Last night, the Bay Area took a major step towards addressing three of the region’s most urgent challenges: housing, displacement, and growing income inequality.
Following a multi-year grassroots campaign that brought together communities from all nine Bay Area counties, the regional planning agencies – known as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) – voted to adopt an Action Plan that commits them to a workplan of concrete, near-term actions to promote housing affordability, access to middle-wage jobs, and community resilience.
The Action Plan was approved as part of Plan Bay Area 2040: the regional long-range plan that directs over $300 billion in infrastructure funds and sets a framework for how the Bay Area will grow through 2040.
In that timeframe, Santa Clara County is projected to experience 31% of the region’s population growth, more than any other Bay Area county – so the South Bay will be deeply impacted by how well the region plans for and invests in equitable growth.
For the first time ever, the Action Plan will push Plan Bay Area beyond business-as-usual to take ‘radically do-able’ steps on housing, good jobs, and climate resilience, like providing incentives for cities that support affordable housing and prevent displacement, developing a coordinated strategy to fill the funding gap, and creating a regional economic development strategy that emphasizes access to middle-wage, family-supporting jobs.
This landmark victory comes after three years of community organizing, strategizing, and advocacy. Linking our on-the-ground organizing with policy and research expertise, Working Partnerships worked in coalition with 6 Wins for Social Equity, the Non-Profit Housing Association, Greenbelt Alliance, and local and regional labor unions to chart a path towards a more equitable, inclusive, and effective Plan Bay Area.
Many thanks to the staff and governing boards of MTC and ABAG who worked tirelessly to develop the plan. This planning process was much more open and responsive than in past years, as experts collaborated with community members from across the region to develop solutions. And thanks to everyone who participated, gave comments, shared your experiences, and proposed ideas that pushed the regional agencies to take action!
Next up: making sure the action agenda in Plan Bay Area becomes reality. We’re already engaged at both the local and regional levels through projects such as supporting an affordable housing policy in the city of Santa Clara, working to create middle-wage construction careers in San Jose, and serving on the regional CASA Task Force to develop longer-term solutions to the housing crisis.
With your help, our communities will continue to lead in tackling our greatest challenges here in Silicon Valley and across the entire Bay Area.