News at ABAG

Posted Friday, April 29, 2016

Bay Area Planning Directors Association
Spring Meeting

Housing Solutions in a Time of Crisis

May 13, 2016
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Preservation Park, Nile Hall
668 13th Street, Oakland

View Draft Agenda

The Bay Area housing market is in crisis. A booming regional economy and rapid population growth have led to exceptionally high rents, a severe lack of housing supply, displacement and extreme commutes.

Conference presenters will offer suggestions and solutions during this time of crisis. Speakers will focus on strategies and innovations in building urban development equitable to all. Panelists will brief us on current legislation and replicable best-practices, as well as relevant policy and political context.

Some of the most skilled affordable housing developers in the state will share experiences and opinions, highlight project successes and talk about how these projects come to fruition in a challenging market.

The meeting fee of $45 includes breakfast and lunch
Please register at
For questions, please call (510) 464-7900
3 CM Credits

Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Learn More about ABAG's Spring General Assembly
View Presentations and Video

More than 160 city, town and county elected officials and stakeholders from throughout the region attended the Association of Bay Area Governments' (ABAG) Spring General Assembly on Thursday, April 21st at the Oakland Museum. During this significant regional forum on "The Future of Regional Planning," attendees expressed their views on how to strengthen and improve regional planning through a greater integration of land use, housing, transportation and economic development work. Forum highlights included a presentation by Management Partners, merger study consultant on potential merger options for ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. In the afternoon, participants attended breakout sessions where they held candid discussions with other elected officials on shared interests such as affordable housing and economic development.

View materials presented at the General Assembly below:
ABAG General Assembly Presentation
Places of the Bay Area Presentation and Video (Flash Player Required)
Places of the Bay Area Presentation
Management Partners Presentation

For information on upcoming opportunities to participate in ABAG meetings and initiatives, see the ABAG calendar for regular updates.

Posted Thursday, April 14, 2016

Housing Action Agenda Approved on
March 17, 2016

The ABAG Executive Board unanimously approved the Housing Action Agenda on March 17, 2016. In the coming months, ABAG will develop a detailed work plan to identify actions locally, regionally and statewide to promote, preserve and fund affordable housing in the Bay Area.

The goal of the housing agenda is to make it easier to build new homes in the Bay Area, unlock and preserve affordability of existing homes, and provide jurisdictions with the tools they need to avoid displacement of residents. The Housing Action Agenda compiles a set of actions at the local, regional, and state levels that ABAG can take to tackle the region's chronic housing shortage. Some of the solutions discussed include seeking state-level reforms to various housing-related laws, creating a regional housing trust fund, and continuing ABAG's collaboration with stakeholders to make existing regulations work better for the region.

For more information, refer to agenda item eight at

Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ABAG Enters Regional Collaborative Services Agreement
Member Cities, Towns and Counties Invited to Participate

Many ABAG member cities, towns, and counties have opted into Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs to benefit their constituents and communities. PACE is rapidly growing in popularity with local governments as a means for local home and business owners to finance the upfront cost of energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy improvements to their properties and repay the funds via a special property tax assessment.

In an effort to help ensure consistent application of best practices considered to be critically important for local governments, ABAG has signed a Regional Collaborative Services Agreement (RCSA)with active PACE administrators in the Bay Area. The RCSA includes consumer protections and disclosures; local government risk mitigation and indemnification; co-marketing complementary energy efficiency programs; contractor and project quality assurance; and performance tracking, data, and reporting. ABAG members can sign an "ABAG Member Acknowledgement Form" for these terms to apply to PACE activities in their community.

View Regional Collaborative Services Agreement at
For more information, contact Jennifer Berg, ABAG's BayREN Program Manager, at

Currently over $1.5 billion in residential PACE has been financed in California, primarily in the single family home market. Typically local jurisdictions make residential PACE available to their property owners by passing an authorizing resolution to "opt in" to a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that has partnered with PACE providers. The JPA issues bonds and partners on legal and related matters with PACE Providers, private companies who have arranged capital to purchase the bonds, administer programs, vet and work with installation contractors, and service assessments in partnership with county tax collectors. This makes the proposition to local governments attractive since there is almost zero cost or effort required to participate.

However, since the PACE Provider's primary relationship is with the JPA, the local jurisdiction is also giving up control and oversight opportunities over PACE activities. The intent of the RCSA, as administered by ABAG, is to collaborate with PACE Providers on behalf of ABAG members to:

Executed by and between ABAG and PACE Providers active in the Bay Area, the RCSA now affords ABAG member jurisdictions who "sign on" an extra layer of protection for these best practices to apply to PACE activities in their communities. The providers that have "signed on" to the agreement are Western Riverside Council of Governments (HERO program), PACE Funding Group LLC in Los Gatos, Ygrene Energy Fund California LLC in Santa Rosa, CounterPointe Energy Solutions LLC (AllianceNRG Program) in Oakland, and Figtree in San Diego.

Posted Friday, April 8, 2016

BayREN's April Newsletter Features Home Energy Savings Programs and Regional Energy Code Compliance

View BayREN's April e-letter for the latest news on Single Family and Multifamily energy upgrade programs, Codes and Standards program events, Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) and more.

BayREN is a collaboration of the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area. Led by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. BayREN is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

BayREN's E-letter

Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning for the San Francisco Bay Area
Friday, April 8, 2016

The second hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning for the San Francisco Bay Area will be held on Friday, April 8, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the California State Building, Auditorium, 1515 Clay Street in Oakland. The hearing will include an update on the February and March Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) merger workshops. The Select Committee will also discuss housing throughout the region with an update on both state and local housing initiatives.

Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More than 90,000 People Added to Bay Area Region

The Bay Area region added 90,834 people between 2014 and 2015, according to recently released U.S. Census Bureau data. "The population has been growing because of an increase in the number of available jobs in the Bay Area over the past five to seven years, especially in technology and healthcare. Population has grown faster than the number of housing units, leading to what some have called a housing crisis," said Association of Bay Area Governments, Senior Regional Planner, Hing Wong.

During the past five years, there has been a net in-migration of people who are in their 20s and 30s. In contrast with the timeframe between 2000 and 2010, when there was a net out-migration due to the bust, as well as the housing crisis later in the decade.

Economists forecast that this current increase is not expected to continue over the next five years. The ABAG Housing Action Agenda and other strategies will be used to help balance the supply of housing.

