Rep. Peters Reintroduces Bill to Help Tackle America’s Housing Crisis, Boost Public Transit Use
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced an updated version of his bipartisan Build More Housing Near Transit Act to encourage the construction of low and middle-income housing in transit-served, walkable locations. The bill, which reflects language included in last year’s H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, would provide incentives for transit applicants who meet requirements related to building more housing along the future transit corridor. It covers projects submitted under the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts and Core Capacity programs, which fund projects like commuter rail, light rail, and bus rapid transit through the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the United States has a shortage of 7 million affordable homes, and 10.4 million Americans spend more than half of their income on housing. In California, there is a shortage of nearly one million homes for extremely low-income renters. H.R. 2483, the Build More Housing Near Transit Act of 2021, aims to facilitate the construction of more housing, increase transit ridership, and maximize federal investments. The bill will also help slow climate change, as research shows that building housing near transit lines has vast potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Locally, the Mid-Coast Trolley in Rep. Peters’ district will extend trolley service from the Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego to the University City area, serving high-activity areas such as Old Town, UC San Diego, and University Towne Centre. The Mid-Coast Trolley receives funding from a New Starts CIG agreement.
“San Diego is one of many communities across the country facing a housing crisis. People struggle to find affordable housing and are often forced to live in areas that are far from work without access to public transit,” said Rep. Peters. “Our bill will maximize federal investment in transit and increase housing options for cost-burdened Americans. On top of that, it boosts our efforts to protect the environment by growing transit ridership and getting more cars off the road.”
Original cosponsors of the bipartisan Build More Housing Near Transit Act of 2021 include Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), David Scott (GA-13), Ami Bera (CA-07), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Tom Suozzi (NY-03). It boasts support from over 110 organizations.
“The Build More Housing Near Transit Act will help America build back better,” said Up for Growth Action Executive Director Mike Kingsella. “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. We applaud Representative Peters, Representative McMorris Rodgers, and bill co-sponsors for their continued leadership to advance smart and sensible federal housing and transit policy.”
“I applaud and thank Congressman Peters for his leadership in introducing the Build More Housing Near Transit Act. Not only will this legislation help prioritize the development of more affordable housing options near transit, which our region desperately needs, it will also help us continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions thereby bolstering our efforts to meaningfully confront the climate crisis,” said City of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
“The Build More Housing Near Transit Act of 2021 is a great opportunity to address two of the nation’s most pressing issues: housing availability and inequity, and the climate crisis. This bill helps tackle both issues at once by ensuring a variety of housing options are built near our growing transportation network—something the San Diego region is committed to implementing as we plan for the future,” said Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of the San Diego Association of Governments.
"This bill presents an enormous opportunity to leverage federal transit spending to unlock local land use reforms. This is exactly the kind of national policy we need to help local governments embrace the need for more homes," said Colin Parent, Circulate San Diego Executive Director and General Counsel.
“The nation’s housing crisis is also a crisis of economic opportunity and mobility. Effective planning that coordinates transit, housing, jobs, and land use is vital to tackling the challenge of housing affordability and availability. It ensures that our infrastructure investments provide the broadest and highest benefit. The Build More Housing Near Transit Act will promote federal transit infrastructure investments that increase mobility options and access to opportunity. The American Planning Association is proud to support this legislation as an important tool for the recovery and reinvention of our communities,” said Leo R. Asuncion, AICP, President of the American Planning Association.
"The Build More Housing Near Transit Act will make it easier to build the places people love," said Congress for the New Urbanism President and CEO Lynn Richards. "Aligning federal transit investments with affordable and market-rate housing development will create the livable and sustainable communities desired by - but often inaccessible to - many Americans. We thank bill sponsors for developing innovative federal policy that will improve quality of life for people across the country."