In the 21st century, increasingly, a livable community will be an economically powerful one.
--Vice President Gore, Sept. 2, 1998
Vice President Gore is today launching a comprehensive Livability Agenda to help communities across America grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and strong, sustainable economic growth. This billion dollar initiative will strengthen the federal government's role as a partner with the growing number of state and local efforts to build "livable communities" for the 21st century.
Key elements of the interagency initiative -- to be included in President Clinton's proposed FY 2000 budget -- will provide communities with new tools and resources to preserve green space, ease traffic congestion, and pursue regional smart growth strategies. As part of the Livability Agenda, the Administration will continue to work with and learn from states, communities, and other stakeholders, and to develop new strategies to provide them with additional tools and resources.
The Clinton-Gore Livability Agenda aims to help citizens and communities:
- Preserve green spaces that promote clean air and clean water, sustain wildlife, and provide families with places to walk, play and relax.
- Ease traffic congestion by improving road planning, strengthening existing transportation systems, and expanding use of alternative transportation.
- Restore a sense of community by fostering citizen and private sector involvement in local planning, including the placement of schools and other public facilities.
- Promote collaboration among neighboring communities -- cities, suburbs or rural areas -- to develop regional growth strategies and address common issues like crime.
- Enhance economic competitiveness by nurturing a high quality of life that attracts well-trained workers and cutting-edge industries.
FY 2000 Livability Initiatives
The President's FY 2000 budget request to Congress will propose significant new investments to support major Livability programs:
Better America Bonds - To help communities reconnect with their land and water, preserve green space for future generations, and provide attractive settings for economic development, the Administration is proposing a new financing tool generating $9.5 billion in bond authority for investments by state, local and tribal governments. The President's budget will propose tax credits totaling more than $700 million over five years -- to support Better America Bonds, which can be used to preserve green space, create or restore urban parks, protect water quality, and clean up brownfields (abandoned industrial sites). The program will be coordinated through an interagency process.
Community Transportation Choices - To help ease traffic congestion, the proposed Department of Transportation budget for FY 2000 will include a record $6.1 billion for public transit and $2.2 billion -- a total 16 percent increase over FY 1999 -- to aggressively implement innovative community-based programs in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Such programs provide flexible support to help communities create regional transportation strategies, improve existing roads and transit, and encourage broader use of alternative transportation. This includes $1.6 billion for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which supports state and local projects that reduce congestion and improve air quality.
Regional Connections Initiative -To promote regional "smart growth" strategies and to complement the Administration's other regional efforts, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $50 million as matching funds for local partnerships to design and pursue smarter growth strategies across jurisdictional lines. Strategies will include compact development incentives, (b) coordinated reinvestment in existing infrastructure, and (c) ways to manage reinforce the region's overall development strategy.
Other Livability Initiatives - The President's proposed FY 2000 budget will include funding for several other initiatives supporting local livability efforts:
Community-Centered Schools - A new $10 million grant program administered by the Department of Education to encourage school districts to involve the community in planning and designing new schools.
Community-Federal Information Partnership -- A new $40 million program funded by several agencies to provide communities with grants for easy-to-use information tools to help develop strategies for future growth.
Regional Crime-Data Sharing - $50 million will be provided to expand programs to help communities share information to improve public safety. These programs will: (1) improve and continue to computerize national, state, and local criminal history records; and (2) develop or upgrade local communications technologies and criminal justice identification systems to help local law enforcement share information in a timely manner.
The Livability Agenda integrates the commitments of more than a dozen Federal agencies. The Agenda also supplements the various programs that make up the Administration's Community Empowerment Agenda, which is designed to encourage reinvestment in existing communities and provide greater opportunity for their residents.
Remarks by Vice President at American Institute of Architects