MBA Urges Support of Affordable Housing Provisions to House Infrastructure Bill

Ahead of a scheduled vote Wednesday on part of the Biden Administration’s multi-billion-dollar infrastructure bill, the Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging support for two provisions that support affordable housing incentives.

H.R. 7095, the INVEST in America Act, was introduced June 4 by Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. It addresses provisions related to federal-aid highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier, research, hazardous materials and rail programs of the Department of Transportation.

In the letter to DeFazio and Ranking Member Sam Graves, R-Mo., MBA Senior Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Bill Killmer urged support of two provisions in the bill, both related to affordable housing.

Section 2702: Property Disposition for Affordable Housing

MBA supports inclusion of language from the Promote Affordable Housing Near Transit Act, as introduced by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., which would make it possible for local and regional transit agencies to play a role in solving affordable housing issues.

“This provision would create a process for non-governmental entities with a satisfactory track record of developing affordable housing to receive a land transfer from a federal transit grant recipient at zero cost,” MBA said. “Beneficiaries of donated land must agree to set aside 40 percent of total units as affordable for 30 years to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of area median income.”

Killmer noted the Department of Transportation will provide oversight, ensuring that participants only build housing that meets program requirements on land donated under the program.

Section 2703: Affordable Housing Incentives in Capital Investment Grants

MBA supports inclusion of language from the Build More Housing Near Transit Act, a bipartisan bill with multiple sponsors, which would maximize federal investment in fixed-guideway transit by ensuring the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) takes a holistic and quantitative approach to evaluating the potential for affordable and market-rate housing development near transit alignments and station areas.

“By making some minor but essential enhancements to the evaluation criteria for the FTA’s Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grants Program (Section 5309 grants), this provision has the potential to positively impact the availability of housing in transit-served locations across the country,” MBA said. “While real estate and economic development potential is currently part of the Section 5309 grant evaluation process, each factor is considered individually rather than holistically. This proposal will ensure that projects ripe for affordable housing development are given additional scrutiny.”

The Committee’s markup session is slated to begin at 10:00 a.m. ET in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building and virtually. Online access to the session can be found here.