Yesterday in Kansas City, Deputy Secretary John Porcari represented the DOT at the opening of the Green Impact Assistance Center. That's the office that will coordinate activities in the city's Green Impact Zone.
It's really an interesting idea, Kansas City's Green Zone, and its importance was underscored by attendees Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrion, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Van Jones, special advisor for green jobs with the White House Council for Environmental Quality. I want to thank John for holding up DOT's leg of the Livable Communities tripod for us.
What is the Green Impact Zone? In this case it's a 150-block section of Kansas City that could serve as a national model for coordinating federal and local investment to create jobs, promote environmentally progressive development, and revitalize a troubled urban core. The Zone plan has 3 key features:
- Its ambitious weatherization program. This will train area residents and put them to work conducting energy audits and weatherizing the 2,500 homes in the Zone's neighborhoods.
- A new bus rapid transit system with bio-diesel fueled buses and green bus shelters.
- A job training and employment program for ex-parolees in green building, park restoration, and transit work.
As Deputy Secretary Porcari said yesterday, the DOT is very pleased to participate in this exciting project. Through the Recovery Act, the Missouri DOT and the Mid-America Regional Council are investing 13 million dollars in essential bridge work this fall that will support the new Troost Avenue bus rapid transit service. This means the folks living in this zone will finally have access to convenient, affordable public transit to help them reach jobs, schools, hospitals, and other essential services.
This is a great example of the ripple effect the Recovery Act is having on urban communities hit hard by the recession. Our federal investments in the Green Zone will provide good jobs that put people back to work and jump-start the local economy, while enhancing the quality of life for city residents in the Troost Avenue corridor.
The Green Impact Zone in Kansas City could not have come about without the hard work of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5th). Rep. Cleaver developed the plan's use of federal funds and persuaded the Kansas City Council to support the plan with a portion of its Recovery Act money. He also rallied community leaders, residents, businesses, and organizations to lend their support to the Zone.
I'm glad to see that Rep. Cleaver built a crucial role for transportation into Kansas City's Green Impact Zone plans. I look forward to seeing the program succeed and to seeing transportation continue to contribute to the greening of America.