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The average American household spends nearly 60% of its budget on housing and transportation, making them the largest expenses for American families. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Transportation (DOT) want to cut these costs by providing access to more affordable housing and transportation options. They have formed a new high-level interagency task force that will focus on creating affordable, sustainable communities.
The task force is intended to better coordinate federal transportation and housing investments and identify strategies to give American families:
In joining forces, these two federal departments, which might otherwise seem to have unrelated missions, show that transportation is a critical component of the true cost of housing. And with a goal of providing more transportation options, they are working toward making more housing affordable. All of this advances walkable neighborhoods, reduces driving and congestion, cuts greenhouse gas emissions, saves people money – and creates sustainable communities.
The HUD/DOT task force will:
Redefine affordability and make it transparent. The task force will develop federal housing affordability measures that include housing, and transportation costs and other costs that affect location choices. Although transportation costs now approach or exceed housing costs for many working families, federal definitions of housing affordability don't recognize the strain of soaring transportation costs on homeowners and renters who live in areas isolated from work opportunities and transportation choices.
Develop livability measures. The task force will research, evaluate and recommend measures that indicate the livability of communities, neighborhoods and metropolitan areas.
Undertake joint research, data collection and outreach. A working group was established in June 2008 to identify opportunities to better align federal programs and resources to reduce traffic congestion, increase transportation mobility, improve air quality and realize other related environmental benefits.
Harmonize HUD and DOT programs. HUD and DOT will work together to identify opportunities to better coordinate their programs and encourage location efficiency in housing and transportation choices.
Enhance integrated regional housing, transportation, and land use planning and investment. The task force will set a goal to have every major metropolitan area in the country conduct integrated housing, transportation, and land use planning and investment in the next four years.
These plans for creating sustainable communities were presented at a Congressional hearing entitled "Livable Communities, Transit Oriented Development, and Incorporating Green Building Practices into Federal Housing and Transportation." For the full text of HUD testimony, visit HUD's website.