November 6, 2015

House Passes Transportation Bill, Includes HUD Multifamily Pay for Success Demonstration

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This week the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan six-year transportation bill by a vote of 363-64. The House and Senate will now enter conference negotiations to resolve differences between this bill and the version that passed Senate before the current authorization expires on November 20. Hundreds of amendments were filed to the $325 billion dollar legislation, with over 100 passing. One of the amendments, introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-5), includes language from the bipartisan Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015 (H.R. 2997) authorizing a HUD multifamily energy and water conservation “pay-for-success” demonstration. H.R. 2997 passed in the House in late July with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 395-28.

The pay-for-success demonstration would allow HUD to enter into contracts with outside entities, which would raise private capital from investors to make appropriate energy and water upgrades in HUD-assisted properties. The outside entity would be responsible for paying investors back through verified energy savings in these properties. In addition to generating energy and cost savings, these upgrades will improve the quality of life and health of residents. For more on the proposal and how it could impact communities, see our blog post.

Though the House advancing pay-for-success in its highway funding legislation is an important first step, it is not assured that this language will remain in the bill during conference. If it is not included in the final highway funding bill, it is also possible that the pay-for-success demonstration could be authorized in appropriations or rental assistance reform legislation.

Unfortunately, numerous amendments to the highway funding bill related to transit-oriented development (TOD) projects were struck down. Specifically, one defeated amendment would have made TOD projects eligible for federal funds under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation program. TOD - and affordable housing near transit in particular - can expand access to opportunity for low- and moderate-income households. Enterprise recently released the second installment in a three-part research series on equitable transit-oriented development. Promoting Opportunity through eTOD: Barriers to Success and Best Practices for Implementation focuses on barriers that prevent eTOD with examples from across the country.  For more information, visit the Promoting Opportunity through eTOD research initiative page.