Now that the ink on the California state budget is dry, the hard work of implementation – deciding how to select which projects and programs are funded with the billions of dollars of cap-and-trade proceeds – begins.
That work is starting this month with the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC). As this new program is formed, we need to ensure that the AHSC is designed to best invest in advancing our goals of climate protection, a sustainable economy, and strong healthy communities.
The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) – the state agency tasked with developing the guidelines for the AHSC – will be holding workshops around the state to gather input on the specific types of projects the AHSC will fund. Members of the public, organizations, and agencies are invited to Fresno (August 12), Oakland (August 14), and Los Angeles (August 15) to participate in this important conversation.
With billions of dollars of cap-and-trade proceeds committed to clean transportation and sustainable communities, the details of how programs like the AHSC will spend the money are incredibly important.
An effective AHSC program is critical for providing California’s communities with the affordable transportation and housing choices we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce congestion, prevent overreliance on automobiles, and save money.
The June budget agreement will allocate $130 million this year and 20% of all cap-and-trade proceeds in future years to AHSC. That’s a lot of money to invest in meeting the state’s need for transit-oriented development including affordable homes, increasing biking and walking, conservation of open space, and other solutions like transit passes for students, low-income households, and other key groups.
Projects that combine these investments with robust transit service have been shown to be a key ingredient for reducing greenhouse gases while also providing economic opportunity and benefits to low-income households and communities.
We are working with our allies in the Sustainable Communities for all Coalition to put forth recommendations to the SGC at these workshops. We want to see a strong AHSC that will:
- Prioritize funding projects that integrate public transportation, biking and walking, affordable homes near transit, and conservation to reduce GHGs, improve public health, and achieve other benefits;
- Invest heavily in low-income and disadvantaged communities;
- Avoid displacing existing residents, especially low-income households;
- Make our streets safe for biking and walking;
- Fund transit passes for students, low-income households, and other key groups; and,
- Conserve agricultural land and open space.
It is important we raise our voices collectively in favor of dedicating cap-and-trade resources to most effectively achieve our state’s goals: protecting our climate by investing in projects and programs that benefit our health and economy. Together, we can keep our climate program on target and accelerate the benefits to California’s families, economy, and environment.
Space is limited for these workshops, so please RSVP as soon as possible by clicking on the links below. Then, contact me so we can coordinate our efforts or to get more information.
- Fresno - August 12, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
- Oakland - August 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
- Los Angeles - August 15, 9:00-12:00 p.m.