News at ABAG
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 sonomacounty.golocal.coop.
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2015
New Partnership to Advance Climate Action in the Bay Area
Association of Bay Area Governments Partners with CivicSpark
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 www.civicspark.lgc.org. 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 www.civicspark.lgc.org.
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. www.abag.ca.gov
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. www.lgc.org
CivicSpark Bay Area Regional Partner
Association of Bay Area Governments
CivicSpark Project Manager
Local Government Commission
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.
http://resilience.abag.ca.gov/preparedness/natural-gas/ to see what ABAG has been working on and for hazards information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 464-7919, or Resilience Planner, Dana Brechwald, at email@example.com 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,
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
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:
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:
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:http://www.sgc.ca.gov/docs/Attachment_B_Summary_of_AHSC_Recommendations.pdf
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 http://planbayarea.org/your-part/your-comments.html. Additional comments can be added to the on-going dialog at http://planbayarea.org/misc/open-forum.html.
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.
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Best Practices Recognized at ABAG Spring 2015 General Assembly
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) presented the Ninth Annual Regional Growing Smarter Together Awards during its Spring 2015 General Assembly on Thursday, April 23, 2015 in Oakland. The awards honor counties, cities and towns and their innovative efforts in revitalization, planning, innovation and technology to create sustainable communities and to promote conservation and green community efforts. Julie Pierce, ABAG President and Clayton Councilmember proudly recognized the award honorees for their achievements to address a sustainable Bay Area through innovative leadership and collaboration which strengthened and provided support of existing communities by creating better connections through jobs, housing and transportation, Bay Area environmental protection, support of social equity and creating a stronger economy.
Award recipients were recognized and honored in the following categories:
To see the video of each award, visit http://www.abag.ca.gov/smarter/2015/smarter15.html
More than 125 attendees including Bay Area elected officials and civic leaders attended the Spring General Assembly to discuss Green Streets and Infrastructure Strategies: Sharing Best Practices Around Creating Complete Communities, Drought Protection, and Water Management.
Posted Friday, April 3, 2015
For local leaders and regulators, this report was designed to identify and share best practices and improve building code enforcement and building performance rates on a regional level. The report represents the collaborative efforts of the nine San Francisco Bay Area Counties and 15 Bay Area building departments to learn about energy code enforcement barriers and challenges, identify successful enforcement strategies, and gather data about the impact of discrepancies on building performance. The BayREN Codes and Standards program was designed to identify and share best practices and improve building code enforcement and building performance rates within the region. In 2013-2014, BayREN launched its Codes & Standards Permit Resource Opportunity Program (PROP), funded by public goods charges collected from energy utility customers. After conducting a survey of stakeholders, BayREN's energy code experts conducted a series of visits to fifteen Bay Area building departments to learn about energy code enforcement barriers and challenges, identify successful enforcement strategies, and gather data about the impact of discrepancies on building performance. This report examines the results of that effort.
The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayRen) releases Final Report and Energy Code Resource Guide for the 2014 Permit Resource Opportunity Program (PROP)
The PROP Final Report is available at www.bayren.org
Key findings of BayREN's 2014 PROP research include:
- Chief building officials (CBOs), who can use these findings, recommendations, guides, and resources to inform energy code enforcement at their local building departments.
- Local government policy leaders and state regulatory agency staff who influence energy code programs, policies, and resources across California.
Other report highlights include:
- 50% of reviewed projects performed worse than energy documentation predicted, even though many of these projects were compliant with code minimums.
- 84% of reviewed projects contained documentation errors or discrepancies at one or more stages of review.
- Recommendations for developing new ways energy information on plans and energy documentation can be referenced in the field.
- Resources and tools available to local governments seeking to improve energy code enforcement.
In addition to PROP findings and recommendations, this report describes resources available to
local governments seeking to improve energy code enforcement, including BayREN-developed
guides and tools. Finally, this report provides considerations for future programs that could be
developed regionally or statewide to target energy code compliance.
In 2015, BayREN will revisit building departments that participated in the 2014 PROP program.
Each jurisdiction will receive training tailored around their specific needs. The goal of these
visits is to encourage jurisdictions to reach beyond minimum code compliance and adopt a
strategy that promotes better-than-code building practices.
The BayREN team is happy to answer any questions you may have after reviewing this report and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, interested parties are invited to the April BayREN Forum, where highlights from this Final Report will be presented and discussed. For more information and to register for the April Forum, visit www.bayren.org/codes/april-forum2015
BayREN is a collaborative of the nine bay area counties working together to increase energy savings throughout the region with Codes and Standards, Residential, Multifamily and other similar programs. The BayREN Codes & 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 & Standards is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Posted Monday, March 2, 2015
Homeowners Access BayREN for Energy Efficiency Homes
2015 Promises More for Bay Area Homeowners
2015 Promises More for Bay Area Homeowners
Enrollment in the Bay Area Regional Energy Network's (BayREN) multifamily and single family programs has achieved significant ground in capitalizing on energy savings potential. BayREN provides cash rebates to both multifamily and single family homeowners who undertake energy efficient property improvements. While both programs have received great interest and participation, BayREN's multifamily program stands out as it has outperformed other multifamily energy upgrade programs in California by a factor of three to four.
