This month the Senate passed a $1 trillion Infrastructure bill, which is now headed for the House. This paired-down version of the original infrastructure bill does not include funding for affordable housing, but does provide funding for other relevant infrastructure items including broadband access, transit, and electric grid modernization, amongst others.

Additional detail on bill provisions:

Section 1658: Comptroller General Report on High-Speed Internet Connectivity in Federally Assisted Housing

  • Commissions report within a year of passage that analyzes the level of broadband internet service in federally assisted housing
  • Calls for breakdown of data by state, county, and congressional district
  • Reports on the number and distribution of units capable and not capable of supporting broadband service deployment, as well as the cost and timeframe for retrofitting such units to achieve 100 percent broadband access
  • Includes a “lessons learned” section dealing with previous retrofitting actions, with the HUD pilot program “ConnectHome”, and calls for recommendations to achieve 100 percent access

Section 2701: Transit-Supportive Communities:

  • Establishes an Office of Transit-Supportive Communities to make grants and provide technical advice
  • Charged with coordinating transit and housing policies across the federal government
  • Grants aimed at states, local governments, and metropolitan planning organizations to improve economic development, ridership, and connectivity of various transit hubs
  • Grants that include an affordable housing component may comprise 90 percent of the total project cost, as opposed to 80 percent for other grants
  • Grants are awarded with priority to low-income areas that have little to no public transportation access

Section 2702: Property Disposition for Affordable Housing:

  • Allows for transfer of assets, given authorization from the Secretary of Transportation, to a local government authority, nonprofit, or other third party to create a transit-oriented development if:
    • The asset is necessary to the proposed project
    • The development with increase transit ridership
    • At least 40 percent of the units offered are affordable to tenants or owners with incomes below 60 percent of the area median income
    • The asset will remain in this use for at least 30 years after the asset is transferred
    • For third parties- the local government and/or nonprofit must be unable to receive the asset, the benefit of transferring to a third party is greater than that of liquidation, and the third party has a successful history of construction or operating affordable housing.

Section 2703: Affordable Housing Incentives in Capital Investment Grants:

  • Gives additional weight to the preservation or encouragement of affordable housing by up to 5 percentage points lower or higher in applications for capital investment grants
  • Requires either documentation of policies that allow multifamily/single room occupancy/accessory dwelling units, provision of local capital sources for such transit-oriented development, or other methods as determined by the Secretary of Transportation
  • Expands sources of funding to section 103 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5303) or section 201 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3141) if the funds are used to plan or develop affordable housing within ½ mile of the new station.