CTOD’s Scott Bernstein & Shelley Poticha Talk To Senate Banking Committee

On March 26, CNT’s President Scott Bernstein and Reconnecting America’s CEO Shelley Poticha told Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee members and staff that transportation and housing policy and funding must be linked to unlock the market for development near stations and to enhance affordability.

Bernstein talked about the collapse of the “drive until you qualify” real-estate paradigm and the importance of redefining affordability to include consideration of both housing and transportation. He cited research showing that if a family making the median income of $52,000 a year in Milwaukee, WI, moved from a neighborhood requiring three cars per household and 35,000 miles of travel per year to an area where the household would need just one car, it would increase housing costs by $5,000 but reduce transportation costs by $12,000.

The data Bernstein was referring to can be seen at CNT’s tool, htaindex.org, which provides housing and transportation costs for 54 metropolitan statistical areas comprising 84 percent of the U.S. population.

Poticha pointed out the need to plan for transit alignments and station locations that maximize development potential – considerations that aren’t currently factored into siting decisions. And she stressed the need for more transit funding, noting that while the federal government has provided $6.9 billion for new rail projects, regions around the US have planned for $250 billion in investments.

Bernstein and Poticha were among a dozen experts called by the Senate Banking Committee to share their ideas on how to better integrate housing and transportation. The committee is gearing up to work on the upcoming reauthorization of the federal transportation bill that sets policy and funding for transportation over the next six years.

Their testimonies follow recent hearings on Livable Communities before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and the joint announcement by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and DOT Secretary Ray LaHood of the creation of an interagency partnership to promote sustainable communities through coordinating housing and transportation policy and investments.

CNT is a partner with Reconnecting America and Strategic Economics in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD).

More info:
Scott Bernstein’s testimony

Testimony of all speakers at hearing

(This is an edited reprint from Reconnecting America)