Representatives García, Watson Coleman, and Cohen Introduce Bill to Promote Affordable Housing and Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

June 4, 2020
Press Release

Chicago, IL. - Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Steve Cohen (TN-09) introduced a bill this week in line with the principles of the Future of Transportation Caucus: H.R. 7074, the Promoting Equitable Transit-Oriented Development and Mobility Corridors Act. The legislation establishes an Office of Equitable Transit-Oriented Development in the Department of Transportation (DOT), promotes affordable housing near transit, and reduces vehicle miles traveled and carbon emissions. It will also allow rural, suburban, and urban governments to develop more equitable planning practices through technical assistance grants. The legislation furthers the equity goals included in the Transit-Supportive Communities section of the INVEST in America Act, also announced this week.

“For too long, policy makers have ignored the social justice implications of transportation policy. As a result, communities of color and working class neighborhoods have been choked off from transit options and ultimately vital access to jobs, services, and cultural assets. Rising rents and property values continue to gentrify and displace communities like those on Southwest and Northwest sides of Chicago keeping families in cycles of poverty. These trends must end,” said Rep. Chuy García. “My bill seeks to restore equity in our development practices and promote affordable housing and mixed-use planning instead of building luxury buildings that displace entire communities. Doing so ensures more Chicago residents can afford to remain in their communities and access vital parts of the city by transit. I am pleased to see that the INVEST in America Act includes principles from my bill and will continue working to mitigate gentrification and ensure affordable housing near transit remains a core component of future transportation legislation.”

“Creating equitable transit-oriented (eTOD) development and supporting mixed use neighborhoods, with both affordable housing and access to transportation, are smart ways to promote growth in our cities. I’m pleased to join Congressman Garcia is cosponsoring the Promoting Equitable Transit-Oriented Development and Mobility Corridors Act,” Rep. Steve Cohen said.

“Too many communities in this country have had to go without the essential economic building block of Transit-Oriented Development, leaving them far behind in access to jobs, services, and growth. This bill ensures every community – rural, metropolitan or otherwise – will prioritize these projects, improving housing and local prosperity for everyone. It’s past time we make these kinds of strategic investments nationwide,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

"Too many people live in communities where they are forced to spend over half of their hard-earned money on housing and transportation.  Even in thriving communities, long-time minority residents and legacy businesses are being displaced, while middle-income families are unable to find attainable housing. We applaud Reps. Garcia, Watson Coleman and Cohen's introduction of the Promoting Equitable Transit-Oriented Development and Mobility Corridors Act. This will help states, local government, private sector and community stakeholders create and implement a comprehensive strategy to revitalize existing neighborhoods while maintaining and improving housing and transportation affordability—something we will now need more than ever to achieve an equitable COVID-19 recovery,” said Christopher A. Coes, vice president of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America.

“By prioritizing affordable and equitable housing near transit and biking and walking networks, we can reduce our dependence on driving and cut dangerous carbon pollution,” said Stephanie Gidigbi, Director of Policy and Partnerships for NRDC’s Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program. “Equitable transit oriented development is a critical component of a climate friendly transportation system, and when done properly can support investment without displacement. This legislation takes a step closer to achieving that goal.”

“We work overtime to satisfy the demand for new housing and opportunities in walkable, transit-connected places. Unfortunately, there are not enough resources or tools to meet the pent-up demand for these places by all Americans across all income spectrums and small and local businesses. Reps. Garcia, Cohen and Watson Coleman's bill will assist state and local government efforts to promote more equitable development while building a market-driven production super-highway for attainable housing and commercial spaces where we needed most,” said Jair Lynch, president of LOCUS.

Elevated Chicago is thrilled about the prospect of equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) being supported by federal policy and investments. We know, from our work in Chicago neighborhoods, that TOD is better for our health and our environment than car-centric development, but it has often bypassed or displaced communities of color. The proposed legislation addresses this by involving community-based organizations in investments near transit, ensuring that the many benefits of TOD are equitable and go to those who most need them.  I commend Congressman Garcia for understanding and championing this important issue,” said Roberto Requejo, program director of Elevated Chicago.

The full text of the Promoting Equitable Transit-Oriented Development and Mobility Corridors Act can be found here.

The bills are supported by: Smart Growth America, Natural Resources Defense Council, LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, Transportation for America, Elevated Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust.

The following members are original cosponsors of the Promoting Equitable Transit-Oriented Development and Mobility Corridors Act: Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Steve Cohen, Ayanna Pressley, Darren Soto, Andre Carson, Bennie G. Thompson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

# # #