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Governor’s Budget Important First Step in Funding Sustainable Communities

Sacramento – Leaders of the Sustainable Communities for All Coalition offered praise for the Governor’s efforts to invest $850 million of cap-and-trade auction proceeds in a wide range of strategies that offer tangible benefits to Californians. In particular, his proposal is a welcome recognition of the greenhouse gas benefits of affordable transitoriented development, transit ridership, urban forests, land conservation, and energy efficiency.

Coalition leaders were pleased that the funds will be prioritized for disadvantaged communities and to promote integrated strategies to reduce emissions. “We will work with the Strategic Growth Council and others to develop guidelines to ensure this funding will not only achieve GHG reductions but also bring multiple benefits to our regions and disadvantaged communities,” said Richard Marcantonio, managing attorney with Public Advocates Inc.

“Investments in robust public transit, biking and walking, green space, and energy efficient affordable homes in our communities are critical to meeting our climate goals, creating jobs, and saving working families money,” said Julie Snyder, Policy Director at Housing California. “We’re pleased to see that the Governor’s initial proposal includes some investment in affordable, sustainable transit-oriented communities, but more can and should be done.”

Stuart Cohen, Executive Director at TransForm expressed, “Substantial investments in sustainable communities now will lead to long-term greenhouse gas reductions and provide economic opportunity for all Californians. $100 million is a start but more is needed to achieve our climate goals and spur economic development.”

The coalition believes there are opportunities to bring positive change through the legislative budget process, and are looking forward to starting that work immediately.

“Not funding expanded transit operations is a missed opportunity for the state to support regional efforts,” said Denny Zane, Executive Director of Move LA. “Investments in expanding transit service – especially in low-income communities – and providing discounted transit passes to students are cost-effective ways to reliably reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution, and provide critical access to employment and educational opportunities, and grow the economy.”

Megan Kirkeby, Sustainable Housing Policy Manager at California Housing Partnership added, “We would prefer to see HCD’s existing TOD Housing program used as the direct tool for housing investment to avoid delay or unnecessary re-crafting of a successful integrated program with the explicit goals of increasing public transit ridership and promoting GHG reductions.”

She concluded, “We look forward to working with the administration and legislature in the weeks ahead to ensure that the Sustainable Communities program taps into existing, effective programs that will benefit all Californians.”

The Sustainable Communities for All Coalition is comprised of more than 60 organizations from the environment, housing, and transportation sectors who believe California can achieve the vision of SB 375 equitably by providing transportation and housing choices that allow all Californians to drive less and reduce household costs, especially for low-income households.