Oakland, CA – The regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved an innovative approach to link housing to transportation funding on Wednesday.
“Housing and traffic congestion are inextricably linked and best addressed at the regional level,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I appreciate my fellow MTC Commissioners for supporting my push to link transportation funding with housing production, preservation and protection. We must act urgently and aggressively to address the Bay Area’s affordable housing and displacement crisis.”
The most immediate impact on housing production will come from the addition of $46 million to the “race to the top” housing challenge. The funding will be divided among the 15 cities that produce the most housing between 2015 and 2020. This innovative reward program is also known as “80K by 2020” based on its goal of approximately 80,000 housing units that are affordable to low and moderate income residents (35,000 very low, 22,000 low and 25,000 moderate.) In another new twist, existing units that are brought under affordable housing regulations will also be counted.
The successful motion was negotiated by Commissioner (and BART Board member) Nick Josefowitz and MTC’s most senior Commissioner Jim Spering (and Solano County Supervisor), and included key amendments by Commissioner Libby Schaaf (Mayor of Oakland.)
Following the vote, Commissioner Spering recognized Mayor Schaaf’s consistent push for greater action on the region’s housing crisis, saying, “she has forced us to start taking the issue of housing seriously, and this issue is way overdue.” Members of the Six Wins for Social Equity Network, a coalition of housing, environmental, and renter protection advocates, also expressed their gratitude for
Mayor Schaaf’s amendments, which stressed the importance of housing preservation and protection along with the production of new housing.
Speakers at the meeting included Mashael Majid of Urban Habitat, Lynsey Gaudioso of Public Advocates, and Pedro Galvao of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, who said, “We support this excellent compromise language, and are grateful to Mayor Schaaf for including the “3P”s of housing production, preservation and protection.”
MTC also agreed to track local jurisdictions’ compliance with state housing laws, including the streamlining of Accessory Dwelling Units (otherwise known as “granny” or “in-law units”), and to evaluate all the funding they manage for ways to best support solutions to the region’s housing crisis. Any conditions on future funding will involve the Bay Area’s nine counties and will be presented to the public.
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