We Won – Plan Bay Area

After six hours of raucous testimony, in the wee hours of July 19 in downtown Oakland, our regional planning agencies approved Plan Bay Area: an unprecedented regional strategy for creating sustainable communities throughout the Bay Area by integrating transportation and land use planning through $290 billion in public investment.

I felt proud of the Great Communities Collaborative’s partners and allies – primarily younger people of color – who bravely testified in front of heckling mostly older white Tea Partiers who attempted to usurp the public discourse.

Marybelle Nzegwu, of Public Advocates, rallies supporters of the Equity, Environment and Jobs Alternative at the final MTC/ABAG hearing on Plan Bay Area

The Great Communities Collaborative grantees have been working tirelessly on Plan Bay Area for three years, and have much to celebrate in its adoption:

  • No sprawl for 30 years – 100% of new growth within urban boundaries
  • 80% of the new homes and 60% of new jobs near public transit
  • 87% (or $253 billion) to maintain and operate the current transportation network and only 5% for new roads
  • Cities who approve and produce affordable homes are rewarded with transportation funding
  • At least 25% of new cap and trade funding to disadvantaged communities
  • A new comprehensive strategy for local transit operating support
  • The first-of-its-kind conservation grant program for protecting natural and agricultural lands

The Plan reflects the values of a new generation of Californians, where people of color are the majority. Where we have transit access to great opportunities around the Bay. Our neighborhoods are diverse, affordable, and we breathe clean air. We can safely walk or bike to visit a friend. Our open spaces are preserved. “I represent a generation that doesn’t want to drive everywhere,” said Clarissa Cabansagan.

Tomorrow we will start the hard work of making sure local cities uphold their part in the Plan’s vision. But today is a time to celebrate. Because we won.

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