August 09, 2021

Wyden Cosponsors Legislation to Spur Local Economic Growth, Job Creation by Connecting Affordable Housing and Access to Public Transit

The bill provides a comprehensive approach to help working families access good paying jobs by ensuring affordable housing is connected with transit systems

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today he is cosponsoring legislation that would provide incentives to the coordinated development of affordable housing and transit in Oregon and nationwide.

The Livable Communities Act of 2021 encourages local communities to partner strategically to develop bold, innovative solutions that reflect their unique character, while leveraging existing assets, including access to transit to help revitalize neighborhoods, spur economic development, create jobs, and address their affordable housing needs.

“Strategically linking affordable housing to transit is a strategic investment in American workers,” Wyden said. “This legislation provides key funds for our state and our nation to grapple with a climate crisis, an affordable housing crisis, and underinvestment in public transit—all at once to create livable communities for generations to come.”

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s , (HUD), low-income families who lived away from employment centers spent 40 percent of their income on transportation costs. As a result, working families living in underserved and majority-minority communities have less access to good-paying jobs.

The Livable Communities Act of 2021:

  • Establishes an Office of Sustainable Communities within HUD to promote interagency coordination on the development of affordable housing, transit systems, and other community needs;
  • Creates a Comprehensive Planning Grant Program to allow partnerships between local governments, planning organizations, and Indian Tribes and creates comprehensive regional plans for the development of sustainable, affordable housing with access to transit;
  • Creates a Community Challenge Grant Program to help fund the implementation of comprehensive regional plans;
  • Creates a Credit Facility to promote access to credit for the development and improvement of public transportation facilities;
  • Sets aside 25 percent of the funding specifically for high-poverty communities;
  • Launches a Federal initiative to support healthy housing and reduce the prevalence and severity of housing related health hazards.

The Livable Communities Act of 2021 was introduced by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Along with Wyden, the legislation is sponsored by U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Alex Padilla, D-Calif.

Bill text is here.