Main focus is on transportation and land-use; also focuses on economic development
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), on Wednesday, July 26 adopted Plan Bay Area 2040 and its associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The nearly unanimous vote – with 41 of the 43 officials from the two bodies voting in the affirmative on the Plan and 39 for the EIR – caps a three-year process of plan development and intensive public outreach.
The second such regional housing and transportation plan adopted by MTC and ABAG, Plan Bay Area 2040 is a long-range blueprint to guide transportation investments and land-use decisions through 2040, while meeting the requirements of California’s landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state’s 18 metropolitan areas to develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.
The Plan shines a spotlight on the region’s housing crisis – in terms of housing availability and affordability – and calls on citizens to join with business, government, academia and the non-profit sector to solve it. The Bay Area must “pursue a multi-pronged strategy that emphasizes the construction of new homes for residents of all incomes, the protection of the region’s most vulnerable households, and the need to advocate for more financial resources to pursue local and regional solutions,” the Plan notes.
The Plan points to two recent developments that will improve the region’s ability to address its chronic housing and affordability challenges. The recent integration of MTC’s and ABAG’s staff into a unified team will lead to more effective long-range planning and strengthen the region’s housing policy resources. And the newly created CASA initiative – the blue-ribbon Committee to House the Bay Area – is bringing together diverse interests to develop a bold new strategy for housing production and preservation.
The Action Plan portion of Plan Bay Area 2040 also focuses on economic development, particularly improving transportation access to jobs, increasing middle-wage job creation and maintaining the region’s infrastructure. Another focus of the Action element is resilience in terms of enhancing climate protection and adaptation efforts, strengthening open space protections, creating healthy and safe communities, and protecting communities against natural hazards.
Leaders of ABAG and MTC applauded the Plan’s adoption.
“The ABAG Executive Board’s and MTC’s passage of Plan Bay Area 2040 recognizes the changes that have occurred to our region’s cities and counties and adjusts the actions we need to take to meet our shared challenges,” commented ABAG President and Clayton Councilmember Julie Pierce. “This successful second round of Plan Bay Area also highlights the good work that the agencies have done together in conjunction with the cities and counties.”
“The updated Plan charts a smart course by identifying the strategic investments and policy directions necessary to keep the Bay Area economy growing while maintaining a high quality of life,” stated MTC Chair and Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie.
The draft Plan and approved revisions can be viewed at 2040.planbayarea.org/reports. The final report integrating the comments will be available in the coming weeks at the same location. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG is the council of governments and official regional planning agency for the 101 cities and towns, and nine counties of the Bay Area.