News at ABAG

Posted Thursday, April 11, 2019

On the Move, On the Bay Trail

Yesterday was Walk to Work Day and San Francisco Bay Trail Project Manager Laura Thompson snapped photos on the section of trail she used to get to her office at 375 Beale St.

Thompson walked the trail along the Embarcadero Promenade between the Ferry Building and Harrison Street. "The Bay Trail gives people a healthy and fun option to get to work; walking along San Francisco Bay," Thompson said. "What a great way to start the day."

The planned 500-mile Bay Trail — which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year — is now 70 percent complete with a vision to connect people to the bay and communities along the edge of San Francisco Bay. To check out the Bay Trail anniversary events click here.

The trail links to residential areas, transit stations and employment centers with more than 2.7 million people living within 2 miles of the Bay Trail.

Posted Friday, March 29, 2019

Local Government Working Group
To Advise ABAG, MTC on Housing Legislation

An initial slate of local government officials was appointed this week to the newly-formed Housing Legislative Working Group, which will advise both ABAG's Legislation Committee and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Legislation Committee on housing-related bills pending in the state Legislature. The working group, which will include representatives from two cities in each of the nine Bay Area counties as well as a Supervisor from each county, will meet weekly during the legislative session to receive progress reports on housing-related bills in the state Assembly and state Senate, and to provide feedback on those bills to ABAG and MTC staff.

"Now that the CASA initiative is over, the action on housing policy has shifted to Sacramento, where all local officials need to be engaged in the discussion," explained Clayton Vice Mayor Julie Pierce, who also serves as Chair of both the Housing Legislative Working Group and the ABAG Legislation Committee. CASA is the nickname of the broad-based Committee to House the Bay Area convened by ABAG and MTC to develop policy recommendations for producing more housing at all income levels in the Bay Area, preserving existing affordable housing, and protecting current residents from displacement in rapidly-changing neighborhoods. The CASA Steering Committee produced the CASA Compact, a document that includes 10 recommendations for policy changes, and completed its work in December 2018.

Rohnert Park City Councilmember Jake Mackenzie, who was named March 27 as the new Chair of MTC's Legislation Committee, will serve as Vice Chair of the Housing Legislative Working Group. Other Working Group appointments approved this week include:

• Anthony Adams, Suisun City Councilmember;
• Judy Arnold, Marin County Board of Supervisors;
• Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Mayor, City of Alameda;
• Keith Carson, Alameda County Board of Supervisors;
• Anna Chouteau; St. Helena City Councilmember;
• Donna Colson, Mayor, City of Burlingame;
• John Gioia, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors;
• Ryan Gregory, Napa County Board of Supervisors;
• Don Horsley, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors;
• Cliff Lentz, Brisbane City Councilmember;
• Mary Luros, Napa City Councilmember;
• Lily Mei, Mayor, City of Fremont;
• David Rabbitt, Sonoma County Supervisor and ABAG Executive Board President;
• John Rahaim; San Francisco Planning Director;
• Ken Rich, Development Director, S.F. Office of Economic and Workforce Development;
• Ron Rowlett, Mayor, City of Vacaville; and
• John Vazquez, Solano County Board of Supervisors;

Local governments are expected to nominate appointees for the eight remaining positions on the 27-member Housing Legislative Working Group in the coming weeks.

ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the nine counties and 101 cities and towns of the Bay Area. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

Posted Friday, March 22, 2019

Priority Conservation Areas Program and Grant Opportunities Highlighted in Estuary News

A recent article in the San Francisco Estuary Program's newsletter Estuary News highlights the Priority Conservation Areas grant opportunities. New mapping tools assisted 36 applicants to submit letters of interest requesting more than $19 million for projects to restore marshes, extend the Bay and Ridge Trails and urban park upgrades. Click through to read this detailed article at or read the entire March edition of Estuary News

Posted Monday, March 4, 2019

Bay Trail 30th Anniversary Celebration Begins with Art Exhibit -- Half-Light: A Study of the San Francisco Bay Trail by Photographer Kurt Schwabe

Photo of small island with tress in San Francisco Bay350 miles of walking and cycling paths encircle the San Francisco Bay Area, connecting communities and providing a great alternative commute corridor. These paths are known as the Bay Trail and this year we celebrate the Trail's 30th Anniversary!

2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of the San Francisco Bay Trail, and we will be having a year-long celebration starting with an Art opening: A Study of the San Francisco Bay Trail by Photographer Kurt Schwabe. Throughout the year, there will be events, ribbon-cuttings and Bay Trail Anniversary competitions with fun prizes!

We look forward to celebrating the Bay Trail with you. Celebrate the 30th Anniversary and join us on Facebook ( to learn about the fun anniversary activities throughout the year.