Posted Friday, March 25, 2016

New Map Cards Unlock Commute Routes and Recreation Destinations
On The San Francisco Bay Trail

Discover 345 miles of walking and biking trails and explore the shoreline with updated Bay Trail Map Cards and a new Bay Trail Website ( Commute routes and recreation destinations for walkers and bicyclists are showcased on the San Francisco Bay Trail Project's revised map cards. The San Francisco Bay Trail Project is a non-profit organization administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Laura Thompson, San Francisco Bay Trail Project Manager, says, "The updated map cards are key to discovering recreation along the San Francisco Bay Trail, which spans 47 shoreline cities, nine counties, and 130 parks and wildlife preserves, reinforcing the connectivity between cities. The Bay Trail also serves as an alternative commute corridor connecting to public transit and employment centers." The new map cards were made possible through a State Coastal Conservancy grant.

The boxed set of 25 cards includes detailed maps, trail descriptions, and one large fold-out map featuring points of interest along the shoreline. Highlighting almost 15 miles of recently completed Bay Trail, the map cards are an update to those published in 2013. They now feature 2.5 miles along the Hamilton Wetlands in Novato, 1.7 miles on Carquinez Scenic Drive outside of Martinez, and 1.7 miles of trail on Inner Bair Island in Redwood City. The 3.8 mile Bay Trail on the East Span of the Bay Bridge* is also featured, along with hundreds of other trail segments. Easy-to-pack and easy-to-use, the San Francisco Bay Trail maps are now available for purchase at retailers and at for $14.95. Companion online and mobile phone applications are also available through the website.

New Bay Trail Website
Shoreline adventurers now have a new resource for trip planning and inspiration with the launch of an updated San Francisco Bay Trail website, The easy-to-navigate site is packed with recommended excursions for walking, bicycling, birding, picnicking, dog walking and learning in places of solitude or lively destinations. Events and points of interest along the Bay Trail are listed on the site. Funded in part by a grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, the new website tells the story of the Bay Trail through beautiful photographs and detailed maps to entice people to explore the shoreline on their own or as part of a group event. The new website aims to raise awareness about the San Francisco Bay Trail and the efforts to close the remaining gaps in what will someday be a 500-mile continuous shoreline trail.

When completed, the Bay Trail will encircle the entire San Francisco Bay, linking all nine Bay Area counties and 47 cities, and crossing seven toll bridges. The San Francisco Bay Trail Project provides funds and technical assistance for trail planning and construction to local jurisdictions, enlists public participation in trail-related activities, and publicizes the Bay Trail and its region-wide benefits as part of its mission to plan, promote, and advocate for implementation of the Bay Trail.

*Pathway completion to Yerba Buena Island is expected at the end of 2016. Check with Caltrans regarding intermittent pathway closures

Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Financing Innovation Spurs Energy Upgrades in Bay Area's Multifamily Buildings

Coordinated programs provide streamlined access to low-interest loans, rebates and no-cost consulting services for energy efficiency improvements

OAKLAND, Calif — March 18, 2016 — A new Bay Area program that helps private lenders provide low interest financing for energy efficiency improvements in multifamily buildings recently closed its first three loans and has $1 million available to fund additional projects in 2016.

The Bay Area Multifamily Capital Advance Program (BAMCAP) provides loan capital at 0% interest to participating lenders for up to 50% of the cost of energy efficiency projects in apartment buildings and other multifamily properties. The owner pays interest only on the remaining loan capital supplied by the lender. This structure lowers the property owner's cost of capital, providing an incentive to invest in energy efficiency.

Together, the first three multifamily properties to participate accessed $879,000 in BAMCAP capital and $1.3 million in private capital for energy upgrades. The three projects also received cash rebates of $750 per unit and no-cost consulting services through Energy Upgrade California's Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program.

The lenders for the three recently closed transactions were Popular Community Bank and California Community Reinvestment Corporation (CCRC). The funded projects include renter- and owner-occupied market rate and affordable housing.

"This transaction was quite creative and cutting edge," said Mark Rasmussen, CCRC Executive Vice President. "It marks one of the first examples of combining public and private capital to support multifamily housing energy efficiency projects in California. We hope that its success allows for similar projects to come to fruition in the future."

Property owners can access BAMCAP financing, rebates and consulting services through one coordinated application and quality assurance process. "When we learned that we could get a $750 credit per unit and a 0% interest loan on half the cost of our project we knew this was the time to upgrade!" said Paula Schnur, a participating Homeowners Association President. "At each step, the program helped us coordinate with the contractor and the bank. They provided us with no less than 10 different ways to achieve our energy consumption reduction goal. The online application process was effortless."

BAMCAP financing and the rebate program serve multifamily buildings with five or more attached dwelling units receiving PG&E gas or electric service in the San Francisco Bay Area. The programs encourage multifamily property owners to improve their real estate assets through energy upgrades such as new windows, added insulation, more efficient boilers, furnaces and water heating systems, water conservation devices, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting.

BAMCAP and the Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program are offered by the Bay Area Regional Energy Network and funded by energy utility ratepayer funding under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The BAMCAP financing partnerships were arranged by Energy Finance Solutions.

More information about the financing and rebate programs is available at

About the Bay Area Regional Energy Network
BayREN is a collaboration of public agencies representing all nine counties within the San Francisco Bay Area. BayREN draws on the experience and expertise of Bay Area local governments to design and implement effective energy savings programs.

Energy Finance Solutions
EFS provides financing program consultation, design, and delivery services in support of energy efficiency improvements. Through partnerships with utilities, contractors, and other agencies, EFS offers residential customers a simple, affordable way to finance energy efficiency improvements.

Posted Monday, March 14, 2016

Water Bill Savings Act SB 1233 (McGuire)

ABAG has identified an innovative way to help meet California's mandated drought response and greenhouse gas reduction goals with the Water Bill Savings Act, SB 1233 (McGuire). This bill was developed to facilitate large-scale adoption of water efficiency upgrades. Passage of the bill will help reduce water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and the cost of utility service, and incentivize water efficiency among residential customers. With the Water Bill Savings Act, local governments can respond to drought in a way that is regionally efficient, financially sustainable, and available to all municipal utilities, large and small.

