Prepared Remarks of Secretary Shaun Donovan at a Press Conference for the Groundbreaking of Loudoun Station
Loudoun Station, Ashburn, Virginia
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Thank you, Chairman York, for that kind introduction and for your leadership.
Along with Lt. Governor Bolling, Secretary Connaughton, and Comstock Partners, you have forged the kind of public-private alliance that HUD is proud to support.
These partnerships are essential as we work to connect every American family to the housing and opportunity they need to win the future.
That’s why it’s great to be here in Ashburn to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Residences at Loudoun Station.
We’re celebrating a development will provide homes for over 350 of Virginia’s families, as well as 200 good construction jobs for local residents.
But the work being done here at Loudoun Station, and the remarkable Silver Line Metrorail project it is connected to, is doing even more than that -- it is helping improve the community those families and workers live in.
For example, any Northern Virginian who has spent hours stuck on the highway before and after work is all too familiar with the fact that this region has some of the longest commutes in the nation.
Indeed, according to the U.S. Census, the DC metropolitan area ranks in the top five nationwide in commuting times.
And for families already struggling to get by in the wake of the economic crisis, rising gas prices are an added burden. Indeed, as prices at the pump edge closer to--and in some cases over--$4 a gallon, these families deserve access to more transportation options.
By connecting housing with new jobs and affordable transportation, Loudoun Station and the Silver Line Metro will start to offer those options.
And I’m proud of HUD’s role in supporting this work, financing the development with a $70 million loan.
This kind of support helps communities like Loudoun County become engines of opportunity by investing in the housing, businesses, and transportation that will allow them to prosper.
Indeed, we know that the most successful developments include a range of not only incomes but also uses, both commercial and residential -- so that residents have access to the retail businesses and grocery stores that are staples of any thriving community, and so those businesses have a built-in customer base.
And with construction plans predicting 3 million square feet of mixed-use development coming to Loudoun Station--development that will create a remarkable 15,000 jobs--right now we are literally standing on a potential anchor for economic growth.
Indeed, Loudoun Station is an example of the Obama Administration’s conviction that planning and building our communities smarter is not just good for our families -- but represents a remarkable opportunity to harness the talent we will need to out-build and out-innovate our competitors around the globe.
And seizing that opportunity has never been more important.
Right now, our businesses can’t out-innovate their global competitors when their workers spend 52 cents of every dollar they earn on housing and transportation combined and moving products on our roads costs 5 times as much wasted fuel and time as it did 25 years ago.
That’s why HUD and the Department of Transportation are supporting local ideas for more housing and transportation choices, and more energy independence
Regions that plan this way have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment.
And by helping communities use existing financial resources more strategically, we can solve several problems--from housing costs to traffic congestion--with a single investment.
That’s not just fiscal responsibility -- it’s also smart government.
That’s why today’s groundbreaking is so important. Along with our partners from both state and local governments and the private sector, developments like Loudoun Station can help families spend less time driving and more time with their children.
They can ensure that more families live in safe, stable communities near good schools and jobs.
They can help more businesses have access to the capital and talent they need to grow and prosper.
They can reduce our deficit by helping communities do more with less.
And they can help us lay the foundation for the 21st century economy our country needs to compete.
That’s what President Obama means by “winning the future.” And that’s why I’m so very glad to join you all today.