Senator Honored for His Planning Leadership

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) was presented with his APA 2011 Legislator of the Year award on September 20 at the 2011 Planners' Day on Capitol Hill event in Washington, D.C.

Menendez was honored for his vision and leadership on issues critical to planners and his efforts to ensure that the nation's transportation, housing, and environmental agencies work together to create better communities. He has dedicated his career to promoting transit and rail investment, advancing green buildings, and championing location efficiency.

Sen. Robert Menendez receives award from Paul Farmer"If this economic crisis is teaching us anything, it is to live within our means and to invest now for future prosperity," Menendez said in his acceptance remarks. "And good planning presents an opportunity for communities to prosper."

He reiterated the message that APA advocates took to their legislators during Planner's Day on the Hill: sustainable, smart planning makes economic sense.

"The fact is the private sector wants to be located in communities that have dependable transportation systems to get their goods to market and their workers to their jobs," Menendez said, adding that "good planning means saving $122 billion on water, sewer, and roads over the next 25 years."

Menendez also commented on legislation to authorize the Partnership for Sustainable Communities at HUD, DOT, and EPA, which he introduced later in the week.

"The Livable Communities Act of 2011 emphasizes the critical role of communities in establishing their own locally defined vision for the future and then charting a realistic, actionable course for getting there," he said.

Previously introduced by Sen. Christopher Dodd in 2009, the Livable Communities Act of 2011 (S. 1621) would support the continuation of the Regional Planning and Community Challenge grant programs as well as establish a loan program to support communities seeking to attract private investment for transit-oriented development.

Click here for the full text of the Sen. Menendez's remarks.

Image: Sen. Robert Menendez (left) receives his Legislator of the Year Award from APA CEO Paul Farmer, FAICP. Photo by Dennis Johnson.