Dim Assessment of Regional Housing, Transportation Plan

Plan Bay Area – the region’s long-range housing and transportation blueprint — isn’t likely to do much to improve housing affordability or ease traffic over the next 24 years. That was the discouraging takeaway Thursday (Oct. 20) when the Bay Area Council’s Transportation Committee got a briefing on the Plan, which currently is being updated.

Although the Plan assumes that we’ll build sufficient housing to accommodate future population and job growth, it fails to address the massive supply gap that currently exists and which is at the heart of the region’s housing affordability crisis. Committee members also highlighted that, because of a laundry list of political, regulatory, economic, and fiscal barriers to building infill housing, actual production will never even come close to Plan targets. The news isn’t much better on the transportation front. The Plan allocates 91 percent of future funding for operating and maintaining the existing system, but offers just crumbs for investing to expand capacity to serve growing population and employment.

The discussion emphasized the importance of the Council’s continuing work to develop a bigger, bolder vision for a regional transportation system that comes with new funding. It also highlighted the Council’s work to expand commuter rail to serve a growing megaregion as high housing costs push workers to the Central Valley and Sacramento and remove obstacles at the state level to new housing. To engage in the Council’s transportation work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham. For housing, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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