Why Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Should Fund Affordable Homes Near Transit
A White Paper by California Housing Partnership, TransForm, and Housing California
The Sustainable Communities for All Coalition is calling for investments in public and active transportation, affordable homes near transit, energy efficiency, and natural resources through established programs that will equitably reduce greeenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These recommendations were significantly represented in the Air Resources Board Investment Plan released in May 2013.
The conversation about investing Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds in the next three years is happening over the next few months in the legislature. Members of the Sustainable Communities for All Coalition are talking to legislators about why Cap-and-Trade funds should be spent on existing programs with proven success at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
To aid in our coalition's advocacy efforts, California Housing Partnership, as lead author, worked with TransForm and Housing California to prepared a white paper that provides detailed information about the state's Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Housing Program and research that supports the design of the program to meet its goals of increasing public transit ridership, minimizing automobile trips, and promoting GHG emissions reductions.
The white paper, Why Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Should Fund Affordable Homes Near Transit, makes a clear case that the TOD Housing Program is a key component of an integrated approach to cut GHG emissions while providing transportation and housing choices that allow all Californians to drive less and reduce household costs, especially households on modest budgets.
The paper complements a longer Literature Review prepared earlier this year by California Housing Partnership. It is a very useful tool for housing advocates to use when talking to legislators about why Cap-and-Trade funds should be spent on existing programs with proven success at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
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What is Cap-and-Trade?
The California Air Resources Board developed the Cap-and-Trade program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by auctioning "emission allowances" to polluting entities. Funds from these auctions must be used to further reduce GHG emissions or to mitigate their impacts. According to
a study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, workers earning modest incomes in California’s four largest
metropolitan areas take transit, walk, or bike to work far more than other higher-income groups. Modest-income earners are are
more likely to take advantage of nearby transit, lowering GHGs more than higher-income earners. This approach to GHG reduction is at the heart of the Sustainable Communities Strategies developed regionally under Senate Bill 375.
For more than a year, as an outgrowth of our work on regional land-use and transportation planning, Housing California, TransForm, and other allies have been working with various agencies, the Legislature and the governor’s office to shape a proposal that expands transportation and housing choices and supports disadvantaged communities by allocating a significant portion of Cap-and-Trade auction revenues to affordable transit and transit-oriented development.
View the proposal.
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Why is it important?
State investment in housing that is affordable to people of modest means and located near transit ensures that those most likely to use public transit are able to do so, taking more cars off the road. Not only does this help California meet GHG emission reduction goals, but it also improves public health and air quality, increases social equity, creates green jobs, and protects habitat and agricultural land. In May, the Department of Finance will release its three-year investment plan for the auction revenues, and in June the Legislature will vote on the plan. If done correctly, this plan has the potential to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to expand housing and transportation choices and promote a California where everyone -- regardless of age, race, or income -- has access to opportunities and a healthy environment. The amount of funding from Cap-and-Trade auctions is expected to grow substantially; by 2015, it is expected to expand to billions of dollars per year. Our proposal represents a win-win by using these funds to connect Californians to communities of opportunity, while further reducing GHG emissions.
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How can you help?
Now is the time to demonstrate the benefits of transportation and housing choices for all Californians. Join the movement to transform our communities by sending comments to the California Air Resources Board and endorsing our Cap-and-Trade proposal.
- Take Action!
- (1). Sign on to our proposal. Simply e-mail Felicity Lyons (Sustainable Communities Coordinator) or Julie Snyder (Policy Director).
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