ABAG and MTC are celebrating the Bay Trail with a slide show in the lobby of our building, 375 Beale, San Francisco. If you can't make it in person, view the slide show: here.

Posted Friday, March 1, 2019

Indigenous People and Land in the Bay Area: A Film Screening and Discussion

This film is part of Metro Talks, a speaker series hosted by the Bay Area's four regional agencies at the Bay Area Metro Center. The series brings together prominent leaders and experts to discuss issues of regional significance like housing, community development, climate change, the economy, technology and innovation, and transportation.

Thursday, March 7, 2019
5:30 - 6 pm: Reception,
6 - 7:30 pm: Film screening, Panel discussion, Q&A

Beyond Recognition, a film by Michelle Grace Steinberg of Underexposed Films, examines the efforts of indigenous Ohlone people, and in particular one woman, to reclaim their traditional and sacred lands within the urbanized Bay area, inviting questions about the impacts of both past and present land use and development policies on native people. The film follows Corrina Gould, Spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone and Huichuin territory (Oakland) resident, on her quest to establish the first urban Indigenous women-led land trust in the country.

After the film screening, a panel discussion will be moderated by Alexander Tavizon, Bay Area Outreach Coordinator for the California Indian Environmental Alliance (CIEA). Panelists will include Corrina Gould of Sogorea Te' Land Trust, Valentin Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Land Trust, and Yana Garcia, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs at the California Environmental Protection Agency.

This panel and film screening will be an opportunity to learn and engage with tribal voices and representatives. Themes discussed in the panel will include land conservation, cultural stewardship, preservation of sacred sites and visions for our communities.

Register at RSVP

Posted Thursday, February 21, 2019

Executive Board Authorizes President Rabbitt's Signature on CASA Compact

In a 21-to-9 vote, the ABAG Executive Board at its January meeting authorized ABAG President David Rabbitt to sign the CASA Compact. The Compact is a set of policy recommendations to both state and local officials designed to help solve the Bay Area's longstanding housing-affordability problem by encouraging the production of more housing for people at all income levels, preserving affordable housing that already exists and protecting current residents from displacement in rapidly changing neighborhoods.

Outreach to Local Governments on CASA Continues
ABAG and MTC are stepping up their outreach to Bay Area elected officials and city and county staff to discuss the CASA Compact, answering questions and receiving input on the multi-pronged effort to solve the region's longstanding housing-affordability problem.

Staff already has met with officials from several East Bay cities as well as with the League of Cities, North Bay Division; the Contra Costa Conference of Mayors; East Bay League of Cities; and the Peninsula League of Cities Division. More meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks with the Napa Valley Transportation Authority, City Managers Group of Contra Costa, Solano City and County Coordinating Council, the East Bay Leadership Council's Housing Committee, East Bay Economic Development Alliance, Sonoma County Transportation Authority and the Sonoma Citizens Advisory Committee, among others.

The Bay Area's jobs/housing imbalance is at a critical point, affecting transportation, the economy and the ability of future generations to live and thrive in the region.

All interest groups are encouraged to participate in the upcoming CASA outreach meetings and to weigh in as the process continues. For more information about outreach meetings, contact Rebecca Long, Manager, Government Relations, (415) 778-5289.

About CASA and the CASA Compact
The CASA Compact is a 10-point set of policy recommendations to both state and local officials designed to help solve the Bay Area housing crisis by encouraging the production of more housing for people at all income levels, preserving affordable housing that already exists, and protecting current residents from displacement in rapidly-changing neighborhoods.-affordability problem. The 21-member CASA steering committee, consisting of representatives from a myriad of sectors met for 18 months to develop the plan, which forms a cornerstone for both ABAG's and MTC's 2019 state legislative program. The complete Compact can be found at .

Posted Friday, February 8, 2019

Do You Love the San Francisco Bay (and Delta)?

Join in to show your support of estuaries, like our San Francisco Bay-Delta with the joint, 3-day "I heart estuaries" social media campaign. Add #iheartestuaries on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Spread the love and tweet away on February 12th, 13th and 14th!

This effort is put on to demonstrate support for key programs that benefit estuaries and to raise awareness by Restore America's Estuaries, the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, and the Association of National Estuary Programs. In the Bay Area, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership is a participating sponsor. ABAG and MTC are celebrating our estuary with a week-long slide show in the lobby of our building — 375 Beale, San Francisco. To view the slide show, go to

Posted Friday, February 1, 2019

PCA Grant Program Workshops — Feb 5th and 7th — Offer Information About Funding

Two PCA Grant workshops will assist Bay Area cities, counties, and parks and open space districts in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to compete for a new round of Priority Conservation Area (PCA) grants ranging from $100,000 to $1 million or more.

