EDA AND HUD ASSISTANCE TO REDEVELOP BROWNFIELD SITES

WHEREAS, the Nation's Mayors have long since recognized the importance of redeveloping brownfield properties within their communities as a catalyst for economic development, job creation, and neighborhood improvement; and

WHEREAS, the Small Business Liability and Brownfields Redevelopment Act of 2001 that was signed into law provides monies to do cleanup and assessments of brownfields sites and liability relief for innocent developers and municipalities; and

WHEREAS, the Conference Mayors also recognizes the need for additional tools and programs to address other impediments facing brownfields revitalization such as funding for economic and community redevelopment; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration are the primary federal partners who are responsible for supporting community and economic development activities; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has created the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI), to assist in the development of brownfield properties through activities such as land acquisition, site preparation, and economic development; and

WHEREAS, the BEDI program requires local governments to use their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies as partial collateral for a loan guarantee under the section 108 loan program, thereby causing a barrier for many communities to not fully utilize the BEDI program; and

WHEREAS, while the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration has strategically targeted brownfield redevelopment projects in the past through utilization of existing programs, there is no specific program targeted for brownfield activities; and

WHEREAS, since the Department of Commerce does not have a specific program targeting brownfields redevelopment, all future funding of brownfield redevelopment projects are subject to the priorities established by Secretary of Commerce and Congress; and

WHEREAS, the Conference of Mayors believes that establishment of a brownfields economic development program at the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development would greatly support local government efforts to revitalize brownfield properties; and

WHEREAS, Congress is currently considering several bills that would seek to address the aforementioned issues,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors strongly encourages Congress to enact legislation that would establish at the Department of Housing and Urban Development a brownfields redevelopment grant that is not tied to the section 108 loan program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors strongly encourages Congress to enact legislation, such as S.1079 and H.R. 4894, the Brownfield Site Redevelopment Assistance Act of 2001, which would establish a $60 million brownfields redevelopment program at the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.