As of December 2014, rebates totaling over $6.2 million were paid to multifamily property owners in the Bay Area, and $2.2 million was paid to or reserved for single family homeowners. These programs create meaningful impact across the region with job creation, economic stimulus, cost savings, and the advancement of environmental policy. Participating multifamily properties reduced their total energy use on average by 16 percent.
"The BAYREN programs are protecting California's energy and air resources, reducing property owners' energy bills, helping Bay Area governments meet their Greenhouse Gas reduction targets, and contributing to the growth of the green building industry which in turn creates jobs," said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine. Local businesses benefit from access to green job training and job creation, which stimulates the regional economy.
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. The BayREN program is one example of ABAG's leadership in delivering innovative programs for regional environmental sustainability. BayREN is a collaborative program with all nine Bay Area counties participating. Each county has a representative to respond to homeowners and help them access funds and program upgrades.
BayREN offers a Home Upgrade Advisor Service, which provides free one-on-one assistance to homeowners and contractors. Home Upgrade Advisors are Building Performance Institute certified energy efficiency professionals who can inform homeowners about their energy efficiency options, help select an appropriate participating contractor for the single family program, and navigate project installation and financing processes.
For more information, homeowners can contact a Home Upgrade Advisor by calling 866-878-6008 or by submitting a brief form to https://www.bayren.org/.
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the official regional planning agency for 100 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN) Votes to Restore Embezzled San Francisco Funds
The Executive Committee of the Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations (FAN) today voted unanimously to use approximately $1.3 million from FAN reserve funds to make San Francisco whole, in the wake of an apparent embezzlement of that amount by a senior manager at FAN. The money will be returned to the account from which it was stolen, restoring control of these funds to San Francisco and the South of Market Community Stabilization Committee. It is expected that legal documents effectuating the transfer of funds will be finalized by early next week. Click here for full press release
Posted Monday, December 8, 2014
Priority Development Area Showcase Launched -- New PDA Applications to be Accepted
An updated online resource, called the Priority Development Area (PDA) Showcase, launches today. The Showcase is an easy to use, interactive mapping tool, highlighting the Priority Development Areas throughout the Bay Area. ABAG Planning and Research staff have updated the PDA Showcase to provide interactive maps, key facts, implementation needs, and a description of the goals and vision for each PDA.
ABAG staff plan to edit and update site content with direction from local jurisdiction planners on a bi-monthly basis. Some updates and edits need to be verified internally before they are changed on the site. If you have comments or questions about content appearing on the site, please contact ABAG Regional Planner Christy Leffall: ChristyL@abag.ca.gov. ABAG staff are accepting applications for new PDAs, and for changes to existing PDAs until June 30, 2015. Click here for PDA Applications.
Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are locally nominated infill areas where there is local commitment to developing more housing along with amenities and services to meet the day-to-day needs of residents in a pedestrian-friendly environment served by transit. The growth envisioned through these PDAs is based in large part on local aspirations and community context. The PDAs reflect the diversity of the communities in the Bay Area.
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2014
San Francisco Estuary Partnership Awarded a $32 Million Drought Related Grant
Drought response efforts just got a major boost in the Bay Area. On November 12, 2014, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership was awarded a $32 million Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Grant (Proposition 84) from the California Department of Water Resources to address Bay Area drought relief, critical water supply, and water quality. The Estuary Partnership is providing grant management for projects to be completed by water districts and community organizations throughout the region.
"This important state investment of grant funds for Bay Area Projects will help address the impacts of the statewide drought and speed up the ability of Bay Area communities to prepare for extended drought conditions," says Judy Kelly, Director of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership.
The Estuary Partnership is one of 27 agencies statewide to be awarded the IRWM 2014 Drought Grant -- part of $200 million in state money resulting from Governor Jerry Brown's January Declaration of Drought State of Emergency. IRWM is a regional collaboration tasked to better integrate water resource management. The IRWMP process and projects cross jurisdictional, watershed, and political boundaries bringing together diverse agencies and groups to create solutions that provide multi-benefit solutions to our pressing water issues.
Types of projects being funded include emergency rehabilitation, drought preparedness and relief, water recycling, water storage, flood control, and water conservation for safe drinking water, water quality and supply. Funding is slated for 10 Bay Area projects, which include the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's Lower Cherry Aqueduct Emergency Rehabilitation Project; the Alameda County Zone 7 Water Supply Drought Preparedness Project; and the Santa Clara Valley Water District/City of Sunnyvale's Continuous Recycled Water Production Facilities and Wolfe Road Pipeline.
For more information, contact Jennifer Krebs, Principal Environmental Planner, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, 510-622-2315.