The workshops will provide prospective applicants with an overview of the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) Grant Program.

Workshop 1
February 5, 2019
1 PM – 3 PM
California State Building
1515 Clay Street, Room 10, 2nd floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Workshop 2
February 7, 2019
10 AM – 12 PM
Arrillaga Family Recreation Center
700 Alma Street, Oak Room
Menlo Park, CA 94025

In addition, a new webinar has been scheduled for PCA grant applicants to demonstrate the process of generating project-specific reports through Bay Area Greenprint. As described in the PCA Grant program guidelines, applicants will be asked to generate a project report through Bay Area Greenprint.

Webinar: Bay Area Greenprint for PCA Grant Applicants
February 11, 2019
1PM – 2PM Webinar Details
Join Zoom Meeting
- One tap mobile +16699006833,,361843215#
- US Dial by your location +1 669 900 6833 Meeting ID: 361 843 215
- Join by Skype for Business
Note: This webinar will be recorded for those unable to attend.

Questions about the 2019 PCA Grant Program should be directed to

The State Coastal Conservancy administers the PCA grant program in partnership with MTC and ABAG for projects in the Bay Area's five most populous counties, and will contribute up to $1.8 million in state resource bond funds for new PCA grants.

Agencies seeking funding through this round of PCA grants must submit letters of interest by Feb. 25. For more information, visit:

Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2019

ABAG, MTC Name Therese W. McMillan New Executive Director

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today named Therese Watkins McMillan as its new Executive Director. This position also serves as the top executive for the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). McMillan, who currently serves as the Chief Planning Officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will replace Steve Heminger, who is retiring next month after serving as MTC's Executive Director since January 2001 and as ABAG's Executive Director since July 2017.

McMillan is no stranger to the Bay Area or to MTC, having worked for 25 years a member of the Commission staff, and for more than eight years as MTC's Deputy Executive Director for Policy before her 2009 appointment by then-President Barack Obama to serve as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation. McMillan subsequently served as Acting FTA Administrator from March 2014 to March 2016 before taking the position as LA Metro's Planning Chief in April 2016. During the final five years of her original MTC tenure, McMillan also was an instructor of transportation funding and finance in the Transportation Management Graduate program at San Jose State University's Mineta Transportation Institute.

"I am excited to return to the Bay Area, and to all its beauty and opportunities," said McMillan. "One of my primary goals is to make the Bay Area's transportation and housing opportunities attainable to all people who reside across the Bay Area. Tackling this challenge will take vision. It also will require new and innovative partnerships among Bay Area communities, service providers, and leaders across government and the private sector. Working with the Commission, I will strive to lead MTC forward as an extraordinary visionary and partner."

McMillan received her Bachelor of Science degree from U.C. Davis in 1981, a Master's degree in Civil Engineering Science from U.C. Berkeley in 1983, and a Master's in City and Regional Planning from U.C. Berkeley in 1984.

McMillan has served since 2012 as a member of the Advisory Board for the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, and was named a Senior Fellow for the 2011-12 academic year at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She received an Alumni Award of Distinction from the U.C. Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Studies in 2016; a 'Women Moving the Nation' award from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in 2013; and a Distinguished Alumna Award from the U.C. Berkeley College of Environmental Design in 2011. McMillan has long been active in the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS) and served as president of the San Francisco Chapter in 1989 and 1990. She was named WTS National Woman of the Year for 2016, and as Woman of the Year for the Washington, D.C., Chapter in 2015 and the Los Angeles Chapter in 2011. WTS' San Francisco Bay Area Chapter named McMillan its Member of the Year for 2002 and as its Woman of the Year for 2010.

"I would like to thank my colleagues on the Commission for the many, many hours of time put into this national search to find the best possible pool of candidates for us to consider. I am confident that Ms. McMillan is the right person to lead the Commission into the future" said Jake Mackenzie, Chair of MTC.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the nine counties and 101 cities and towns of the Bay Area."

Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A BayREN Program Won a Prestigious National Energy Efficiency Award

An energy savings program administered by ABAG has won a prestigious national award for its work.

The BayREN Bay Area Multifamily Building Enhancements program &mdash known as BAMBE &mdash focuses on energy efficiency retrofits and offers no-cost consulting and cash rebates for multifamily properties with five or more attached dwelling units. Alameda County's StopWaste leads the program.

It has been named by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy as an exemplary program. The award recognized effectiveness and innovation and is given only once every five years. This the first time BAMBE has been recognized. ACEEE is a nonprofit research group based in Washington D.C.

BAMBE's work saves the equivalent of the amount of carbon dioxide it takes to charge 198 million cell phones annually, or the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced to power 3.8 million cars each year.

