What is the fundamental issue?
NAR supports investments in transportation, energy, water and communications systems. Updating and modernizing these systems will repair our crumbling roads, bridges and transit and water management systems, propel public and private efforts to make these systems environmentally sound, and close the digital divide by expanding broadband and internet access. This effort also provides an opportunity to ensure the benefits and jobs from infrastructure investments are shared and continue to enhance property values and increase community resilience.
Roads, bridges and other types of infrastructure are critical investments in every community. This type of infrastructure provides the basic fabric of economic competitiveness cities and states throughout America rely on; particularly roads that transfer goods and services across state lines. Additionally, traffic congestion and safety measures contribute to the quality of life residents have in their communities.
I am a real estate professional. What does this mean for my business?
Improvements to transportation and infrastructure systems enhance property values. Further constraints on funding for transportation projects of all types, particularly those that contribute to walkable, stable, and vibrant neighborhoods, may negatively affect property values and inhibit development.
The timely provision of safe, convenient and efficient transportation infrastructure enhances the quality of communities, supports property values, and mitigates the effects of traffic congestion that accompany growth. REALTORS® support improving mobility in communities so that all citizens have access to transportation means best suited to their needs. Changing travel patterns, shrinking petroleum supplies, and continuing technological innovation will challenge traditional means of transportation planning, construction and funding.
NAR’s General Transportation and Infrastructure Principles:
- Infrastructure priorities should be rooted in coordinated efforts between the region, state and local governments.
- Maintenance and/or improvements of existing infrastructure funding should take precedence over development of new infrastructure.
- Policies should incorporate market-based solutions for cost effectiveness.
- Environmental stewardship should be balanced with economic development.
- An expedited permitting process to reduce redundant regulations should be prioritized without compromising the environment.
- Communities should incorporate mitigation efforts to prepare for natural disasters (flooding, sea level rise, wildfires, etc.).
- Maintaining housing affordability should be considered for all infrastructure projects.
NAR believes more needs to be done to level the playing field with respect to funding highways versus transit and other modes. Transportation plans should reflect a broad community vision, considering the needs of all transportation users, and should emphasize repair and maintenance over development of new capacity. In addition, NAR supports a modest increase in the federal motor fuel tax and annual adjustments for inflation.
In December 2015, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) was signed into law as a multi-year package for transportation planning. The FAST Act was viewed as a victory for two reasons: (i) guarantee fees or g-fees collected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not used as a pay-for of transportation and (ii) federal Complete Street standards were established, something that has never been done before. The FAST Act remains in effect until Sept. 2021.
While there have been several efforts to develop and pass a comprehensive, multi-year transportation reform package in 2019 and 2020, they have come up short.
While the FAST Act was reauthorized at current levels through Sept. 30, 2021, NAR will continue to urge Congress to fund transportation and infrastructure programs that meet the needs of the community, spur economic grown, and foster resilience and sustainability in a community.