March 16, 2021

Cortez Masto Introduces Bill to Increase Housing Affordability and Improve Transportation Planning

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today introduced legislation to make more housing available and improve congestion by including housing considerations in transportation planning. The Better Planning and Land-Use for Accessible Neighborhoods (PLAN) Act would create more affordable housing and better integrate transportation between homes and jobs to make it easier to commute to and from work. This legislation would provide a more equitable transportation network.

“As Nevada recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, we need to make sure that our economy is growing in sustainable ways that allow Nevadans to thrive in their communities," said Senator Cortez Masto. "As I push for an infrastructure package, this bill will make sure housing and transportation are easier for residents  of the Silver State to access. I’ll continue working in the Senate to improve Nevada’s cities and make sure they are welcoming, affordable, accessible places to live.”

“The Better PLAN Act will encourage cities and regions to align their transit investments with housing and economic development initiatives,” said Mike Kingsella, Executive Director of Up for Growth Action. “It is a smart and sensible proposal that will spur home construction in the places in need of housing and the places best connected to transit and jobs. This legislation complements the President’s build back better agenda, as well as the steps Congress has already taken to put the country on the path to economic recovery. Senator Cortez Masto has shown leadership and vision through her introduction of the Better PLAN Act.”

“Low supply has driven housing prices in Southern Nevada to an all-time high in 2021 and many people have been priced out of homeownership or are unable to afford rent. The Better PLAN Act takes a common sense approach to long-range planning that will reduce barriers to housing, lower costs, and increase access to the market for Nevada’s working families. We applaud Senator Cortez Masto for introducing this important legislation,” said Nat Hodgson, CEO, Southern Nevada Home Builders Association.

Housing and transportation policy are inextricably linked. Yet federal transportation planners currently do not have to consider housing development, meaning that transportation policies do not have to take into account their impacts on housing.

The Better PLAN Act would create a new approach to housing and transportation planning modeled after the Congestion Management Process (CMP). The CMP is a planning process for metropolitan areas with population exceeding 200,000, known as Transportation Management Areas (TMAs). CMPs allow planning organizations to use evidence-based and collaborative approaches to reduce and manage congestion. The Better PLAN Act would mirror this approach by creating a Housing Coordination Process that encourages cities to integrate their housing, transportation, and economic development strategies. This process would help increase the housing supply, reduce housing costs, better connect housing to job opportunities, decrease congestion, and improve land use. 

The Better PLAN Act is endorsed by Up for Growth Action, Leading Builders of America, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the National Apartment Association, and the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association.