The BAMBE program serves the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and supports efficiency improvements designed to save 15 percent or more of a building's energy and water usage. It provides a $750 per unit rebate to help pay for the upgrades.

Natural gas and electricity, heating, cooling, domestic hot-water equipment, lighting fixtures and appliances are among the areas where energy savings can be found.

The BAMBE program's no-cost consulting includes onsite energy audits, scope development, project cash-flow analysis, procurement and construction oversight, post-construction verification and referrals to incentive and financing programs.

Since 2013, the program has helped upgrade over 31,000 units at 458 properties, providing over $22.5 million in rebates and technical assistance to over 80,000 units across the Bay Area.

Posted Friday, January 18, 2019

Executive Board Authorizes President Rabbitt Signature on CASA — The Committee to House the Bay Area — Compact Status Report

In a 21-to-9 vote, the ABAG Executive Board last night authorized ABAG President Rabbitt to sign the CASA Compact. The Compact is a set of policy recommendations to both state and local officials designed to help solve the Bay Area's longstanding housing-affordability problem by encouraging the production of more housing for people at all income levels, preserving affordable housing that already exists and protecting current residents from displacement in rapidly changing neighborhoods.

To achieve these "three Ps," the CASA Compact details 10 separate elements as well as five calls to action.
Specific policy recommendations include:
- Just-cause eviction policy;
- Emergency rent cap;
- Emergency rent assistance and access to legal counsel;
- Removal of regulatory barriers to additional dwelling units;
- Minimum zoning near transit;
- Reforms to housing-approval processes;
- Expedited approvals and financial incentives for select housing types;
- Unlock public land for affordable housing;
- Raise $1.5 billion from a range of sources to fund implementation of the CASA Compact; and
- Establish a regional housing enterprise to implement the CASA Compact.

CASA includes leaders from across the Bay Area who will build actionable political consensus around (1) increasing housing production at all levels of affordability, (2) preserving existing affordable housing, and (3) protecting vulnerable populations from housing instability and displacement for consideration by ABAG, MTC and myriad state and local policy makers.

CASA is led by three Co-Chairs: Fred Blackwell of The San Francisco Foundation; Leslye Corsiglia of Silicon Valley at Home; and Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners. It is structured around a Steering Committee and Technical Committee composed of local elected officials, thought leaders, and policy experts from across the region. The CASA effort is supported and staffed by the consolidated ABAG and MTC staff and a team of consultants. More information about CASA is available on the website

Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CASA — The Committee to House the Bay Area — Compact Status Report

Staff briefed the Executive Board on the CASA effort and areas of agreement for the CASA Compact and asked for the Board's input and discussion. By the end of 2018, CASA will have engaged a broad range of stakeholders to develop a suite of recommendations for legislative reform, new revenue, and regional leadership. These recommendations will be packaged into the CASA Compact for consideration by ABAG, MTC and myriad state and local policy makers.

The current schedule calls for the CASA Compact to be finalized by mid-December. If the schedule holds, the ABAG Executive Board in January and the MTC Commission in December would consider authorizing the President and Chair to sign the CASA Compact.

CASA includes leaders from across the Bay Area who will build actionable political consensus around (1) increasing housing production at all levels of affordability, (2) preserving existing affordable housing, and (3) protecting vulnerable populations from housing instability and displacement for consideration by ABAG,MTC and myriad.

CASA is being led by three Co-Chairs: Fred Blackwell, The San Francisco Foundation; Leslye Corsiglia, Silicon Valley at Home; and Michael Covarrubias, TMG Partners. It is structured around a Steering Committee and Technical Committee composed of local elected officials, thought leaders, and policy experts from across the region. The CASA effort is supported and staffed by the consolidated ABAG and MTC staff and a team of consultants. More information about CASA is available

Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Next Steps: Looking at Governance

The video from the governance presentation made to the joint MTC Planning and ABAG Adminstration Committee meeting on November 9th is available here

Posted Friday, November 2, 2018

MTC Offers Cities, Counties Big Carrot to Spur Affordable Housing

Taking a bold step to ease the Bay Area's persistent shortage of affordable housing, MTC last week established a $76 million grant program known as the Housing Incentive Pool, or HIP for short, to reward with transportation infrastructure dollars the cities and counties that over the next five years produce or preserve the largest number of affordable housing units in designated Priority Development Areas or in Transit Priority Areas. These are areas that cities and counties have identified as preferred locations for new homes, job growth and other investment, or that are near transit hubs.

The HIP commitment includes $46 million in state funds administered by MTC through the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP) plus $30 million in flexible federal funds through the second round of the Commission's One Bay Area Grant (OBAG 2) program.