This broad scale regional response to California's water supply issues works by allowing Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs) to pool services and fund voluntary efficiency projects on private property and enables municipal water utilities to offer their customers the tools and incentives to make efficiency upgrades with no up-front costs. Participating customers pay for the measure through a monthly surcharge affiliated with their water utility meter, with the assurance that bill savings will exceed the surcharge.

It is anticipated that these water efficiency efforts will be extremely impactful in our region with over seven million residents.

To view this Water Bill Savings Act, go to SB 1233 or call (510) 464-7986 for more information.

Posted Thursday, March 3, 2016

ABAG General Assembly April 21st
The ABAG General Assembly is to determine policy matters for the Association, including adoption of the annual general budget and summary work program. Other functions include reviews of major policy actions and recommendations of the Executive Board; establish annual membership fee for all members of the Association each year upon adoption of the annual budget; and reviews fundamental changes and adopts amendments to the Bylaws of the Association.

In 2016, the ABAG General Assembly will begin mid-morning and end early afternoon, with the business meeting at noon. It is essential that we have your participation in this General Assembly and business meeting. Register at

Posted Thursday, February 25, 2016

Successful Housing Forum - Sat, Feb 20th

ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), jointly sponsored "Calling the Bay Area Home: Tackling the Affordable Housing and Displacement Challenge," held on Saturday, February 20, 2016. More than 350 attended this free half-day event and participated in a timely and important dialogue among a diverse array of stakeholders on the role that Bay Area local governments and regional agencies — as well as the state and federal governments — can play in addressing skyrocketing housing costs and the accompanying displacement of long-time residents.

Held at the Oakland Marriott, the forum brought together Bay Area housing and transportation policymakers, city planners, community and business leaders, housing developers and advocates. More details about the event, along with a video record, will be posted shortly on the MTC website

Posted Monday, February 22, 2016

BayREN Codes and Standards Program Annual Report

The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is pleased to release the Codes and Standards Program 2015 Annual Report. The Codes and Standards Program is part of the BayREN portfolio of energy efficiency programs and is designed to help local building departments understand and comply with Title 24 of the CA Energy Code. Since 2013, the Codes and Standards Program has engaged with building departments and building professionals representing over 75 Bay Area jurisdictions. This report provides a detailed account of Codes and Standard activities in 2015.

To download the Codes and Standards 2015 Annual Report, please visit the BayREN website at

Contact the BayREN team at for information on how your jurisdiction can take part in BayREN Codes and Standards Program activities in 2016.

The BayREN Codes and Standards Program focuses on improving enforcement of Title 24, Part 6 of the California Code of Regulations, California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards). BayREN Codes and Standards is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

For more information, visit the BayREN website at

Posted Friday, February 12, 2016

Assembly Speaker Atkins Names Assemblymember Thurmond as Chair of the Select Committee on Bay Area Regional Planning

The first Select Committee Hearing will be held on Friday, February 19, 2016 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Elihu Harris State Building, 1515 Clay Street in the Auditorium. Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-15) has been named chair of the newly formed Select Committee on Regional Planning in the San Francisco Bay Area. The committee will address the planned merger of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Assemblymember Thurmond also intends for the select committee to address other regional issues, including the lack of affordable housing; environmental issues, such as sea-level rise; strengthening the local economy; and improving public transportation systems.

Assemblymember Thurmond, stated, "We must take a regional approach to many of the issues facing Bay Area residents. The entire Bay Area is experiencing a significant homeless epidemic and there are hospitals that are in grave danger of shutting their doors, as has already happened to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo. These facts tell me that if we don't take a regional approach to these issues, there is no way we can appropriately allocate resources to fix the problems."

Members of the select committee include:
Tony Thurmond (Chair)
Catharine Baker
Rob Bonta
Nora Campos
David Chiu
Bill Dodd
Richard Gordon
Marc Levine
Kevin Mullin
Bill Quirk
Philip Ting

A schedule of upcoming hearings will be announced shortly.

Posted Friday, February 12, 2016

View Video of ABAG and CSAC Legislative Workshop

More than 50 elected officials, legislators, and staff members attended the ABAG and CSAC Legislative Workshop on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

Speakers included:
Assemblymember Richard Gordon, Rules Committee, Chair
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins
Assemblymember Bill Dodd, Agriculture Committee, Chair
Lisa Bates, Deputy Director, State Department of Housing and Community Development
Assemblymember David Chiu, Housing and Community Development, Chair
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, Select Committee on Regional Planning, Chair
Senator Mike McGuire, Human Services Committee, Chair
Assemblymember Jim Frazier, Transportation Committee, Chair

Workshop speakers highlighted the critical need for housing and disaster resilience and emphasized their work on these important issues and the need to continue to work collaboratively. Speakers underscored that elected officials and legislators will continue to work toward meeting the needs for affordable housing in the region.

Assembly Speaker Atkins underscored the importance of advocacy. Assebmlymember Thurmond noted that he welcomed input from elected officials regarding the newly formed Select Committee on Regional Planning in which he is chair. To hear these and other Legislative Workshop speakers, click here

Posted Friday, January 22, 2016

San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habit Restoration Measure

On January 13, 2016, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority's Board unanimously voted to place a funding measure on the June 7, 2016 ballot in the nine-county Bay Area to generate funds to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority is a regional government agency charged with raising and allocating resources for the restoration, enhancement, protection, and enjoyment of wetlands and wildlife habitat in the San Francisco Bay and along its shoreline.

The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority authorized a parcel tax of $12 per year to raise approximately $25 million annually for twenty years with independent citizen oversight, audits, and all funds staying local. Through the parcel tax, revenue would be allocated to projects in each of the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties. Anticipated project types include ecosystem restoration, flood protection, and recreation enhancement designed to provide wetland habitat for wildlife and improve flood risk management. Grant funds would be allocated for projects to conduct restoration and enhancement of creek mouth habitats for birds, fish, and water quality, as well as flood protection in regionally significant watersheds.

The San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Program is designed to protect the San Francisco Bay for future generations by reducing trash, pollution and harmful toxins, improving water quality, restoring habitat for fish, birds and wildlife, protecting communities from floods, and increasing shoreline public access.

Taking action now will ensure that we have the resources to prevent urban runoff from polluting the Bay, preserve critical habitat for fish and wildlife, enhance public access to open spaces, and protect homes and infrastructure from flooding.

