September 16, 2014

New TOD Planning Resources Now Available

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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has released a notice of funding availability (NOFA) for its Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning. This new program provides resources for potential recipients of the FTA Capital Investment Grant program (also known as New Starts/Small Starts) for new transit projects to plan for supportive development along the proposed transit corridor. Applications are due on November 3.

The availability of these funds is especially notable given recent changes to evaluation criteria for New Starts/Small Starts projects. In an effort to facilitate a more holistic review of proposed transit projects, in 2013 FTA revised its rating system to measure a wider range of outcomes, including the extent to which affordable housing is preserved or created within new station areas. This new framework is a crucial first step in preventing or mitigating additional cost burden and displacement of low- and moderate-income families as property values rise.

Applicants for New Starts/Small Starts funding are generally transportation entities (such as transit agencies) that generally do not directly have the dedicated resources for housing or land use authorities that are necessary for transit-oriented affordable housing development. Therefore, achieving the goal of advancing affordability near transit requires the formation of cross-sector partnerships where (in some jurisdictions) none may have previously existed. The TOD Pilot Planning Program is one resource available to potential project sponsors to help bridge the gap between the transportation and housing sectors. The program explicitly allows funds to be used to support planning that supports housing and affordability and addresses residential and commercial displacement.