As part of the HIP initiative, MTC is establishing a pilot program through which cities and counties can compete for $5 million in grants for infrastructure improvements around affordable housing developments. The Commission and staff in partnership with county congestion management agencies will develop guidelines for this program over the coming months.

The remaining $71 million of HIP money will be distributed on a per-unit basis to the 15 jurisdictions that issue certificates of occupancy for the greatest number of eligible housing units -- both newly-built and preserved as affordable to low-, very-low- and moderate-income households over the five calendar years 2018 through 2022. These grants will be awarded only after the fifth year of the HIP time period.

"The idea is to incentivize the construction and preservation of (affordable) housing," said Steve Heminger, executive director of both MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). "We are trying to encourage...whoever can do it, large (jurisdiction) or small."

MTC and ABAG established several other eligibility criteria for the HIP program as well:
- Preserved affordable housing units must either be subsidized multifamily properties that have been identified by the California Housing Partnership Corp. as being at high or very-high risk of conversion to market-rate rents, or multifamily properties with affordable-but-unrestricted rents on which new long-term rent restrictions have been placed.
- A preserved affordable housing unit with deed restrictions running at least 55 years will be counted as one HIP unit. Units with shorter-term deed restrictions will receive a pro-rated share of a single HIP unit based on this 55-year standard.
- Newly-constructed units must be deed-restricted for continued affordability to low-, very-low or moderate-income households.
- To be eligible for HIP funding, each city or county must have its overall Housing Elements certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and also demonstrate compliance with state housing laws related to surplus lands, accessory dwelling units and density bonuses. Self-certification through a local resolution is allowed to demonstrate compliance with these final three requirements.

Cities and counties looking to ensure that housing units can count toward HIP are encouraged to contact Gillian Adams of the ABAG-MTC staff at 415.820.7911 or by email at for more information.

Posted Monday, October 15, 2018

ABAG Guide shows ways to lessen damage in a major temblor

An online tool is now available to help residents identify potential earthquake-related damage to their homes and provides information on how to gird against the next big temblor.

The Earthquake Home Quiz can be accessed at ABAG's Resilience Program's website at, along with a downloadable PDF of the Earthquake Field Guide to help assess potential impacts of earthquakes. The new Earthquake Field Guide is being released to coincide with the 10th Annual Great California ShakeOut on Oct. 18, a statewide preparedness event.

"The time to prepare is now," said David Rabbitt, ABAG president and member of the California Seismic Safety Commission. "We are in earthquake country and it's just a matter of time before we are affected in some way, whether small or large. The quiz is an engaging, new way to see what the effects might be and lays the groundwork for preparedness."

The U.S. Geological Survey has determined there is a 72 percent of at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater striking somewhere in the Bay Area in the next 30 years. It's the continual movement of the Earth's plates against each other that causes energy to build. When the plates slip, energy is released and earthquakes result. In the Bay Area's case, it's the Pacific Plate moving northwest past the North American Plate that puts pressure along the faults in the region.

The quiz allows residents to gain insight into seismic safety, whether they are in a single-family home, apartment building or mobile home. The types of housing in the region are as diverse as the Bay Area itself and the quiz allows residents to explore the resilience of their particular type of home.

The release of these online tools come in the wake of updated ABAG estimates of housing losses in the region as a result of a large-scale earthquake. The ABAG data tell a compelling and personal story about the Bay Area's potential future after an earthquake: How many buildings will be damaged? How many households will be displaced? And how many residents will be seeking shelter? Visit to review the findings and connect with the data behind the numbers.

ABAG's newest estimates of housing losses provide a significant update to the last such data released in 2003 with the latest figures reflecting current housing stock and the Bay Areas present population.

The figures use the most recent modeling techniques to identify potential residential housing losses for 16 plausible earthquake scenarios in the Bay Area. Under the most dramatic scenario, a 7.8 magnitude quake along all the northern segments of the San Andreas Fault, 68,900 residential buildings would be rendered uninhabitable, while causing $28.4 billion in residential building damage alone.

Under this scenario, San Mateo would have the largest number of uninhabitable residential buildings at 19,300; followed by San Francisco at 18,300; Santa Clara at 15,500; Alameda at 8,300; Marin at 3,100; Sonoma at 2,400; Contra Costa at 1,400; Solano at 400; and Napa at 200. In all 68,900 buildings would be uninhabitable.

Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bay Area Permitted More Housing in 2017, But Acute Shortfall of Affordable Housing Persists
ABAG Releases 2017 Permit Data via Online Housing Data Portal

New data on reveals Bay Area cities and counties permitted 27,103 new housing units in 2017, more than either 2016 (20,868) or 2015 (20,495); but only 18 percent of these units were for very-low-, low- or moderate-income residents -- far below the 58 percent required by the state's Housing and Community Development Department. A new report summarizing the 2017 data, is available on as Bay Area Housing Permit Activity Report, 2015-2017.

