Restoring Prosperity News
Smart Growth America has released four more policy packages for state advocates, on tax increment financing for brownfields, fix-it-first for water and sewer infrastructure, using Low Income Housing Tax Credits to create and preserve transit-accessible affordable housing, and performance-based transportation measures. Each package includes an overview of the policy, key features of successful legislation, advice on political strategy and communications, sample legislative language, and a fill-in fact sheet for advocates to distribute to state officials. Download the packages today and use them in your state!
Download the entire Transportation Policy Package.
New York’s Department of State announced on November 17th a new Brownfields Smart Growth Spotlight Communities initiative, designed to link communities currently enrolled in the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas program with the Governor’s Smart Growth cabinet resources in order to promote economic revitalization as well as environmental protection of troubled areas. By integrating the Smart Growth cabinet with these existing programs, the state hopes to reinforce its existing commitment to sustainable smart growth and redevelopment. For more information, see the New York Department of State’s website.
The federal Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, passed in early October, reauthorizes two key programs that encourage redevelopment, the Brownfields Tax Incentive and the New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). The Brownfields Tax Incentive program, which, until now, was effective only from 1997 to 2007, allows property owners to immediately and fully deduct the costs of environmental cleanup on contaminated sites, encouraging investment in degraded areas. The program’s reauthorization will retroactively cover eligible cleanup costs from 2008, as well as future costs. The New Market Tax Credits program provides capital to private entities or individuals that invest in low-income areas. Both the NMTC and the Brownfields Tax Incentive program have been renewed through 2009. For more information, view the Council of Development Finance Agencies’article on the rescue package programs.
The EPA estimates that between 500,000 and one million brownfields exist throughout the country, and older cities are home to a disproportionate number of these abandoned former industrial sites. Brownfields redevelopment is a valuable economic development tool for local governments, helping to restore vacant, polluted sites for housing, commercial, or recreational purposes. Several pieces of federal legislation supported by the National Brownfields Coalition would help encourage brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, including:
Reauthorization of Brownfields Law – HR 5336, introduced by Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and James L Oberstar (D-MN), increases funding for the site assessment and cleanup program from $200 million to $350 million and prioritizes brownfields projects that include green building or energy efficiency standards.
Brownfields Tax Credit – Representatives Michael Turner (R-OH) and Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) have co-sponsored a bill (HR 3080) to establish a brownfields tax credit, which would help fund the testing and remediation procedures necessary to bring brownfield sites back into productive use in communities.
Waterfront Brownfields Pilot – Representative Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) introduced HR 5469 to fund a $20 million Waterfront Brownfields Pilot Program, since so many of these sites are located on valuable river and lakefronts.