For more information visit the website at or contact the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority at

Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New San Francisco Bay Trail Website Unveiled

Shoreline adventurers now have a new resource for trip planning and inspiration with the recent launch of an updated San Francisco Bay Trail website, The easy-to-navigate site is packed with recommended excursions for walking, bicycling, birding, picnicking, dog walking and learning in places of solitude or lively destinations. Funded in part by a grant from the State Coastal Conservancy, the new website tells the story of the Bay Trail through beautiful photographs and detailed maps to entice people to explore the shoreline on their own or as part of a group event. With 343 miles of Bay Trail in place throughout all nine Bay Area counties, there is much to discover. The new website aims to raise awareness about the San Francisco Bay Trail and the efforts to close the remaining gaps in what will someday be a 500-mile continuous shoreline trail.

Posted Thursday, December 17, 2015

Embezzled FAN Funds to be Restored, Internal Investigation Report Released

Clarke J. Howatt, a former employee of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and former Secretary to ABAG's Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN) is pleading guilty to one count of federal wire fraud in connection with embezzling $3.9 million. FAN and ABAG have announced they have obtained restitution funds from Howatt to enable all the impacted accounts to be refunded, and are in the process of doing so.

In late January 2015, ABAG learned Howatt had stolen $1.3 million from a bank account holding proceeds of bonds issued by FAN to fund public improvements for the Rincon Hill development in San Francisco. FAN and ABAG immediately contacted the U. S. Attorney's office and the FBI to share resources and information. and took action to restore the entire $1.3 million taken from the Rincon Hill account.

Howatt cooperated fully in the investigation and criminal proceedings conducted by the U.S. Attorney and FBI. In addition to the $1.3 million Rincon Hill theft, Howatt admitted to embezzling approximately $2.6 million from bank accounts established in connection with bonds to fund public improvements for the Windemere Ranch development in Contra Costa County.

In March, FAN and ABAG retained the law firm of Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe (Orrick) to lead its investigative effort. Now that the federal investigation has concluded, FAN and ABAG are releasing a report prepared by Orrick on the results of their investigation (see link below).

Executive Director Ezra Rapport said,"The accounts embezzled by a former employee will be restored in full. ABAG wishes to thank the U. S. Attorney's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their prompt and thorough attention to this matter. We are committed to protecting and preserving public funds and we will be working to put into place remedial measures recommended by Orrick that will enhance our ability to detect and avert any future theft."

Full Press Release

ABAG FAN Investigation Report

ABAG FAN Internal Control Recommendation

Posted Monday, November 23, 2015

Getting Ready for El Niño: Briefing for Cities and Counties

Hosted by your local Council of Governments

A strong El Niño may bring us plenty of stormy weather this winter.
You've heard the forecasts: Godzilla. Record-breaking. Too big to fail. But there's no need to get scared — there are tools to make sure cities, counties, and their residents are prepared ahead of the storms.

The Association of Bay Area Governments, in collaboration with the California Office of Emergency Services, is convening panels to discuss resources, preparations by utilities, what the state can offer cities and counties, and the actions each city should be taking to weather El Niño.

Wednesday, December 16th from 2 to 4 pm at the Oakland Museum. This program is offered at no charge. Space is limited, so register soon.

Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ABAG Awarded Grants to Boost Region-wide Resilience to
Earthquakes, Fires, and Climate Change Impacts

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) was awarded $1.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) for 2016 and 2017 to boost region wide investment in resilience and recovery from earthquakes, fires, climate change impacts and related natural disasters. These funds will leverage 2015 grants from FEMA for $300,000, along with an $86,000 U.S. Geological Survey grant, and a $75,000 grant from the Sustainable Growth Council. "ABAG will have resources to help cities and counties improve housing resilience and work on the social and economic challenges associated with earthquakes, fires, and climate change impacts," says Ezra Rapport, ABAG Executive Director.

Key areas to be addressed through the grants include planning for safe sustainable housing, developing updated building codes, and supporting financial incentives for home-owners to retrofit. The focus of the Rockefeller grant is to ensure information exchange among the three cities that are part of Rockefeller's international 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative and to establish a linkage between the 100RC cities (San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley) and all Bay Area cities. Soft story building safety, energy assurance planning, and incentives for resilience policies are program focuses.

ABAG is developing a network of resilience policy with other Councils of Governments and the Governor's Office of Planning & Research and will guide the region on how to be more disaster resilient using the policies outlined in the Loma Prieta 25 report, ABAG's policy agenda developed in 2014. The goal is to equip cities and counties with built in disaster resilience mechanisms so that they are better prepared to recover and rebuild quickly after disasters. ABAG will develop a visual map of the regional resilience programs in the Bay Area to streamline research and technical support for cities involved in disaster and climate action plans.

A toolkit of technical and policy support is being developed to help cities and counties. Technical work involves identifying hazards and resilience strategies and retrofitting homes to make them more disaster resilient, and implementing improved public safety through the development of a regional lifelines council and regional resilience index.

A Drought Summit will be convened in 2016. Grants will enable the development of new special studies on drought and urban wildland fire and risk in the Bay Area. In the coming year, ABAG will be heavily involved in supporting sustainable and safe development tied in with the Sustainable Communities Strategy (Senate Bill 75).

Information on specific workshop and services for jurisdictions, as well as maps and tools for the public, will be available on the ABAG Resilience Program website at: For more information about the 100 Resilient Cities program, visit the website at:

Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2015

First Public Art Dedication on the San Francisco Bay Trail
at Mariner Park in Redwood City

A new art project on the San Francisco Bay Trail will launch on Sunday, October 25th at 3:00 p.m. at Mariner Park in Redwood City with an unveiling and dedication of a unique functional public art sculpture. The free event will include food, live music, and presentations by Redwood City Mayor Jeff Gee, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Director Chris Beth, art curator Lance Fung, and San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum. The installation of this artwork highlights a new partnership between the City of Redwood City, Fung Collaboratives, the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation, and the Association of Bay Area Governments' Bay Trail Project.

"Redwood City is dedicating the first of what we anticipate will be many exhibits along the Bay Trail as part of a new regional art initiative," says Laura Thompson, Bay Trail Project Manager. The Bay Trail Project is in the early stages of creating a regional public art program in partnership with shoreline cities called Migrations. Fung Collaboratives is the organization contracted to oversee and curate the ongoing Migration series. This program promotes art exhibits along the trail and creates unique experiences for trail and art enthusiasts along the Bay Area shoreline.

