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Public transportation, home ownership go hand in hand

Program helps Portland residents purchase homes near mass transit

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Residents of Portland, Ore., now have financial incentives to purchase a home near public transportation, thanks to an initiative between mass transit providers, housing groups, mortgage lenders and Fannie Mae. The Portland Regional Smart Commute Initiative, introduced by U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), recognizes that homeowners who spend less on commuting expenses can put the potential savings toward the purchase of a home. If eligible home buyers choose a home within a half mile of a light rail station, or within a quarter mile of a commuter bus stop, participating lenders will add a portion of their potential transportation savings to their qualifying income. "Smart Commute is the perfect example of how innovative public-private partnerships can help to create livable communities," said Rep. Blumenauer. "By providing incentives for people to purchase homes served by transit, this program will increase families' personal wealth and decrease their transportation costs ...