House Passes Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act

March 6, 2007

Washington, DC - Tthe House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 644, the Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act. The bill will help to facilitate assistance by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the cleanup and economic redevelopment of brownfields. The Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act will become a powerful economic development tool when used in conjunction with other federal economic development resources, such as the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Section 108 Loan Guarantees.

“This bill is precisely the kind of leveraging tool that we must utilize to spur development in places where development costs are uncertain,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. “Any federal tool to leverage private investment must be preserved, particularly in this pay-as-you-go economic environment.”

“I am delighted that my colleagues lent their unanimous support to the Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act. Around our country, there are more than half a million brownfields sites waiting to be redeveloped. The passage of this bill is an important step toward ensuring that smaller communities are able to restore these sites to productive use. I commend Chairman Frank and the rest of this bill’s bipartisan cosponsors for their strong support and I hope the Senate will act quickly to help our towns and communities rehabilitate these sites,” said Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA), the original sponsor of the bill.

“This bill is for brownfields and not for Superfund and it should be used in this very strict way, so that it will not become a substitute for private contributions that ought to be coming,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA). “If we limit this to CDBG money for the brownfields situation we will be doing it right.”

About the Program:

The Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) grants enhance the security or improve the viability of a project financed with new Section 108 guaranteed loan authority. Section 108 is the loan guarantee provision of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Section 108 provides communities with a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities and large scale physical development projects. BEDI funds may be used for any eligible activities under the Section 108 Loan Guarantee program.

HUD intends BEDI and Section 108 funds to finance projects and activities that will provide near-term results and measurable economic benefits, such as job creation and increases in the local tax base. BEDI funds can support a wide variety of activities. The redevelopment focus for BEDI-assisted projects is prompted by the need to provide additional security for the Section 108 loan guarantee beyond the pledge of CDBG funds.

HUD encourages local communities to integrate projects proposed for assistance under HUD's BEDI and Section 108 program with other federal, state and local brownfields redevelopment efforts.

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