The community is invited to participate in the art celebration on October 25th. This event is hosted by Redwood City and the artwork is sponsored by the Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation. The unveiling of the artistic benches will take place Sunday, October 25th at three parks in Redwood City, with the celebration culminating at Mariner Park at 3:00 p.m.

"Redwood City is very pleased to be the first shoreline city to partner with the Association of Bay Area Governments' Bay Trail Project," said Jeff Gee, City of Redwood City mayor. "Public art in public spaces and along our trail system is a tremendous way to connect our community to the outdoors and to experience art at the same time."

The artistic benches that will be dedicated on October 25th were created during three "Harambee" (meaning 'all pull together' in Swahali) events by emerging artist Michael Koliner with help from community members of all ages taking part in a mud dance (stomping in mud) to make cob-adobe used for art benches. The three Harambee events this past weekend brought together over 250 residents and participants to help the artist at Andrews Spinas Park, Mariner Park, and Mezes Park.

October 25th Unveiling Event Details include:
Andrew Spinas Park (2nd Avenue & Bay Road) Unveiling at 9:00 a.m.
Mezes Park (Warren Avenue & Standish Street) Unveiling at 12:00 p.m.
*Mariner Park (Tiller Lane & Bridge Parkway) Unveiling and presentations from elected officials at 3:00 p.m.

Overview of Migrations
Migrations will create destination art experiences along existing sections of the Bay Trail that appeal to a broad audience, encouraging people to gather, connect and experience something new and inspiring along the shoreline, linked by over 340 miles of Bay Trail in all nine Bay Area Counties. Migrations has the potential to involve 47 shoreline cities, nine counties, local, regional, state and national parks, ports, marinas and other shoreline management agencies, reinforcing the connectivity between cities and promoting the trail as a unique destination for art enthusiasts. Cities will serve as hosts of the artwork and will work closely with ABAG and Fung Collaboratives to initiate and implement art exhibits.

Association of Bay Area Governments
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Redwood City
The City of Redwood City is a San Francisco Bay Area community located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the technology-rich region extending from the San Francisco shoreline to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Redwood City is the third largest city within the County of San Mateo, with over 84,000 residents. The city enjoys an average of 255 sunny days a year, which it boasts via the city slogan: "Climate Best by Government Test". Incorporated in 1867, Redwood City is home to the San Mateo County History Museum (located in the county's old courthouse) and the only active deep water port within the south bay of San Francisco. The city's vibrant downtown, quickly becoming known as the entertainment hub of the San Francisco Peninsula, offers residents, visitors, and businesses a unique retail, entertainment, and restaurant experience. For more information, visit the City of Redwood City's website at or follow @RedwoodCity on Twitter.

For more information visit,

Posted Friday, October 16, 2015

LA Passes Tough Seismic Retrofit Legislation - Bay Area Opportunities

The City of Los Angeles has unanimously approved the nation’s toughest seismic legislation, requiring that approximately 15,000 buildings, both concrete and wood framed, be retrofitted to handle violent shaking.

The challenge for Bay Area communities is to enact standards for existing and new buildings that ensure communities can quickly recover from earthquakes; to develop financing tools to pay for improving seismic safety; and to ensure coordinated improvements of essential infrastructure. Speedy recovery requires that vulnerable buildings and lifeline systems are upgraded so that homes remain livable and businesses are operational.

In 2014, the Loma Prieta 25th Anniversary Symposium (LP25) marked the launch of a three-year public policy program to improve state and local laws that address community safety and resilience. The LP25 Steering Committee developed the following policy recommendations, informed by the Northridge 20th Anniversary Symposium Summary Report, which was also developed in 2014.

The LP25 Symposium promoted a legislative program with these goals:
• Update building codes. Adopt building code standards to improve the seismic performance of new and existing buildings and ensure that building codes meet community performance expectations.
• Upgrade vulnerable apartments and condominiums. Enact statewide guidelines for the identification, evaluation, and retrofit of seismically unsafe apartment and condominium buildings.
• Develop financial incentives. Establish regional financial incentive programs for improving the seismic safety of apartments and condominium buildings.
• Convene lifeline providers and cities. Establish a State Lifelines Council and convene regional Lifeline Councils in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Southern California.

Seismic and policy experts defined these four actions as critical next steps to achieve in the near future that could launch widespread implementation throughout the Bay Area; however resilience-building is an ongoing activity that will require more effort beyond these near term actions.

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) serves as the public policy hub with its member cities, towns, and counties to implement these policy actions, and will work to incorporate these policies into other regional planning efforts. The ABAG Regional Planning Committee endorsed the LP25 policy measures in October 2014, and recommended their adoption by the ABAG Executive Board, which unanimously approved the policies in January 2015.

The LP25 Policy Action Report was recently posted to ABAG’s website and is available at

Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ABAG Releases Preliminary Update to 2013 Projections
Economy, Population, and Housing Projections for Discussion

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) proposed preliminary revised projections for the Plan Bay Area 2040 update. Population is projected to rise from 7.2 million in 2010 to 9.4 million in 2040, employment from 3.4 million in 2010 to 4.6 million in 2040, and households from 2.6 million in 2010 to 3.4 million in 2040. These levels are a slight increase from ABAG's previous forecast, released in 2013, ranging from a 1.5 percent increase in population over the Projections 2013 level, a 2.1 percent increase in employment projections and a 2.4 percent increase in household projections.

The preliminary projections also include a regional housing control total of 3.6 million housing units, which covers not only housing for the higher household count but additional units to mitigate an estimated increase in commute flow (requirement of a legal settlement with the Building Industry Association after Plan Bay Area 2013). Housing unit projections are 4.2 percent higher (147,001 more units, which includes the legally required 28,000 units to offset the projected in-commute numbers) than in Plan Bay Area 2013.

ABAG's projections are being updated as part of a minor update to Plan Bay Area. The projections update recognizes changing information on economic conditions and population growth in the region over the past five years and also applies new analytic tools. ABAG is releasing these preliminary projections to the ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) committees to provide opportunity for review, comment and discussion before the numbers are finalized for the Plan Bay Area 2040.

