On May 6, 2010, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood testified before the Senate appropriations subcommittee about livable communities. He specifically addressed rural areas in terms of pedestrian friendliness, transportation options, and the threat to farmland of suburban sprawl. The Secretary gave the example of Bath, Maine.
Bath is a small town in southwest Maine whose historic downtown area is a model of a livable community. The town provides two trolley loops to transport residents and tourists through downtown, reducing the need for on-street parking. Bath’s street design encourages citizens to get out of their cars, which in turn supports local merchants through increased foot traffic.
The Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also spoke and stated that HUD is “looking at creating a separate, special funding category for small towns and rural places [in preparation for] the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the FY 2010 Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant funds.” Their testimony can be found at http://appropriations.senate.gov/ht-transportation.cfm?method=hearings.view&id=ff4c98a0-58a1-4182-a9a2-5b718da15266.