In an unprecedented collaboration between two federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today jointly awarded nearly $6 million to help stimulate a new generation of sustainable and livable communities in California, connect housing, employment and economic development with transportation and other infrastructure improvements. The joint HUD-DOT funding will support 62 local and regional partnerships seeking to create a more holistic and integrated approach to connecting affordable housing, job opportunities and transportation corridors.

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Posted by: Lauren Michele | August 25, 2010

Local Government Technical Resources

Local governments play a critical role in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions — below are a few resources to support cities and counties with limited staff and fiscal capacity to initiate Climate Action Plans.
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Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC)

The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative is a new alliance to help cities and counties reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. SEEC is a collaboration between three statewide non-profit organizations and California’s four Investor Owned Utilities.

SEEC Members:

SEEC provides education and tools for climate action planning, venues for peer-to-peer networking, technical assistance and recognition for local agencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.  The collaborative effort is designed to build upon the unique resources, expertise and local agency relationships of each non-profit organization, as well as those of the four investor owned utilities.

Cool Planet Project

The Climate Registry administers an energy efficiency and climate change mitigation program called the Cool Planet Project with electric and gas utilities throughout North America.  The Cool Planet Project is funded by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric provides the following non-fiscal resources (on-going program) for “utility customers” (e.g. local governments) FOR FREE for the first year of participation:
  • One year membership in California Climate Registry (for GHG inventory)
  • Third party verification of GHG inventory
  • Public relations services provided to communicate environmental leadership to the public
  • Strengthens an organization’s voice among industry peers and national policy makers

Cool California

Cool California is a partnership of the State of California Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, Public Utilities, and University at Berkeley.  Its mission is to provide all Californians with the tools they need to take action to protect the climate and keep California cool.  The partnership has developed a Local Government Toolkit to identify cost saving actions, financial resources, and case studies to assist local governments with achieving GHG emission reductions.  Cool California provides resources to local government to establish baseline GHG emission inventories and guide the development of a Climate Action Plan.


The federal partnership of US DOT, EPA and HUD is making available over $700 million in grants to cities, counties, MPOs, and transportation agencies for sustainable community plans with integrated transportation.  Grant proposals are due on July 26 and August 23, 2010.  For details outlining the individual federal grant opportunities, view the Federal Grant Matrix.  In order to be eligible for the HUD Community Challenge grants or DOT TIGER II grants, applicants must register here by COB on July 16th in order to ensure that they will receive their password in time to submit the pre-application, and can click here for the easy-to-follow application instructions.

Policy in Motion is offering a “Sustainable Community Grant Navigation” package to assist local governments in optimizing successful grant submissions for both the five federal grant opportunities totaling $748 million, and the California Proposition 84 grant awards totaling $22 million this cycle.  Consultancy services for the Navigation package include:

  1. overview of how federal and California policy direction ties into the scoring criteria for federal and California planning grants, and
  2. custom consultation for applicant on which grants to pursue and how to prepare grant materials through strategic planning submissions.

For more information contact Lauren Michele at lauren.michele@policyinmotion.com.

Posted by: Lauren Michele | July 7, 2010

Prop 84 Grant Opportunities Announced

California’s Strategic Growth Council announced that it is now accepting applications for its $22.3 million Proposition 84 competitive planning grant program.  The grants will reimburse cities, counties, MPOs, Joint Powers Authorities, Regional Transportation Planning Agencies, Councils of Governments, individually or in partnerships for the cost of developing sustainable community plans. Applications are due by August 31, 2010.  Specific activities to which the grants may be applied include development, update, adoption, or implementation of General Plan updates and elements, specific plans, infill plans, zoning ordinances, climate action plans, regional blueprint plans, interregional plans, and SB 375 Sustainable Community Strategies or Alternative Planning Strategies.  Individual grants may range from $100,000 to $1 million.  For detailed information click here, and for the FAQ sheet click here.

Policy in Motion is offering a “Sustainable Community Grant Navigation” package to assist local governments in optimizing successful grant submissions for both the five federal grant opportunities totaling $748 million, and the California Proposition 84 grant awards totaling $22 million this cycle.  Consultancy service for the Navigation package includes:

  1. overview of how federal and California policy direction ties into the scoring criteria for federal and California planning grants, and
  2. custom consultation for applicant on which grants to pursue and how to prepare grant materials through strategic planning submissions.

For more information contact Lauren Michele at lauren.michele@policyinmotion.com.

Posted by: Lauren Michele | June 30, 2010

Good News on Transit Funding and Sustainable Communities in LA

At the recent ULI forum in Los Angeles, Senator Barbara Boxer announced that US DOT would admit both Phase 1 and 2 of the “subway to the sea” into the preliminary engineering process and conduct simultaneous environmental review of both project phases, accelerating the project into the federal New Starts program and improving its chances of approval for federal funding.

Boxer also announced Congress would be including a strategy to fund LA’s “30-10” transit initiative in the upcoming reauthorization of the federal transportation bill. The 30-10 initiative proposes to build all 12 rail and bus rapid transit projects funded by the 30-year Measure R spending plan and to do it all in the first 10 years of the program. There are a number of loan and bond programs that allow the federal government to fund single transportation projects, but this is the first example of funding an entire program of transit projects.

Observers at the forum were presented additional evidence that the region could achieve an ambitious Sustainable Communities Strategy.  In addition to the positive transit messaging from Washington, the findings of a recent ULI study identified a long list of economic benefits that California’s SB 375 climate law could deliver through its requirements that the region strive toward a more compact and sustainable urban form.  Attendees, primarily developers and real estate investors, also shared perspectives on a future emphasizing rail and non-motorized transportation, and infill and mixed-use development, TOD, and complete streets programs.


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