For the past few weeks, I've devoted separate blog posts to various DOT offices and agencies, to tell the story of what DOT accomplished last year. I think the record of achievement at DOT that these blog posts have established is a strong one. But we didn't do this work in a vacuum. We get a tremendous amount of support from our partners--other federal agencies, state and local governments, private sector companies, and non-profit organizations.
One key partnership, established by President Obama in June 2009, has been the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This is an interagency effort among DOT, HUD, and EPA to improve the way the federal government coordinates its transportation, housing, and environmental spending, policies, and programs. The goal of this effort is to help communities become economically strong and environmentally sustainable, and they notched a very productive 2011.
HUD, DOT, and EPA are working together to assure that their combined investments promote livability, affordability, environmental excellence, and green jobs. The Partnership agencies have jointly reviewed and provided grants and technical assistance to over 200 communities around the U.S. For example, the Ranson-Charles Town corridor in West Virginia received grants from all three partners to plan brownfield restoration, boost economic competitiveness, and coordinate affordable housing with transportation.
The result of this effort, the “Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities” report, was released in November in Brevard, North Carolina. The report highlights our work to strengthen rural economies and put people back to work through a series of case studies describing how specific communities have been able to leverage federal support to do just that.
Communities routinely say that, although they share the partnership's sustainability goals, finding sustainability resources and materials can be daunting. So the partnership launched an online database of sustainability tools, resources, and contacts. This “one stop shop,” at www.sustainablecommunities.gov, includes a list of useful tools and key resources, as well as sustainability contacts for all three agencies in every state. All of the resources were developed or sponsored by the Partnership agencies.
Developing more sustainable communities is critical to our national goals of strengthening our economy, creating good jobs now while providing a foundation for lasting prosperity, using energy more efficiently to secure energy independence, and protecting our natural environment and human health. As the Partnership for Sustainable Communities continues its work in 2012, America's communities can expect even more strides toward these important goals.
To learn more about the Partnership, visit www.sustainablecommunities.gov.