Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. 4.2.3 Federal Agency Collaboration to Address City Priorities

08/25/2014

The SC2 approach promoted enhanced collaboration and communication among federal agencies in order to help agencies understand and efficiently address city priorities.

During the pilot, team members in a number of cities were successful in achieving cross-agency collaboration. One example is federal staff members working together to address specific, isolated problems, such as a streetcar expansion project that was hindered by the inability to blend funding from two federal agencies due to conflicting rules. Agencies also collaborated on broader, long-term activities that involved overlapping agency investments, such as the development of a technology cluster to promote economic development in another city. In each of these cases, the agencies involved were able to achieve more for the pilot cities by working in unison than would have been possible working alone.

When this collaboration occurred, team members were able to facilitate sizable progress toward city priorities. In one city, interagency collaborations significantly advanced the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. This occurred through the relocation of a bus rapid transit line as well as the location of a high-speed rail station to better align with the city’s plans for downtown revitalization. It was also driven by collaboration between EPA, DOT, including DOT-FHWA, SBA, DOE, GSA, and HUD, which helped to advance the city’s vision for the redevelopment of its current pedestrian mall in the heart of downtown.

In another city, interagency collaboration between HUD and DOT helped find a solution to a regulatory barrier that prevented the city from intermingling funding from the respective agencies’ for a single road project. This barrier created inefficiencies in the deployment of funds and limited the leveraging of the funds. With the help of the two agencies, the city was able to combine the funds and successfully advance the project. 22

Notably, three of the most successful collaborations were formed after the work plan was finalized and implementation already under way. These collaborations were formed when team members began communicating with one another on a regular basis and learned about the activities of other members. During these conversations, they began to see opportunities for collaboration. In another case, collaboration occurred when a state stakeholder reached out to the SC2 team and requested the assistance of several agencies. In a final case, a collaborative approach was adopted after a team member from one agency realized that a little-known funding mechanism that existed between two agencies could be adopted by a pilot city.


22  For additional details on these accomplishments as well as a more in-depth discussion of interagency collaboration, see the evaluation team’s Ad Hoc Brief, Interagency Partnerships and Local Partnerships.

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