Affordable Housing and Transit in The Bay Area Could Be Different Than How We Thought
The Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously for a motion to examine critical parts of a proposed transit bill.
On Friday, Feb 14th, in San Francisco, The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association Bay area Governments in a joint meeting agreed to in their next meeting to examine many parts of State Bill 79.
This bill Which would implement a 1 cent sales tax to increase the funding for the production of affordable housing and transportation together.
The Agreement after the meeting’s public comment urged the commission to change the method of how the new bill would get its funding.
“It is especially concerning for you to make recommendations on combining housing and transportation under a 1 cent sale tax,” said Haley Currier, The policy advocacy manager with TransForm, a local transportation non-profit. “It is premature to assume housing and transportation can be combined, especially without input.”
Currier, there has been no public discussion on advocacy in the bill. An advocacy clause in the law is supposed to allow the public to advocate how they want the funding to be used in the statement.
A student at San Jose State University, Monica Mallon, who relies on public transport attended the meeting and spoke to the commission, believes it should be used to better transit operations, not necessarily housing. Mollan also thinks that the bill should not increase the sales tax, and there needs to be more public forms and discussion on this bill and how it affects the Bay Area.
“I would like to see 30% of this measure to go to operations for local and regional transit,” said Mollan. “I know a lot of you don’t think that operations are cool and exciting… it isn’t something you can take a picture in front of like a new BART station, but it’s life-changing.”
After the public comment was over, one of the ABAG Board members Pat Eklund asked the meeting presenter about the bill’s advocacy principles and why it is the method of funding a sales tax. Eklund thinks the sales tax is going backward.
“Sales tax is a very regressive tax, and it hurts the poor the most,” Eklund said. “There are some people from the audience that you like to delay this, so there can be more conversations. “Why can’t we delay this until the meeting in March so that we can gather that information.”