According to ABAG's Chief Economist, Cynthia Kroll, "This preliminary update is one of many futures possible for the Bay Area. Developed through various methodologies, what we are calling ABAG 2017p, reflects an economy that continues to grow, but not always at the rate experienced from 2010 to 2015. After the boom of the past five years (when recovery from a recession mixed with new industry expansion), the region's employment growth rate could slow compared to the nation for some period. Over the longer term, population and housing will also need to expand to enable the region to maintain a competitive edge."

What Do These Numbers Mean
Building on the completed State of the Region report released in March 2015, these modified projections frame the regional forecast for the 2017 update of Plan Bay Area. "We are seeking a 'realistic' set of numbers, meaning a projection that could reasonably occur given feasible relaxation of our most constraining limitations. At the same time, Plan Bay Area is aspirational and intentional, prescribing policies to help overcome barriers and allow housing, household, population and job growth," commented Kroll.

How Were the Preliminary Numbers Developed
ABAG used a suite of tools and in-house analytic models to develop a range of projections for employment, population and household growth. ABAG staff also worked with consultants John Pitkin of AFI and Dowell Myers of the University of Southern California on population analysis and with Stephen Levy of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy on the employment analysis. Selection of a preliminary projection from the range of projections relied on feedback from the ABAG's Technical Advisory Committee and consultation with senior and executive staff within the two regional agencies primarily responsible for Plan Bay Area 2040.

These preliminary numbers were presented to the ABAG-MTC Joint Administrative and Planning Committee on October 9, 2015. Committee members discussed the importance of understanding the details of the forecast around these changes, which impacts housing demand, as well the changes in job types available, which then influence income opportunities and the ability to pay for homes. Discussion also highlighted the link between housing supply and employment growth. Cynthia Kroll responded to questions by pointing out that if the housing forecast cannot be reached, employment growth could also be lower than estimated in these preliminary projections. Additional information about the preliminary numbers is available on ABAG's website, at

Plan Bay Area
Plan Bay Area is the region's long-range transportation and housing plan with the long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region's projected population, improve public health and maintain and improve the region's transportation infrastructure, and open space. Developed by ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and adopted in July 2013, the Plan is currently undergoing a minor revision. More information is available at

Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Study on Benefits of Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Development

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and Resources for Community Development (RCD) have released a new study of the role of affordable housing in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) areas. Over the past decade, TOD has become an important strategy for providing affordable housing while also promoting smart growth. Through a survey of affordable housing residents, Transit Oriented Development and Affordable Housing: A Survey of Residents in Five East Bay Properties examines whether living in TOD areas can combine broader goals of improving housing affordability and providing other social and economic equity advantages, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from travel.

RCD Executive Director, Dan Sawislak, commented on the study's value, stating, "With California's mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly through reduction of Vehicle Miles Travelled, what residents of multi-family housing have to say is an important addition to the discussion. Their experience shows the value of combining affordable multi-family housing with accessibility to transit and services as a strategy that impacts both housing affordability in California and greenhouse gas reduction."

The study was conducted over the course of six months, collecting responses from over 200 East Bay households at five affordable housing developments, two in TOD locations and three in less centralized places. Residents described how and when they use cars or public transit, where they go, how far they travel, and how they perceive the advantages of where they live. In addition, the study found that a combination of travel alternatives, locations near a denser population of employers, and property and community assistance services can improve employment options for affordable housing residents.

These implications point toward ways in which state and local policies can have an even greater impact in addressing both housing affordability and environmental sustainability. See the full study here.

The San Francisco Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Association of Bay Area Governments Finance Authority provided support for this study.

Association of Bay Area Governments
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Resources for Community Development
Founded in 1984, RCD has built over 2,200 units of housing and serves over 4,000 low- and very-low income individuals and families in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties. RCD's mission is to create and preserve affordable housing for those with the fewest options, to build community and enrich lives. For more information, visit

Posted Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Grants for Resilience Program Activities

ABAG's Resilience Program announces two new grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in support of mitigation planning to reduce the impacts of current and future natural hazards, and recovery planning to rebuild quickly after a disaster. As a national leader among Councils of Governments, ABAG's Resilience Program has secured six grants totaling $1,103,308 in the last three years, and the new grants from Rockefeller Foundation for $300,000 and from FEMA for $1,370,000.

The focus of the Rockefeller grant is to assure information exchange among the three cities that are part of Rockefeller's international 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative, and linkage between the 100RC cities (San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley) and the rest of the region. The FEMA grant provides resources to regionalize the effort. The 100RC initiative is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. ABAG Resilience Program will provide technical assistance in support of 100RC in the Bay Area from July 2015 and continuing through June 2017.

The scope of work funded by the two new grants includes analyzing and disseminating best practices; serving as a regional coordination hub; assisting with the development of resilience plans, initiatives, financing mechanisms, and innovative policies - all especially as related to residential soft story building safety, energy assurance planning, finance incentives for housing safety, and assessing regional lifeline system vulnerability. The two grants are complementary.

Creating a sustainable region requires mitigation planning to reduce the impacts of future earthquakes and other natural hazards, and recovery planning to rebuild quickly after the disaster. For more information about the 100 Resilient Cities program, visit the website and for more information about ABAG's Resilience Program visit the website at:

Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New microsite for the People, Places, and Prosperity Report

Designed to help readers to imagine what our diverse communities have in common: San Francisco Bay Area -- People, Places, and Prosperity will be released at the September’s Executive Board meeting. The microsite is available now at:

The people that live and work in the Bay Area-are connected by complex webs of housing markets, job locations and commute patterns, and environmental systems. The report provides a set of proposals for making our region a more resilient, equitable place with a diverse economy. It is the start of a discussion that will help shape regional actions to address our most pressing challenges. It will also help shape Plan Bay Area 2040-our region's second Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Please share your comments with us and share the report with your colleagues and community members. We value your input and look forward to ongoing collaboration to build a stronger Bay Area.

Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GO LOCAL Sonoma is a Big Win for Local Business, Residents, and Consumers

Sonoma County's GO LOCAL Cooperative is a network of local businesses, residents, and nonprofits that support local sustainable businesses. Through its innovative and exclusive rewards program, card holders earn bucks and receive rebates on everyday purchases, goods, and services from multiple local merchants and businesses in the North Bay. These significant changes strengthen economic power by supporting local, independently owned businesses, and promoting sustainable practices in the North Bay. Sonoma County's GO LOCAL Cooperative helps create local jobs, and reduce reliance on carbon-intensive imports, to build a resilient, thriving, local economy.

