To help reduce barriers to developing locally led regional smart growth strategies, and to ensure continued economic competitiveness in the global economy, the President includes in his FY2001 budget funding for a new $25 million "Regional Connections" initiative within the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The continued outward expansion of our metropolitan areas has made it increasingly difficult for any single community to effectively address issues that know no local jurisdictional boundaries. These issues include concentrated poverty, housing affordability, transportation, environmental protection, education, and regional economic growth. Communities that cooperate with one another to tackle cross-jurisdictional issues can improve both their own futures and the future of their regions. Increasingly, regions have become the economic engines of our national economy and are critical to maintaining our competitive edge in the global marketplace.

Many communities have recognized the benefit of regional cooperation and are coming together to form creative partnerships, particularly around the issues of "smart growth."

The Vice President has called on Federal agencies to adapt their programs and work more closely with each other in support of regional cooperation for more livable communities. To assist locally led regional efforts and to complement the Administration's overall emphasis on promoting greater cross-agency collaboration, the President is proposing a $25 million HUD "Regional Connections" initiative. This initiative would:

This will be the first flexible source of funding provided by the Federal government to promote smarter metropolitan growth. Eligible activities will include planning, institution building, and part of the costs of implementing inter-jurisdictional projects. Applicants could include partnerships of neighboring local governments, sometimes in cooperation with their state government, or existing regional institutions (such as councils of government or metropolitan planning organizations) that are formally designated as applicants by eligible local governments. All applicants will be required to demonstrate active partnerships with a wide array of stakeholders, such as community-based organizations, business groups, universities, and other nonprofits. Regardless of who applies for Regional Connections, any jurisdiction targeted for activities under this program must approve the use of funds for those activities included in the application.

Click here to return to the Overview of the President's Livability Initiative.

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