The bipartisan Build More Housing Near Transit Act of 2021 (H.R. 2483) – reintroduced on April 14 by Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – would encourage the construction of low and middle-income housing in transit-served, walkable locations.
- The United States is in the middle of a severe affordable housing shortage exacerbated by the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates there is a shortage of 7 million affordable homes, and 10.4 million Americans spend more than half of their income on housing.
Benefits of the Bill
- The Build More Housing Near Transit Act of 2021 would provide incentives for building housing developments that use less land, allow people to live closer to job opportunities and effectively reduce green house gas emissions by eliminating the need for cars.
- The Roundtable-supported bill was initially introduced in the previous Congress, which passed the House as part of last year’s Moving Forward Act. (One-page summary, Up for Growth Action)
- This year’s bill (H.R. 2483) would ensure the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) takes a holistic and quantitative approach to evaluating applicants seeking to build affordable housing projects near transit station areas. Specifically, the bill would make some minor, but essential, enhancements to the evaluation criteria for the FTA’s Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grants Program, or Section 5309 grants, which fund projects like commuter rail, light rail, and bus rapid transit.
- The Real Estate Roundtable joined a broad coalition of housing, transportation and other organizations in an April 14 letter to the bill’s sponsors to express strong support for the legislation.
- The coalition letter states, “ From encouraging more thoughtful planning, to supporting more inclusive housing policies, to enabling more efficient use of federal dollars, the Build More Housing Near Transit Act is a sound policy and the product of a collaborative process.”
- One of the organizations includes Up for Growth Action, whose Executive Director Mike Kingsella said, “The Build More Housing Near Transit Act encourages localities to align land-use policies and affordable housing resources with federal transit investment, ensuring that transit-rich communities are accessible to more Americans.” (Rep. Peters news release, April 24)
Original cosponsors of the legislation include Reps. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), David Scott (D-GA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY).
# # #