To learn more about Sonoma County's locally-owned businesses and services visit

Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Partnership to Advance Climate Action in the Bay Area
Association of Bay Area Governments Partners with CivicSpark

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) was selected as the Bay Area regional partner for CivicSpark, a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program administered by the Local Government Commission. "The initiative is a win-win designed to generate jobs for recent college graduates, and the recruits are trained to help local governments implement programs to save energy, with the overall goal of protecting the environment," said Ezra Rapport, ABAG's Executive Director.

"CivicSpark is creating a model of climate action in the State of California," said Wade Crawfoot, Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor to the Governor. In the upcoming service year, CivicSpark Members in the Bay Area will assist local jurisdictions in developing and implementing energy audits, climate action plans, and other local climate change initiatives, and provide technical assistance to advance bicycling in San Mateo County.

As the Bay Area Regional Partner, ABAG is helping CivicSpark provide critical regional context and resources and assisting in member and project recruitment efforts. Together ABAG and CivicSpark are working to support local government sustainability projects to help communities respond to climate change.

Bay Area cities, towns, and counties can learn more about enrolling in the CivicSpark's program at In collaboration with local government staff, the CivicSpark team will implement a needed climate-change project, while building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after the project is completed.

Now recruiting for the 2015-16 service year, the program provides recent college graduates with a unique opportunity to gain professional experience, build important skills, and create a meaningful and lasting impact by supporting local government climate initiatives. For more information, go to

In its first year, CivicSpark assisted 88 local government agencies in energy efficiency, solar procurement, urban forestry, sea level rise, climate action plan implementation, and related initiatives. To date, CivicSpark Members have provided over 40,000 hours of service to California's communities supporting a wide range of actions including eight climate or energy action plans; 17 climate action policies; 10 vulnerability assessments; eight greenhouse gas inventories; 12 community workshops, and energy benchmarking for four cities.

About Association of Bay Area Governments
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California. ABAG was created by local governments to meet their planning and research needs related to land use, environmental and water resource protection, disaster resilience, energy efficiency and hazardous waste mitigation, and to provide risk management, financial services and staff training to local counties, cities and towns.

About Local Government Commission
The Local Government Commission (LGC) is a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, and social equity by supporting local government policies and projects. The LGC is CivicSpark's overall program manager, providing statewide program infrastructure and overall member and local government support, coordinating training, and ensuring that performance goals are met.

Jennifer Berg
CivicSpark Bay Area Regional Partner
Association of Bay Area Governments

Kristen Wraith
CivicSpark Project Manager
Local Government Commission
916-448-1198 x309

Posted Monday, August 17, 2015

ABAG Can Assist Local Governments with Disaster Preparedness

The Association of Bay Area Governments, and its Resilience Program, are here to provide support to the cities, towns and counties of the San Francisco Bay Area with disaster preparedness. Fortunately, disaster recovery support was not needed this morning.

The 6:49 a.m. magnitude 4.0 earthquake, located near Piedmont, was a gentle reminder to the Bay Area that we do, indeed, live in earthquake country. The moderate to strong shaking felt by many in the East Bay and beyond was fortunately not strong enough to cause more than some localized annoyances, such as shifted art and fallen books. This is a wake up call to ensure that we are indeed prepared for larger earthquakes along the Hayward fault that we can expect in the future.

BART responded quickly and efficiently, and no damage has been reported so far. However this earthquake, coupled with the 4.0 earthquake near Fremont on July 21, remind us that the Hayward Fault is indeed an active fault. The USGS predicts that there is a 31% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake on the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system over the next 30 years. The Hayward Fault runs right below a large percentage of the Bay Area's population, regional infrastructure, and publically and privately owned buildings.

But there is much ABAG can do to assist local governments to be prepared for this or another major earthquake. Below are the top four actions you can consider taking today to make the region more resilient tomorrow.

  • Visit ABAG Resilience Program's website to see what ABAG has been working on and for hazards information.

  • Ensure that residents stay safe in their homes by retrofitting single-family homes, mobile homes, and multi-unit residential buildings. Check ABAG's website for examples and best practices.

  • Adopt a gas shut-off valve ordinance. Gas shut-off valves can prevent gas related fires after an earthquake.

  • Become eligible for pre-disaster mitigation grants and ensure full FEMA disaster reimbursement by updating your Local Hazard Mitigation Plan consistent with your Safety Element.

  • For more information on these actions, and other ways to build resilience in your jurisdiction, visit ABAG's Earthquake Portal, and sign up for the upcoming ABAG Mitigation Strategies workshop for your Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

    If you have any questions or you would like more information, contact ABAG's Planning and Research Director, Miriam Chion, at or (510) 464-7919, or Resilience Planner, Dana Brechwald, at or (510) 464-7920.

    Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    BayREN-PACE Website Now Live!

    The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has developed the Local Government PACE Portal, a "one-stop shop" for local governments interested in allowing property owners to take advantage of PACE financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements.

    Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), first piloted in the City of Berkeley in 2008 allow qualified property owners in a community to obtain affordable, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements, and repay it through their secured property tax bills. The PACE structure builds on decades of land-secured financing experience and provides security to project investors, enabling easy access to capital at competitive rates and longer payment periods than traditional loans.

    Administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs. Visit the new website at

    The new website includes comprehensive information about PACE (including a list of PACE providers in the nine Bay Area counties), outlines the steps necessary for making PACE available to local governments, and provides document templates to help staff prepare packets for presentation to local elected leaders.

    Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015

    ABAG Forum Announces Preliminary Findings in New Report on "Bay Area Services to Unaccompanied Immigrant Children"

    On Friday, July 24, 2015, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) hosted a forum in Oakland to discuss and present the preliminary findings of its first comprehensive report on "Bay Area Services to Unaccompanied Immigrant Children."

    69 different organizations ranging from small non-profits to large international organizations attended to discuss and gain a better understanding of how the region might better serve these children. The report indicates that the Bay Area region is home to model programs that provide for unaccompanied children's physical and mental needs, but greater coordination for the provision of protective services is still needed using our region's limited resources.

    To view the preliminary data presented at the forum,
    click here.

