The EPA Just Released a Report on Funding Options for Transit-oriented Development
Communities have learned that the benefits of public transport can be enhanced when station-area planning makes it easier for people to walk or bike, provides affordable housing options, and offers businesses greater access to potential employees and customers from across the region. This type of planning, known as transit-oriented development (TOD), brings together housing, transportation, and jobs. The EPA Office of Sustainable Communities has just released a report on the funding options for transit-oriented development.
But while transit and TOD can offer a community a host of advantages, the infrastructure is costly. A street network is required to get people to their local destinations. This street network must also have infrastructure and facilities to support drivers, transit users, bikes, and pedestrians. Sidewalks and onstreet parking will be needed, and commuters, residents, and commercial users often need parking garages. Energy, water, and stormwater must be addressed and managed. Regardless of who delivers the infrastructure, it must be funded, and a municipal commitment might be needed to instill market confidence.
Rail projects and TOD are long-term economic commitments. Whether a particular market is expanding or contracting, passenger rail and TOD can catalyze economic prosperity. A municipality does not want to pass up long-term transportation investments for lack of funding or financing. In many cases, places with or considering passenger rail already have professional staff with experience in sophisticated financial transactions for various types of infrastructure and transportation finance. Yet funding might already be allocated to other projects, or existing sources of funding such as revenue, formula funds, or grants might no longer be available at past levels. This raises the troubling issue of how to balance investments for long-term growth and development when the ability to fund these projects is limited.
This report provides information about funding mechanisms and strategies that communities can use to provide innovative financing options for TOD. It explains dozens of tools that provide traditional financing as well as new tools.
Download the full report here.