The Strategic Growth Council today approved $121.9 million in funding for 28 projects that link affordable housing to clean transportation – simultaneously promoting clean air, addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis and improving mobility for residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods. This is a crucial example of how California’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions can also boost prosperity and growth in low- and moderate-income communities. The funds will go through the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program.
A detailed list of the projects funded – located in 19 counties in nine regions around California – can be found here. Three quarters of the funding goes to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, as defined by CalEnviroScreen 2.0. The projects will connect affordable housing and key destinations to transit – including bus, rail, and vanpool services as well bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure. AHSC funding will also fund 832 annual transit passes and other ridership-boosting programs. Altogether, the projects are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 723,286 metric tons, equal to taking over 140,000 cars off the road.
We hope that these investments will bring both shelter and mobility to some of California’s underserved communities. Investments in sustainable communities reduce pollution and improve quality of life by linking affordable housing to public transportation.
Funding for affordable housing near transit was a major priority for the CCA and the SB 535 Coalition, which includes Asian Pacific Environmental Network, The Greenlining Institute and Public Advocates. The SB 535 Coalition successfully advocated for passage of SB 535 (de León), which guarantees that at least one quarter of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund proceeds must go to projects benefiting underserved communities.
The state and local governments need to expand on these projects by consistently planning for and funding sustainable communities that help Californians get to their workplaces, schools and other destinations without driving long distances in single-occupant vehicles. We need to give people more transportation choices, including public transit and bike and pedestrian opportunities.