NACo rep testifies in favor of Livable Communities Act
The Livable Communities Act (LCA), which would establish comprehensive planning and sustainability challenge grant programs for local governments, is something counties have needed for a long time, Carroll County, Md., Commission President Julia Gouge told a Congressional committee on behalf of the Washington-based National Association of Counties (NACo). Gouge testified on June 9 before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Local Perspectives on LCA.
LCA also would establish the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and the Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities, among other things. “Rural, suburban and urban counties have been pursuing local strategies to create livable communities and implement sustainable development for decades,” Gouge said in her testimony, adding that NACo passed a resolution last year supporting LCA.
“Planning for sustainable communities is by its nature a regional effort. Counties are unique in that they are at their core a regional form of government, especially in rural America,” Gouge says. “However, many counties, especially rural and mid-size counties would like to begin sustainable planning and development but lack the resources to do so. Many other counties have developed strong sustainability plans but need extra funding to implement [them]. Chairman Dodd’s legislation will be effective because it meets communities where they are – at the planning or implementation stage. Also, the grants are available to meet the needs of counties of all sizes, including rural ones.”