"With this new data, we can clearly see that more housing development is on the way, but we're still far behind in meeting the housing demand for all income levels," commented ABAG President and Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt. "The work that is being done at ABAG and at MTC in the Committee to House the Bay Area, known as CASA, is urgently needed to bring Bay Area leaders together to solve this problem."

The housing data portal now includes complete datasets for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; and will continue to be updated to incorporate cities' and counties' housing permit and policy activities from 2018 as well as future years. These datasets provide a resource to shape both the development and evaluation of Bay Area governments' housing policies, and will help support the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)'s funding initiatives.

These initiatives include the One Bay Area Grant program and the new Housing Incentive Pool challenge grant program that are linked to cities' and counties' results in permitting, producing and preserving housing. MTC established the Housing Incentive Pool to reward local governments that permit or preserve the greatest number of housing units at the moderate-, low- and very-low income levels.

Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Workforce and Affordable Housing Opportunities on Public Lands

Transit-Oriented Development
The Bay Area has some of the highest housing costs in the nation, and the construction of affordable housing has long fallen short of regional needs. One way to help solve this problem is to build more housing near transit services for lower- and moderate-income residents. MTC in 2016 launched a study to assess the potential for transit-oriented housing development on parcels that are:

Owned by public agencies
Located in Priority Development Areas and within a half-mile of rail stations or along select bus corridors
Suitable for development of new housing affordable to residents with middle- and lower-income jobs.

MTC in September 2018 finalized an action plan for the Public Lands Study, with a downloadable database of the nearly 700 publicly-held parcels identified and an interactive Web map. Visit the site at

Posted Friday, September 21, 2018

New Joint ABAG MTC Awards Program - Bay Area Metro Awards Launched

What projects, people or programs are making a real difference to solve the Bay Area's housing and transportation problems? Is there a local government agency or other organization that has helped streamline your commute, boost smart growth, preserve natural habitat or support affordable housing in your community? Are you impressed by someone's work to make streets safer for school kids, by local efforts to calm busy streets or to promote social equity? Is your bus driver exceptionally friendly and helpful?

The Association of Bay Area Governments' (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC) new Bay Area Metro Awards program honors the often-unsung heroes doing the hard work to improve our region's mobility, affordability and community; and to recognize efforts that make the Bay Area a better place to live, work and play.

The opening of the nomination window for the 2018-19 Bay Area Metro Awards marks the first time ABAG and MTC have teamed up to honor the region's difference makers. Past ABAG and MTC awards programs separately honored individuals, projects, local governments and organizations that have made a positive impact on transportation, housing and sustainability in the nine-county region. Winners have included Mid-Pen, Union City and Eden Housing for their affordable transit-oriented development projects; San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind and Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute for developing braille and tactile BART maps; the Santa Clara Valley Resource Plan or Habitat Plan for wildlife conservation efforts; and a local program known as Transportation YOU for mentoring and encouraging disadvantaged girls to enter the transportation field.

Nominations for the Bay Area Metro Awards can be submitted here. The deadline for submissions is Friday, November 16, 2018. Winners will be selected by a jury representing ABAG, MTC and the community. A recognition ceremony is planned for May 2019.

The nomination form is available Please email or call Leah Zippert, 415/820-7995, or Terry Lee, 415/778-5352, with questions or for more information.

Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Horizon Perspective Paper Previewed at Joint ABAG Administrative Committee and MTC Planning Committee

The ABAG Administrative Committee and the MTC Planning Committee are meeting on Friday, September 14th to preview Perspective Paper #2 Preview: Toward a Shared Future: Strategies to Reduce Congestion and to get an update on the Integrated Regional Planning Program (IRPP) Strategic Plan.

Second in a series, Toward a Shared Future: Strategies to Reduce Congestion is part of the Horizon initiative, promoting the exploration of innovative strategies and solutions for issue areas that have been outside of the scope of past Plan Bay Area long-range planning processes. The primary objective of each Perspective Paper will be to identify high-impact policies related to that topic area that support the region's Guiding Principles.

To view the joint committee meeting agenda and the report, visit and for more information about Horizon, visit

Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Housing Data Available Via Vital Signs

New data released by ABAG and MTC as part of the agencies' Vital Signs performance-monitoring initiative show the nine-county Bay Area's housing stock increased by only 14,900 new units -- the vast majority of which are apartments or condominiums -- in 2017. The number of newly-built housing units is less than 30 percent of the 52,700 new jobs estimated by the California Employment Development Department to have been added in the Bay Area last year. This imbalance between supply and demand, exacerbated by last year's North Bay wildfires that destroyed nearly 4,500 single-family homes in Sonoma and Napa counties, has tightened the region's chronic housing crunch and reinforced the Bay Area's position as one of the nation's most expensive places to live.

