Friday, June 25, 2010

Decoding the DOT/HUD Livability Etc. Funding Sources

I am confused. It's all livability; there is funding and different programs. Are they all the same or different and what are the rules? I need to explain all of these funding opportunities to myself. Hoping that this information provides some clarity to the rest of you. This entry will also appear today in the NRC Technical Assistance News because my brain will not allow me to revisit the Federal Register documents again today.

Staff of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will together review applications and select grantees for some of these programs. The interagency partnership seeks to help states, regions and communities:

Develop safe, reliable, and affordable transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce energy consumption and dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote public health.
... ... ...
Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe, and walkable neighborhoods—rural, urban, or suburban.
... ... ...
Support metropolitan areas and multijurisdictional partnerships that commit to adopt
integrated plans, strategies, and management tools to become more sustainable.
... ... ...
Facilitate strong alliances of residents and regional interest groups that are able to maintain a long-term vision for a region over time and simultaneously support progress through incremental sustainable development practices.

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program

Department of Housing and Urban Development
$100 million available.

Not less than $25 million shall be awarded to regions with populations of less than 500,000.

Purpose: Support metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of: (1) economic competitiveness and revitalization; (2) social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; (3) energy use and climate change; and (4) public health and environmental impact. The program is calling for development and implementation of Regional Plans for Sustainable Development (RPSD).

Bottom line for transit and alternative transportation programs: Transit, vanpooling, carsharing, and bike/ped accessibility fall into the The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) planning and implementation categories for transportation investment, energy conservation, and consistency with Department of Transportation (DOT) programs.

Serving marginalized populations: HUD is looking for initiatives that engage residents and stakeholders substantively and meaningfully in the development of the shared vision and its implementation early and throughout the process, including communities traditionally marginalized from such processes, while accommodating limited English speakers, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.

The application is due August 23, 2010.

There is way more and plenty of the terms mentioned are explained in detail in the NOFA. Transit and transportation are mentioned throughout and are integral to this program.

HUD's Community Challenge Planning Grants and DOT's TIGER II Planning Grants

$35 million in TIGER II planning grants as part of the National Infrastructure Investments program

DOT is referring to the grants for National Infrastructure Investments as TIGER II Discretionary Grants. The FY 2010 Appropriations Act permits DOT to use up to $35 million of the funds available for TIGER II Discretionary Grants for TIGER II Planning Grants.

Purpose: Fund the planning, preparation, or design of surface transportation projects that would be eligible for funding under the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program. Those include public transportation projects.

Bottom line for transit and alternative transportation programs: The two types of transit and transportation-related planning projects that the TIGER II planning grants envision are (1) Planning activities related to the development of a particular transportation corridor or regional transportation system, that promotes mixed-use, transit-oriented development with an affordable housing component; or developing expanded public transportation options, including accessible public transportation and para-transit services for individuals with disabilities, to allow individuals to live in diverse, high opportunity neighborhoods and communities and to commute to areas with greater employment and educational

Pre-applications are due by July 26, 2010.

DOT TIGER II Discretionary Grant Program

Pay attention to the specific information in the
for rural areas.

Minimum $10 million grant size, except for projects located in rural areas (as defined in section V (Projects in Rural Areas)), the minimum TIGER II Discretionary Grant size is $1 million.

Not less than $140 million of the funds provided for TIGER II Discretionary Grants are to be used for projects in rural areas. Also, 100 percent funding is only available in rural areas; 80 percent is the federal share otherwise.(For purposes of this grant, "DOT will consider a project to be in a rural area if ‘all or a material portion of a project is located in a rural area’. ... DOT will only consider a material portion of a project to be located in a rural area if the majority of the project is located in a rural area.)"

Up to $150 million of the $600 million available for TIGER II Discretionary Grants may be used for TIGER II Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA) Payments.

Purpose: DOT is looking for long-term outcomes that include livability, economic competitiveness, job creation, state of good repair, safety, environmental sustainability. An emphasis is put on innovation and partnerships - "the project’s involvement of non-Federal entities and the use of non-Federal funds."

Again, there is explanatory material in the NOFA and read the details. Concepts such as livability and economic competitiveness are defined in detail. Rural areas are considered to have underserved populations. Others are also discussed.

Bottom line for transit and alternative transportation programs: This is an opportunity friendly to transit, bike/ped modes and other alternative transportation. There is great room for flexibility, creativity and coordination.

Pre-applications are due July 16, 2010. The NOFA only mentions DOT as reviewing the applications and not HUD and EPA.


PolicyLink, Smart Growth America, Reconnecting America, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the National Housing Conference will co-host a special informational webinar to discuss the HUD elements of the regional planning program next Wednesday, June 30th from 3-5 pm Eastern Time (noon-2 pm Pacific time).


  1. What are the details on the HUD Community Challenge Planning Grants? They were included as part of the June 24 NOFA that HUD & DOT published jointly, but you don't mention the HUD portion in your posting. Eager to learn more!

  2. HUD's Community Challenge Planning Grant program was included in the same NOFA as the TIGER II planning grants. The NOFA is located at The Community
    Challenge Planning Grant Program focuses on individual jurisdictions and more localized planning than the HUD Sustainable Communities Regional
    Planning Grant Program, a $100 million program also created in the FY2010 Appropriations Act, which is designed to support regional planning efforts.