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  • Writer's pictureMario Valadez

2023 State Legislative Priorities

A photo of the California Capitol Dome against a blue sky background

State policy shapes our local communities in big ways. That’s why TransForm, alongside our regional work, advocates at the state level to pass legislation that expands affordable housing and equitable, sustainable transportation. Below are the senate and assembly bills—and one constitutional amendment—TransForm currently supports in the 2023 legislative session. Subscribe to the TransForm Dispatch to stay up to date on our legislative advocacy.

Investing in Priority Communities

Low-income and BIPOC communities have poorer access to public transportation, bike lanes, sidewalks, and zero emission vehicle infrastructure, and less say in what gets built. TransForm understands the importance of community needs assessments in ensuring that historically disinvested communities have a say in infrastructure improvements. That’s why we strongly support AB 1525 (Bonta) as a tangible step to addressing past and current systemic harm to priority communities.

AB 1525 requires the State Transportation Authority to allocate at least 60% of eligible state and federal transportation funds toward projects that benefit disadvantaged communities. It also establishes a review process to evaluate how proposed projects meet community-identified needs. We are excited that our longtime allies at The Greenlining Institute are co-sponsoring this bill, and we look forward to working with them to ensure its passage.

Everyone Deserves a Safe, Reliable, and Dignified Transit Experience

If transit is to thrive, riders have to feel safe, but many do not. Gender-based and street harassment are ubiquitous, both locally and nationally. Despite safety awareness campaigns from local transit agencies, we need information and interventions to make public transportation a safe, dignified, and accessible option for everyone. Three bills would improve riders’ experiences, thereby helping to expand ridership.

SB 434 (Min) authorizes transit agencies to collect survey data in multiple languages to reach limited-English proficient riders impacted by street harassment, and requires agencies to publish the data on their websites.

AB364 (Bryan) requires the Department of Transportation to develop guidelines for documentation and to share data about street furniture (bus shelters, garbage cans, benches, public toilets, and the like). Currently, transit agencies and advocates don’t have the tools to assess these gaps and make improvements. We are proud to support our friends at Move LA, who are co-sponsoring this bill to create a more comfortable experience for all transit users.

AB 761 (Friedman) creates a Transit Transformation Task Force with the goal of developing policies to grow ridership and improve the transit experience for all riders. A report of their findings and recommendations would be available to the legislature committees by January 2025. This task force would create an unprecedented opportunity for TransForm to bring its vision for affordable world-class transit to the state level conversation.

Sharing Parking to Free Up Land

When existing parking is better managed, less parking is required overall, meaning communities can free up land for other uses such as bike lanes, parklets, wider sidewalks, and outdoor dining. Smarter parking management also drives down the cost of housing, because building parking is so expensive. There are many outdated laws requiring parking minimums in new development, thereby preventing communities from becoming more affordable and vibrant. We’re supporting two assembly bills to change that.

AB 894 (Friedman) allows shared parking spots to be counted toward parking requirements in new or existing developments. As new tools like Parkade emerge to better manage shared parking in residential and commercial buildings, this legislation has the potential to reduce the oversupply of parking.

AB 1317 (Carrillo) requires off-street parking spaces to be leased or sold separately from the price of housing, allowing tenants to purchase parking only if they need it. TransForm has long pushed cities to unbundle parking costs from housing costs—a strategy that lowers the cost of housing, reduces car dependence, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. The LA-based organization Streets For All is co-sponsoring this, and we are thrilled to see this idea gain traction statewide.

Procedural Bills with Long Term Impacts On Lots of Stuff We Care About

California needs more housing, and especially affordable homes. TransForm is supporting two proposals that could be game-changers for a 2024 regional housing ballot measure—a longtime priority for TransForm and Bay Area voters.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 1 (Aguiar-Curry, Berman, and Haney) lowers the voter threshold for housing and infrastructure measures from two-thirds to 55%. It’s hard to overstate the impact this could have on reaching our housing, transit, and climate goals. As it stands, measures need to pass with two-thirds of the vote in order for local governments to raise and spend tax money on public infrastructure, affordable homes, and permanent supportive housing. TransForm supports ACA 1, which will reduce barriers to building more homes and improving our transportation infrastructure.

AB 1319 (Wicks) empowers the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) to do what it was created to do: protect housing stability and promote affordability for millions of Bay Area residents. AB 1319 specifically updates the BAHFA statute to reflect the evolution of best practices for preventing homelessness and facilitates new models of financing in anticipation of a new regional affordable housing bond measure.

What Happens Now?

The bills will be amended in committee before being put to a vote. To become law, bills need to pass both in the senate and assembly and make their way to the governor’s desk by September 14. A lot can happen between now and then; TransForm will be advocating for the best outcome.


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