The addition of housing production data marks the latest evolution of the three-year-old Vital Signs website, which has long provided information on the numbers of permits for new housing projects issued by Bay Area cities and counties. Other findings from the newly released Vital Signs housing indicators include:
- Multifamily housing accounted for 70 percent of the 21,000 units permitted by Bay Area municipalities in 2016.
- Permits for single-family homes largely have stagnated since 2008, with some 5,000 permits issued regionwide each year. Meanwhile, permits for multifamily projects nearly doubled to 15,000 units in 2016 from 8,000 units in 2009.
- Multifamily projects in San Francisco and San Jose have dominated Bay Area housing production since the end of the Great Recession, with the region's two largest cities adding nearly 42,000 new units -- or roughly 40 percent of all new Bay Area housing -- since 2010.

Housing production numbers and housing permit statistics both are indicators of where the Bay Area is growing. Permit data is a forward-looking signal of where future growth can be expected, while production data -- which reflect the regional development climate and barriers to construction as well as demand for new housing -- tracks where development actually has occurred.

The Vital Signs website (

Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2018

New Wildfire Resources Available

New Wildfire White Paper developed by the ABAG and MTC Resilience Program explores the strategies communities currently use to mitigate wildfire risk. Available at, the paper characterizes wildfire hazard in the region, assesses existing wildfire hazard maps, and includes a literature review of Bay Area fire planning documents. A suite of appendices provide links to resources to support communities engaged in wildfire mitigation efforts in their communities. In addition to the paper, a searchable database of wildfire mitigation strategies is also available showcasing the 350+ strategies discussed in the 15 reviewed Bay Area fire planning documents. Resources are available at

The White Paper is a resource for Bay Area communities to better understand wildland fire risks. Wildfires are common in the Bay Area — in the past 60 years the region has experienced over 500 wildfires. The vast majority are contained and extinguished quickly, but the region also has a history of fast moving and dangerous wildfires. Most recently a collection of 2017 North Bay Fires killed 31 residents within the nine-county Bay Area region and destroyed 8,000 structures. In 1991, fires in the East Bay hills resulted in 25 deaths and the loss of over 3,000 homes. To address wildfire risks, communities across the Bay Area have adopted plans and continue to implement strategies to reduce the exposure of communities to wildfire risks, and should an uncontrollable fire occur, reduce the consequences to people, property and the environment.

Posted Monday, August 20, 2018

ABAG Executive Board Takes an Oppose Position on Prop 6

ABAG Executive Board took an "oppose" stance on Proposition 6, a measure on November ballots across California that would repeal a state gas tax increase and other transportation fees enacted by the state Legislature in 2017 via Senate Bill 1. In addition to canceling all revenue sources added by SB 1, including over $200 million per year for pothole repairs across the Bay Area, Proposition 6 dictates that any tax on motor vehicle fuel or vehicles themselves must be subject to a vote of the people, retroactive to January 1, 2017. As a result, Proposition 6 would not only cut funding in the near term, it would make it very difficult to replace the lost funds in the future.

In taking an oppose position on Proposition 6 in a unanimous vote at its bi-monthly meeting on July 19, 2018, ABAG joins a broad coalition of public safety, environmental, business and social justice groups along with dozens of local governments that have come out against the measure.

"In round numbers, the threatened SB 1 funding is about half of local governments' streets and roads money from the state," said Randy Rentschler, ABAG's director of Legislation and Public Affairs. "The stakes are high."

Enacted in April 2017, Senate Bill 1 is seen as a landmark transportation funding bill that provides approximately $5 billion per year in ongoing funding for transportation after decades of underinvestment by the state. The primary goal of SB 1 is to restore the condition of the state highway system and local streets and roads after decades of deferred maintenance that has caused billions of dollars in accumulated maintenance shortfalls.
While state and local roadway maintenance receives the vast majority of SB 1 funds, the bill also provides vital new funding for better public transit options, congestion reduction and bike and pedestrian safety.

What's at Stake
Passage of Proposition 6 and the resulting repeal of SB 1 would not only put portions of funding for local streets and roads in peril, but also would imperil plans for replacing worn-out transit vehicles and other basic needs of the Bay Area's aging transit systems. During the ABAG General Assembly, President Rabbitt described the possible impact and referenced a handout in in the GA packet discussing what each of jurisdictions has to lose if the repeal passes. Take a look at the updated handout

Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ABAG and MTC Executive Director Steven Heminger Announces Retirement

Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) since 2001 and of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) since July 2017, today notified the Commission's Executive Committee that he will retire from both positions on February 28, 2019.

