Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Promises about Urban on The Obameter

Create a White House Office on Urban Policy

"Will create a White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs. The Director of Urban Policy will report directly to the president and coordinate all federal urban programs."

Fully fund the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

"Will restore funding for the CDBG program: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is an important program that helps strengthen cities and towns throughout the nation by providing housing and creating jobs primarily for low- and moderate-income people and places. The Bush administration has consistently attempted to cut funding for CDBG, including by $1.2 billion next year and $6.9 billion over the next five years. Barack Obama has fought against these cuts and, as president, he will restore funding for the CDBG program."

Support regional innovation clusters

"Will create a federal program to support 'innovation clusters' – regional centers of innovation and next-generation industries. This innovation clusters program will provide $200 million in planning and matching grants for regional business, government and university leaders to collaborate on leveraging a region's existing assets – from transportation infrastructure to universities – to enhance long-term regional growth. Planning grants will be used to help seed local discussions about developing innovation clusters, and matching grants will help assist states with a variety of activities needed to build successful innovation clusters, including building research parks, workforce attraction efforts, supporting regional transportation projects tied to developing clusters, and bolstering local job training." (Editor's note: We've read this a bunch of times and still aren't sure what he means, but we're including it while we try to decipher it.)

Establish program to convert manufacturing centers into clean technology leaders

Will "establish a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize and help Americans learn new skills to produce green products. This federal grant program will allocate money to the states to identify and support local manufacturers with the most compelling plans for modernizing existing or closed manufacturing facilities to produce new advanced clean technologies. This investment will help provide the critical up-front capital needed by small and mid-size manufacturers to produce these innovative new technologies. Along with an increased federal investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced technologies, this $1 billion per year investment will help spur sustainable economic growth in communities across the country."

Increase the supply of affordable housing throughout metropolitan regions

Will support "efforts to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund would use a small percentage of the profits of two government-sponsored housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to create thousands of new units of affordable housing every year...Will also restore cuts to public housing operating subsidies, and ensure that all Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs are restored to their original purpose."

Establish 'Promise Neighborhoods' for areas of concentrated poverty

"Will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in cities that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement. The Promise Neighborhoods will model the Harlem Children's Zone and seek to engage all resident children and their parents in an achievement program based on tangible goals, including college for every participating student, strong physical and mental health outcomes for children as well as retention of meaningful employment and parenting schools for parents. Cities and private entities will be required to pay 50 percent of the program costs."

Double federal program to help "reverse" commuters who go from city to suburbs

"Will double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities and that urban planning initiatives take this aspect of transportation policy into account. JARC funds have been used to connect low-income workers around the country with job opportunities."

Consider "smart growth" in transportation funding

"Will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account."

Help states and localities address sprawl

"Will work to provide states and local governments with the resources they need to address sprawl and create more livable communities."