Posted Monday, December 1, 2014
Presidio Bank first to offer low-interest financing for
Multifamily Property Owners through Bay Area Regional Energy Network
Multifamily Property Owners through Bay Area Regional Energy Network
Presidio Bank is the first lender to participate in a regional financing program offered by the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN). Administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments, 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. Through the program, Multifamily real estate owners may now access lowered interest rates financing, no-cost consulting with multifamily energy efficiency experts, and rebates of $750 per residential unit to complete energy efficiency upgrades.
The Bay Area Regional Energy Network is designed to encourage multifamily property owners to improve their real estate assets through upgrades to their energy systems. Upgrades can address the building shell with new windows or added insulation, the heating systems with new boilers or furnaces, the water heating systems with efficient heaters and water conserving devices, appliances, and lighting. Interested property owners may also access no-cost consulting to advise them on upgrades that are appropriate for their building, and prioritize cost effective upgrades.
Borrowers approved for loans with participating banks to cover the cost of the energy upgrades would receive a reduced interest rate. The subsidized program brings down the interest rate by up to half of the rate that the bank would otherwise offer for a standard loan of equivalent size and terms. Qualifying upgrade scopes that save 10% or more of the whole building's energy usage may also access the $750 per unit rebate.
"Presidio Bank is proud to be part of a program that has so many benefits," said Steve Heitel, Presidio Bank President & CEO. "It helps our clients improve their multifamily assets while doing the right thing to conserve energy and water, helping the environment, and enhancing comfort for their residents."
The financing, consulting, and rebate program are offered through the Bay Area Regional Energy Network, a collaboration of nine local county governments. The program is funded through energy utility ratepayer funding under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The program is available to multifamily buildings with five or more attached dwelling units in the nine Bay Area counties receiving PG&E gas or electric service.
To learn more about the offering through Presidio Bank, contact Lisa Zuffi, Senior Vice President: email@example.com.
About the Bay Area Regional Energy Network
The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is a collaboration between the ABAG cities and counties. Administered by 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. For more information, visit www.BayREN.org or call Karen Kho, Program Manager, Stopwaste.org at 510-891-6500.
Posted Monday, September 29, 2014
Employers Now Required to Offer Employees Commuter Benefits by September 30, 2014
San Francisco Bay Area employers with 50 or more full-time employees including public agencies, private businesses, and non-profit organizations are now required to register at https://commuterbenefits.511.org/ and offer commuter benefits to their employees in order to comply with the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program developed pursuant to CA Senate Bill 1339. The program is modeled on local ordinances in several Bay Area cities (Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, and the San Francisco International Airport). Through this program, employers must offer their employees one of four Commuter Benefit options:
What are my options?
1. Option 1 - Allow employees to exclude their transit or vanpool costs from taxable income, to the maximum amount, as allowed by federal law (currently $130 per month).
2. Option 2 - Employer-provided transit subsidy (or transit pass) or vanpool subsidy up to $75 per month.
3. Option 3 - Employer-provided free or low cost bus, shuttle or vanpool service operated by or for the employer.
4. Option 4 - An alternative employer-provided commuter benefit that is as effective as in reducing single occupant vehicles as Option 1-3.
The various commuter benefits outlined are designed to encourage employees to take transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycle and walk, rather than drive alone to work. It is anticipated that employees will be more willing to use commute alternatives when encouraged by their employer’s through this Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program. The program is designed for employers with 50 or more full-time employers. However, some employers with fewer than 50 Bay Area employees may be subject to a local commuter benefits ordinance that have been adopted by the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond, as well as the San Francisco International Airport.
Employers are required to notify employees of the commuter benefit that they will provide and document implementation of their commuter benefits program and make records available to the Air District and/or MTC upon request.
Visit https://commuterbenefits.511.org/ and click on Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program, for more information and to register for the program. To request free assistance or for more information, just click on the "Needs Assistance" section or call 511 and say "Commuter Benefits." Employer Services Representatives are available in each county to provide free assistance to employers in setting up programs. There is a help line specialists available at (510) 273-3680.
The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program is a partnership of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, managing employer outreach for the Program, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, developer of Regulation 14, Rule 1: Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program and managing compliance for the Program.
Posted Friday, September 19, 2014
Priority Conservation Areas
Revised Application Process
Revised Application Process
As part of the broader Plan Bay Area Implementation effort, ABAG staff worked with local jurisdictions, the ABAG administrative committee and stakeholders to develop a Priority Conservation Areas (PCA) program update. Adopted July 17, 2014, this update specifically addresses the Open Space and Farmland implementation areas and introduces four categories to recognize the role of different kinds of PCAs in supporting the vitality of the region's natural systems, rural economy and human health.
All new and modified PCAs must apply or re-apply. The revised guidelines for new PCA nominations, review and adoption, and confirming existing PCAs are summarized below.
Updated PCA Application Process and Requirements
The application requires that new PCA nominations include:
1. An adopted resolution of support from the jurisdiction(s) in which it is located
2. A map and text describing the general area and boundaries of the PCA
3. Selection of one or more of the PCA designations described below and text and supporting text and data
4. Discussion of the regional and local importance of the PCA
Sponsors of proposed PCAs are required to complete the applications by May 30, 2015. For more information, go to http://abag.ca.gov/vision/conservation/.
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