Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Gore Proposes Livability Agenda

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Gore Proposes Livability Agenda

Article excerpt

Vice President Al Gore last week announced a new "Livability Agenda," a new administration proposal aimed at efforts to revitalize cities, curtail sprawl, reduce commuting times, and improve the quality of downtowns and limit unplanned suburban growth.

According to Gore, more than 200 ballot initiatives were adopted in the 1998 elections to promote livable communities. The Livability Agenda also would include more funding for public transit, projects to reduce air pollution and traffic congest/on, and information sharing between local, state, and the federal governments.

Gore said that President Clinton would propose some $700 million over the next five years in new federal spending to leverage up to $10 billion in taxable municipal bonds, which he dubbed "Better America Bonds." Proceeds of the bonds issued by state, local, or tribal governments, after approval by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would be to preserve green space, create or restore urban parks, protect water quality, and clean up brownfields. Cities and towns would be permitted to issue the bonds for projects from restoring city parks to buying wetlands or farmland for preservations; to protecting water quality by reducing run-off pollution; or to cleaning up abandoned industrial sites--known as "brownfields"--for preservation or redevelopment.

The bonds would have 15-year maturities, be taxable, and be available to both institutional and individual investors. Anyone purchasing or holding a Better America Bond would be eligible for a federal tax credit instead of the tax-free interest normally available to a municipal bond holder. …

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