Tampa Bay, Orlando, Space Coast Strategize For Federal Housing Grants

Planning leaders from Florida's Super Region had an important decision to make on July 23, 2010, regarding their goals in light of the opportunities the impending high-speed rail system will bring to the area. All for one, or one for all?

The federal government's HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant deadline is approaching. If obtained, the grant gives funds to communities that connect housing to jobs with investments in local land use that reduce transportation costs for families, improve housing affordability, save energy and increase access to housing and employment opportunities.

With construction looming on a high-speed rail system that will zoom along the I-4 corridor, regional planners met to consider going after a piece of the pie. The question is, how to go about it? As a group, or separately?

At the meeting on July 23 planning decision makers from municipalities and counties from the Space Coast to Orlando and Tampa Bay decided to tackle the issue.

Because of the tight time crunch and soft partisan interests, the consortium decided to go forward with a separate but coordinated approach. Tampa Bay will turn in its own application, while East Florida will turn in one as well. However, the two will work together by including the goals they have in common in their separate applications. In doing so, the planners hope to project a unified region with a plethora of projects requiring funding over the next few years. The goal is that the federal government will end up providing funds for both applications, either for both during this year or separately over the next two years.

It was agreed that high-speed rail would be the common thread for both applications, with a map that points to both regions.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Shelley Lauten, My Region.org
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