    Posted Thursday, July 2, 2015

    State Approves $47 Million in Affordable Housing Grants for 11 Bay Area Projects
    777 New Units of Low-Income Housing to Be Built

    Local transportation and planning officials are applauding yesterday's action by California's Strategic Growth Council to award over $47 million in state Cap-and-Trade funds to 11 affordable, transit-oriented housing and mixed-use projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area grants are part of a package of 28 Cap-and-Trade competitive grants with a total value of $122 million awarded by the Strategic Growth Council to 28 housing and transportation projects across California.

    The grants are the first to flow from the state's new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting compact infill development, encouraging transit usage and protecting agricultural land from sprawl, with a special emphasis on helping disadvantaged communities.

    Two Bay Area regional agencies, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), played a key role in vetting and supporting the Bay Area projects submitted to the Strategic Growth Council, which awarded the funds at a meeting in Sacramento. The 11 winning Bay Area projects were drawn from a list of 13 projects that had been endorsed by MTC and ABAG following a joint review by the two regional agencies.

    ABAG President Julie Pierce, who also sits on MTC and is a councilmember in the city of Clayton, pointed out that Bay Area projects were awarded nearly 40 percent of this first round of funding from the statewide Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. "I think it speaks highly of the professionalism and competitiveness of our local jurisdictions and the nonprofit corporations they rely on to build much of our region's affordable housing,"she said.

    The 11 Bay Area grants range from $1 million to $10 million, and together will help build 777 units of affordable housing - a lucky number that caught the attention of MTC Chair Dave Cortese, who is president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "This is a lucky day indeed for low-income Bay Area residents, including seniors, the homeless and families struggling to stay afloat in the region's super-charged housing market," he said.

    According to ABAG Deputy Executive Director Brad Paul, in many cases these new grants will provide a crucial last piece of funding and will accelerate the construction schedule for affordable housing projects already in the pipeline. He also noted that the projects are more than isolated pockets of high-density housing - collectively they will provide more than 34,000 square feet of retail space that will provide needed services for residents while helping to revitalize neighborhoods.

    In addition, all of the projects are located on an existing or planned major rail or bus route, and incorporate streetscape, sidewalk and/or transit improvements that are designed to create greater pedestrian and bike access to transit, Paul said. Such sustainability features were a requirement for the grants.

    The Bay Area's 11 shovel-ready affordable housing proposals receiving the Strategic Growth Council grants span nine cities (all are rental units except for the Fremont project):

    San Francisco - Two projects were awarded grants for affordable family housing:
  • Eddy & Taylor Family Housing (Tenderloin) - $10 million award, 103 units
  • Mission Bay South Block 6 East (Mission Bay) - $5 million award, 143 units

  • Oakland & East Bay Corridor - The six winning projects in this area were submitted by members of the East Bay Corridor Initiative, a coalition of 13 jurisdictions and ABAG working to foster compact development around BART stations and major bus corridors in the inner East Bay:

  • Miraflores Senior Housing (Richmond) - $5.1 million award, 80 units

  • El Cerrito Senior Mixed Use Apartments (El Cerrito) - $5.7 million award, 63 units

  • 3706 San Pablo Avenue (Emeryville) - $5.5 million award, 86 units

  • Civic Center 14 Transit-Oriented Development Apartments (Oakland) - $1.5 million, 40 units

  • Camino 23 (Oakland) - $3 million award, 32 units

  • Hayward Senior Apartments (Hayward) - $2.2 million award, 60 units

  • Fremont:
  • Central Commons Housing - $1 million award, 30 units of owner housing

  • San Jose:
  • 777 Park Avenue, a project sponsored by Housing Authority for the County of Santa Clara - $4 million award, 82 units

  • Walnut Creek:
  • Riviera Family Apartments - $4.3 million award, 58 units

  • In another plus for sustainable communities, 10 of the 11 projects funded in the Bay Area lie within one of the region's locally nominated Priority Development Areas (PDAs) - those areas where local officials wish to see additional future growth take place adjacent to public transit. The PDAs are a key feature of Plan Bay Area, a long-range plan that was adopted by MTC and ABAG in 2013.

    Two of the winning Bay Area projects - The Eddy and Taylor Family Housing in San Francisco and Hayward Senior Apartments - have also received a loan commitment from the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) revolving loan fund administered by MTC. The TOAH fund provides critical financing for the development of affordable housing and other vital community services near transit lines throughout the Bay Area. Even with the previous TOAH commitments, however, these two projects had funding shortfalls that prevented the start of construction. The first round of Cap-and-Trade funding will close that gap and allow these two projects to begin construction.

    The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program stems from California's Budget Act of 2014, which was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and appropriated $832 million in Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen communities and improve quality-of-life. By statute, 20 percent of the Cap-and Trade funding will flow to the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which could go from $122 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year to $400 million or more in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

    MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG is the land-use planning agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and also provides a variety of services to its member cities.
    The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a state body that brings together agencies and departments within Business, Consumer Services and Housing, Transportation, Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Food and Agriculture, and Environmental Protection, with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research to coordinate activities that support sustainable communities, strong economies, social equity and environmental stewardship.

    For more details on each project (city, developer, grant amount), see:

    See the Strategic Growth Council's release:

    Brad Paul, ABAG 510.464.7955
    Brenda Kahn, MTC 510.817.5773

    Posted Friday, June 12, 2015

    Link to Plan Bay Public Comments

    The public comments made as part of the recent Plan Bay Area workshops are available at Additional comments can be added to the on-going dialog at

    Posted Thursday, May 21, 2015

    State Senate Committee Issues Report on ABAG FAN

    The California State Senate Committee on Governance and Finance this week issued a report entitled Misappropriated Bond Proceeds at the Association of Bay Area Governments with reference to the embezzlement of proceeds from a municipal bond issued by the ABAG Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN). It provides a clear summary of how the embezzlement took place and illuminates the complex public policy challenges that this embezzlement presents to policymakers.

    Earlier this year, Governance and Finance Committee Chair, Senator Robert Hertzberg, announced plans to undertake this oversight report and the State Treasurer announced creation of a Special Task Force on Bond Accountability to identify best practices for managing bond proceeds and increasing transparency and oversight. This Senate oversight report lays a foundation for the Special Task Forces work.

    The report can be found on the State Senate website.

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