Press Release: EEJ Supporters Celebrate Plan Bay Area Victory
ABAG/MTC include some key elements of Equity, Environment and Jobs scenario
Members of the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network and other supporters of the Equity, Environment and Jobs (EEJ) scenario came away from last night’s Plan Bay Area adoption by regional decision-makers satisfied their voices were heard.
The final plan, adopted at last night’s special joint meeting of the MTC Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Executive Board, will result in decisive improvements on many of the issues low-income communities and communities of color have been fighting for over the past three years.
In particular, EEJ advocates won three amendments that will help protect families in these communities from displacement, improve their access to local transit service, and give them a voice in how billions of dollars in Cap and Trade revenues will benefit them. Specifically:
· The One Bay Area Grant program, or OBAG, was a central part of the Equity, Environment and Jobs (EEJ scenario) won earlier in the process. It conditions grants to local cities on their adoption of a state-certified affordable housing plan. On top of that, last night’s amendments moved closer to the 6 Wins goal of tying regional grants to local anti-displacement measures.
· Sup. John Gioia, a strong voice for communities impacted by refinery emissions in and around Richmond and a new appointee to the California Air Resources Board, successfully carried a motion that commits the region to an inclusive public process to set priorities for $3.1 Billion in Cap and Trade revenue, with an explicit focus on benefits to disadvantaged communities (as required by SB 535).
· And Sup. David Campos, a champion in San Francisco, carried an amendment that, for the very first time, commits MTC to adopt a "comprehensive strategy" with a focus on local transit operating support.
“While we certainly didn’t get everything we wanted, the final plan is better on equity, better for the environment, better for jobs and better for the Bay Area,” said Bob Allen, Transportation Justice program director at Urban Habitat.
“Tonight’s vote was a first step in beginning to reverse patterns of development that increase economic and racial inequality in the Bay Area,” added Sam Tepperman-Gelfant, a senior staff attorney at Public Advocates Inc.
6 Wins Network members are quick to say there is still much to be done and that they’re in it for the long haul as they follow the plan’s progress through state review and local implementation. And the planning process for the 2017 plan is expected to begin in two years.
“Our advocacy put regional equity in the center of this planning process,” said Claire Haas, a lead organizer with ACCE. “But we clearly still have a lot of work to do."
“We’ve been working for three years to ensure transit operations, affordable housing opportunity, and anti-displacement protections are part of this plan,” added Mary Lim-Lampe, a lead organizer with Genesis. “Fighting for social justice and equity is a process that requires persistence and courage.”
Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit civil rights law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing and transit equity. We spur change through collaboration with grassroots groups representing low-income communities, people of color and immigrants, combined with strategic policy reform, media advocacy and litigation, “making rights real” across California since 1971.