COUNCIL BEATS BACK ANTI-BUSINESS ATTACKS ON REGIONAL HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
The Bay Area Council this week (Sept. 22, 2014) beat back an effort by anti-business groups to shape critical regional transportation and housing planning guidelines to fit their narrow agenda, and to use federal tax dollars to create a tool clearly aimed at scapegoating the tech industry for the Bay Area’s housing shortage. The Council on Wednesday (Sept. 24) testified at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) against proposed rules that would limit local control of transportation spending decisions by counties that fail to meet certain requirements put forth by a number of anti-business groups. The MTC voted unanimously against the move, agreeing that counties need flexibility in making decisions about local transportation investments.
The Council also succeeded in getting the MTC and Association of Bay Area Governments to rework a request for proposal (RFP) to create a “tool” for analyzing the impacts of job creation on housing availability and affordability. The initial proposal called for a tool that looked exclusively at the impact of tech sector jobs on housing. In a strongly worded letter signed by numerous business groups, the Council charged that the narrow scope of the tool would unfairly scapegoat and demonize the tech sector for the region’s long-term failure to create sufficient housing to meet growing demand. MTC and ABAG are now reworking the proposal to create a tool that looks more broadly at the how job growth overall impacts housing affordability and availability.
Both efforts come as preliminary work begins on the next version of Plan Bay Area, a sweeping regional blueprint for guiding housing and transportation decisions over the next several decades. There is much at stake for the business community. The Council is working to ensure that plan reflects the region’s economic needs. To engage in our regional planning work, contact Vice President Matt Regan.