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  • Writer's pictureZack Deutsch-Gross

TransForm Advocates for Affordable Housing, Active Transportation in 2024 Budget




California’s budget negotiations are messy and complex. In years where revenue falls short, such as this year, the struggle to meet priority needs while balancing the budget is fierce. TransForm is working to reverse proposed cuts that would take funding from affordable housing and active transportation in the Bay Area.


California’s budget process


California’s fiscal year starts July 1, so the budget process happens during the first six months of the year. In January, the governor issues a draft budget. Over the next four months, the Senate and Assembly budget committees pore through it and suggest changes. Based on updated budget projections and conversations with the legislature, the governor then updates the budget in the May Revise. From May until the budget deadline in June, the legislature and the governor negotiate a budget that all parties can agree on.


Right now, the legislature’s budget committees are working out budget positions. This is a crucial time to advocate for budget items that will make a difference in the lives of Californians. That’s why TransForm is advocating to the budget committee chairs, asking them to restore funding for the Regional Early Action Program 2.0 (REAP 2.0), the Active Transportation Program (ATP), and other vital housing programs.


Taking away previously allocated funding


Not all funds allocated in a specific budget year are spent in that year. So, in order to close 2024-25 budget deficits, Governor Gavin Newsom’s January budget reached into 2021-22 appropriations for REAP 2.0. His proposed budget cuts that year’s allocation from $600 million to $300 million. The Bay Area alone stands to lose $51.4 million in funds that agencies were counting on.


Starting with REAP 1 in 2019, the program has identified high-impact housing and transit projects that will help communities meet GHG reduction targets. Projects include the preservation of existing housing stock, which is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to provide affordable housing. Funding for transit improvement pilots can help bring back riders and make transit an attractive commuting option for more people. And a significant portion of the funds are dedicated to equity-priority communities, giving underserved Californians better transportation options.


Cutting vital active transportation investments

The governor’s January budget also cut $200 million previously allocated to the ATP, which funds biking and walking infrastructure throughout California. The budget proposes taking the funds from a future ATP cycle to ensure that currently funded projects can move forward.

 

The only cuts to the transportation budget were from the ATP, which shows that our priorities are backward. We should be spending more on biking and walking and less on building highways. TransForm is advocating for a return of these funds.


No clawbacks of previously allocated funds


Taking back funds from prior budget years undermines efforts to turn around California’s housing affordability crisis. In addition to REAP and Active Transportation, TransForm is also calling for the governor to reverse proposed cuts to the Multifamily Housing Program, the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program, and the Foreclosure Intervention Housing Preservation Program, a suite of complementary housing programs that increase the state’s affordable housing supply, prevent displacement and homelessness, and combat climate change.TransForm will work hard to ensure those funds are restored in the May Revise and the final budget adopted in June.


Take action: Email your legislators




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