Taking a step forward: A better way to condition transportation funding on housing performance

This past Monday, Governor Newsom announced that climate pollution continues to drop–which is great news! However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission continues to rise from the transportation sector, primarily from passenger vehicles. Back in January, Governor Newsom released a bold proposition in his first budget: the state would withhold gas tax funds from regions who did not meet state housing goals. While the details were murky (as you can see in this excellent article from Streetsblog California), the idea was tantalizing to many sustainable transportation advocates.  Why? Because transportation and housing have a clear nexus: they help to determine the true “affordability” of a place, as shown by the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s H&T Affordability Index. Transportation is also one of the biggest drivers for sprawl development, which leads to longer commutes, poor air quality, lack of access to social services, and encroachment on agricultural lands and wildlife habitats.

However, legislators pushed back strongly on tying transportation funding and housing performance.  A compromise was reached for the budget: the state can fine communities that don’t plan for affordable housing construction. While ClimatePlan’s staff and partners understand and value compromise, California needs ambitious and thoughtful solutions to solve the deeply intertwined and complex problem of housing affordability, climate change, and transportation. Transportation cannot remain in a silo from housing and climate; to solve these issues we have to recognize (and act on) their inherent connections. 

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San Diego's Five Big Moves: TransNet's Road Ahead

Previously, we shared about the massive changes occurring in San Diego. Due to effective advocacy by coalitions like Quality of Life combined with strong investigative journalism by Voices of San Diego, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has new leadership that is helping the region plan smarter, promote equity, and invest in more sustainable transportation choices. However, there’s been pushback to this new effort. 

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San Diego's Five Big Moves: A Golden Opportunity

In the coming months, ClimatePlan will be spotlighting work led by our partner organizations in our five priority regions: Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, and San Diego. Regional partners will share their challenges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the inertia of car-centric infrastructure, environmental justice, conservation, and housing. Through shared stories, we believe our partners will connect and learn different strategies and tools to face the challenges in their communities. Our first regional blog focuses on San Diego, where advocates are facing challenges to shift spending away from highways and roads.

San Diego County is on the precipice of a transportation revolution. After spending years embroiled in controversy, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) seems to be ditching their perennial philosophy of endless freeway expansion for a holistic, green, and more equitable public transportation system that would set the bar high for California and beyond.

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Sustainable development and tenant protections go hand in hand

The status quo approach to housing and development in California doesn’t work. Housing is too expensive and commutes are too long; climate pollution is growing and natural landscapes are suffering. Instead of limiting growth to sprawl, we need new investment and focused development in infill areas. However, with investment comes change. Coupled with infill, we need nuanced policy that protects and directs benefits to the Californians already living and working in these communities. Families, students, seniors—all Californians and especially the most vulnerable—need be protected from displacement. No one should be forced out of their home by arbitrary evictions and egregious rent increases—especially if rising costs are an indirect result of new development incentivized by public policy. That’s why ClimatePlan is proud to support the Keep Families Home package, including AB 36 (Bloom), AB 1481 (Bonta), and AB 1482 (Chiu).

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Just released: ClimatePlan’s Commitment to Investment without Displacement

We are thrilled to release our newest platform: ClimatePlan’s Commitment to Investment without Displacement. A broad base of ClimatePlan partners worked together to develop a shared goal and set of nine principles to help ensure that investment benefits residents—especially renters, low-income people of color, and other vulnerable populations—and does not displace them.

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