AB32 Money Will Boost Transit, Housing, Affordability in Disadvantaged Communities; Carbon Reduction Equal to Taking 140,000 Cars Off the Road

Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Bill Magavern, Policy Director, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-527-8051
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The Strategic Growth Council today approved $121.9 million in funding for 28 projects that link affordable housing to clean transportation – simultaneously promoting clean air, addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis and improving mobility for residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods. Advocates hailed the funding for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program as an important example of how California’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions can also boost prosperity and growth in low- and moderate-income communities.

A detailed list of the projects funded – located in 19 counties in nine regions around California – can be found here. Three quarters of the funding goes to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, as defined by CalEnviroScreen 2.0. The projects will connect affordable housing and key destinations to transit – including bus, rail, and vanpool services as well bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure. AHSC funding will also fund 832 annual transit passes and other ridership-boosting programs. Altogether, the projects are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 723,286 metric tons, equal to taking over 140,000 cars off the road.

Funding for affordable housing near transit was a major priority for the SB 535 Coalition – led by the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Coalition for Clean Air, The Greenlining Institute and Public Advocates – that had successfully advocated for passage of SB 535 (de León), which guarantees that at least one quarter of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund proceeds must go to projects benefitting underserved communities.

“We are proud of the affordable housing projects being built with SB 535 funds so that climate investments truly benefit environmental justice communities,” said Mari Rose Taruc, Asian Pacific Environmental Network state organizing director. “The SB535 Coalition was instrumental in getting the word out to underserved communities about these investments. In fact, at least one of the affordable housing projects that got funded was because a coalition member heard about the new funds and encouraged their city to apply.”

“The SB 535 coalition worked hard to make affordable housing a priority for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Program Manager Alvaro Sanchez. “Connecting affordable housing to clean transportation represents a classic win-win: cleaner air, enhanced mobility, better housing for low-income families, big reductions in greenhouse gases, and good jobs to make it all happen.”

“We hope that these investments will bring both shelter and mobility to some of California’s underserved communities. Investments in sustainable communities reduce pollution and improve quality of life by linking affordable housing to public transportation,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director of the Coalition for Clean Air.

“We are thrilled to see this program produce tangible greenhouse gas reductions and great outcomes for disadvantaged communities,” said Public Advocates Staff Attorney Marybelle Nzegwu. “Over one quarter of the affordable housing units will be reserved for extremely low income households in transit-oriented development, and several projects include transit passes for low-income residents. These types of projects increase access and mobility for transit’s core ridership and help maintain sustainable, vibrant communities.”