Planning and Development Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6465

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING SMART GROWTH AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING.

Vote Date:

3/20/2009

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/2/2009

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Representative Brendan Sharkey, 88th District; Planning & Development Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To incorporate smart growth principles into transportation planning by requiring the transportation strategy board to (1) adopt a capitol plan for transportation investment that incorporates smart growth, and (2) comment on proposed capital bonding requests for transportation for conformance with their capital plan.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State of Connecticut:

I would like to commend the Smart Growth Working Group for its efforts to develop a comprehensive policy proposal in this area.

David LeVasseur, Undersecretary, Office of Policy and Management:

This bill provides a mechanism for municipalities to promoter regional economic development and share revenue voluntarily. We are concerned that with the current economic climate municipalities may not avail themselves as they struggle to maintain their revenue streams. We ask the committee consider postponing the effective date of various sections of this bill until the current economic crisis is resolved. We're also concerned that not all regions of the state are located in federal economic development districts and that Regional Planning Organizations do not all have the same level of involvement in creating the boundaries of or participating in these districts. Finally we ask that the same powers conferred on councils of elected officials under section 5 of the bill be extended also to regional planning agencies and regional councils of government.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

City of Stamford

We believe bill 6465 offers a greater assurance that our funding priorities for the overpass projects over the coming years will receive the Departments' full attention. In the longer term we see an opportunity to use the Atlantic Street overpass as a corridor for a new light rail system tying together the South End, Downtown and Bull's Head retail area- and promoting an even wider sphere for Smart Growth development along Bedford and Summer streets as well as the terminal points.

Ron Thomas, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities:

This proposal helps ensure that transportation oriented matters that impact smart growth are given the proper analysis and focus.

Heidi Green, President, 1000 Friends of Connecticut

Bill 6465 is good, though the Transportation Strategy Board currently prepares a list of transportation projects, that list is not screened for compliance with smart growth principles, listed projects are unranked and the specific resources, status and timeline of projects is not detailed. Now, more than ever, we need transparency to be sure our limited resources advance immediate goals and long-range outcomes.

Martin Mador, Legislative and Political Chair, Sierra Club

Sierra Club endorses bill 6465.

Mark N. Paquette, Executive Director, Windham Region Council of Governments

We are writing in support of HB 6465.

T.J. Zappula, Connecticut Association of Realtors®

Realtors support bill 6465 which integrates smart growth principles into transportation planning. It makes sense for the Transportation Strategy Board to provide comment on the extent to which projects do or don't meet smart growth criteria before money is allocated by the State Bond Commission. For example, some projects might lend themselves better to what are known as Location Efficient Mortgages. FNMA has used these to promote mixed use, pedestrian friendly development that are sited close to rail lines and bus stations

Sara C. Bronin, Associate Professor, University of Connecticut School of Law

I support House Bills 6585 which adds language that make regionalism one of the state's priorities, could encourage our 169 municipalities to see themselves as part of a larger and more coherent framework. There are strong reasons for a state with the geographic, topographic, and urban-development characteristics that Connecticut has to consider regional and state initiatives in land use regulation.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Christopher S. Wood, Government Relations Chairman, Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association

CCAPA does not support this proposal based on the proposed definition of smart growth in HB 6467. CCAPA agrees that transportation planning should also consider and include growth management principles. However, the proposed smart growth definition may not be as effective as necessary in promoting smart planning for transportation and growth management generally. CCAPA supports the concept of ensuring that all State level planning, consistent with the overall State Plan and the statutory growth management principles.

Eric Brown, Associate Counsel, CBIA:

CBIA does not support this bill. This bill requires adoption of capitol plan by the Transportation Strategy Board (TSB). It also requires TSB to incorporate Smart Growth into its future plans, which introduces new criteria into the TSB's project evaluation and prioritization process.

Reported by: Dorian Lockett

Date: 04/02/09