will invest in the health and well-being of communities across this nation by creating four grant programs that all require a local match. Rehabilitation grants would be used for purposes of remodeling or rebuilding recreational areas and facilities. Innovation grants would be used to cover costs of personnel, facilities and equipment designed to demonstrate innovative and cost-effective recreation opportunities. At-risk youth recreation grants would support new or existing programs support for existing programs that provide alternatives to at-risk youth. Lastly, recovery action program grants would be used for the development of local park and recreation programs, including citizen involvement and planning. Economically distressed communities will be encouraged to use these grant programs to improve local economies, promote environmental stewardship, and provide opportunity for physical activity. To learn more about the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, please view my press release on H.R. 709 -- http://sires.house.gov/press-release/february-15-2011-sires-reintroduces-urban-parks-bill-strengthen-local-communities

Additionally, I introduced H.R. 3517, the Commute LESS (Leveraging Employer Support and Successes) Act to provide a better connection between transportation planners and employers. This bill would give employers the tools and resources they need to provide their employees with real alternative forms of transportation, including transit, carpooling, telework, and biking or walking to work in an effort to reduce congestion and improve the environment. To learn more about Commute LESS, please view my press release on H.R. 260 -- http://sires.house.gov/press-release/january-11-2011-sires-introduces-legislation-aid-commuters.


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