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House Hearing Emphasizes Transportation Bill Effects on Sustainability and Smart Growth Policies
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - Smart Growth America, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Earl Blumenauer, 10 Guiding Principles of Smart Growth, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
Contributed By: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy
Email The Author: pr@nthp.org
Website: http://www.nthp.org

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing on June 18th and that focused on the role of smart growth in combating global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. However, a clear divide emerged early in the hearing between the majority of the panel witnesses and the representative (Greg Cohen) of the Alliance of Highway Users. In short, the witness panel debated whether smart growth efforts should be first and foremost targeted towards reducing vehicle miles travel (VMT) or instead developing better land-use policies that combat sprawl.

The disagreements between the witnesses brought into sharp focus the role of the next surface transportation reauthorization bill will have in shaping the smart growth debate over policies that emphasize more population density and any accompanying traffic congestion that may come with in-fill development. On this point, subcommittee panel-member Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) lamented that cities in his district have lost population, but gained cars! Blumenauer also emphasized the need to ensure that links between public transportation and affordable housing costs are greatly enhanced to ensure that demand for more urban-centered housing isn’t limited to upper-income people who can afford it.

David Goldberg of Smart Growth America listed the reuse of existing buildings in his statement as one of the 10 Guiding Principles of Smart Growth, but there was actually very little discussion of the role of rehabbing buildings despite the fact that buildings account for almost 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. The National Trust has been an active proponent of the sustainability of existing structures in addressing global warming and the negative effects of urban sprawl and auto-centric patterns of development.

You can read the text of the witness testimony at the individual links provided below or visit the Subcommittee’s website at http://globalwarming.house.gov/pubs.

Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust


Keywords: Smart Growth America, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Earl Blumenauer, 10 Guiding Principles of Smart Growth, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

Posted: June 23, 2008
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Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
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