A committee of elected officials will guide selection of Heminger's successor.

Heminger, 58, has served as MTC's Executive Director since 2001. He joined the MTC staff in 1993 as manager of Legislation and Public Affairs, and was elevated to deputy executive director in 1999 before assuming the top staff position two years later.

MTC is the transportation planning, funding and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG is the regional planning agency for the Bay Area's nine counties and 101 cities and town, and is recognized as the first council of governments in California.

Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Special Issue of Estuary News - Deep Dive into Resilient by Design

Estuary News Banner
The latest special issue of ESTUARY News magazine, takes a deep dive into the 2017-2018 Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge.

- Read stories about how nine Bay communities, infrastructure, and flood facilities can adapt to the nearly new normal — a one to six-foot rise in sea level by 2100, with accelerating rates of rise mid-century.
- Get answers to questions about regional governance, integrated permitting, and financing for restoration and adaptation.

View the June 2018 Estuary News PDF at

Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Video Highlights from ABAG Spring General Assembly

Nearly 150 attendees from local governments throughout the nine county San Francisco Bay Area attended the ABAG Spring 2018 General Assembly and Business Meeting on May 31, 2018. View the highlight video, along with other conference materials at

The General Assembly brings together ABAG's member towns, cities and counties once a year to review and approve the Association's budget and work program for the coming fiscal year, as well as to discuss urgent policy issues facing the region.

The overarching theme of this year's program was resilience. Major topics covered included recovery lessons from the North Bay Wildfires, adaptation strategies for floods and sea level rise, earthquake preparedness, and energy programs.

Representatives from 59 cities and five counties, sufficient to meet quorum requirements, attended the Business Meeting portion of the program, which gave approval to ABAG's annual general budget and updated its bylaws. Video of this meeting can be viewed at

Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2018

May Map of the Month: When Will Bay Area Cities Reach Plan Bay Area 2040 Housing Targets?

May's Map of the Month from ABAG and MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger looks at what year cities around the Bay Area are anticipated to reach their housing growth forecasts, assuming the annualized housing production rate since 2010 doesn't change. More at

Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Bay Area's Fastest Growing Cities and Towns

The Census Bureau last week released 2017 population estimates for the nation's cities and towns, showing that cities in the South (especially Texas) and the West are posting the largest gains.

What about closer to home here in the Bay Area? Which jurisdictions are seeing the fastest growth in percentage terms and which jurisdictions are seeing the largest numeric increases in population? Although none of the nine county region's cities and towns made any of the nationwide "Top 15" lists, a number of locations saw steady or even - dare we say it - moderate growth.

Since 2016, this population growth, both numerically and in percentage terms, has been especially concentrated in Solano, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

As shown in the below table, jurisdictions posting population increases of approximately three percent or more since 2016 include Rio Vista (Solano County), Gilroy (Santa Clara County), Newark (Alameda County), and Brentwood (Contra Costa County). Approximately three-quarters of these Top 15 fastest-growing locations are in either the East Bay or Solano County.

Top 15 fastest growing cities and towns
Source: U.S. Census 2017 Population Estimates

Share of Top 15 Fastest Growing Bay Area Cities and Towns by County

Solano 27%
Contra Costa 27%
Alameda 20%
San Mateo 13%
Santa Clara 13%

In terms of the largest numeric population gains, jurisdictions posting increases of 2,000 or more residents since 2016 include the region's three largest cities (San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose) as well as Gilroy, as shown in the below table. As with the jurisdictions seeing the fastest percentage growth, approximately three-quarters of the Top 15 locations seeing the largest growth are in either the East Bay or Solano County.

Top 15 largest growing cities and towns
Source: U.S. Census 2017 Population Estimates

Share of Top 15 Bay Area Cities and Towns With the Largest Population Increase by County

Alameda 33%
Contra Costa 20%
Solano 20%
Santa Clara 13%
San Francisco 7%
San Mateo 7%

Finally, the below table lists the Top 15 most populous Bay Area cities and towns as of 2017. There are no major surprises here, although it is noteworthy that some of these cities - such as Richmond, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale and Daly City - are barely growing or even declining in population. Importantly, these population estimates from the Census Bureau do not take into account the North Bay Wildfires of last fall, which means Santa Rosa's current population is likely even lower than figure presented here.

Top 15 Largest cities and towns
Source: U.S. Census 2017 Population Estimates

To find out more about changes in your own community, visit American Fact Finder on the Census website, .

Posted Friday, April 20, 2018

New Resources Available to Assist In Building Bay Area Community and Business Resilience

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its many partners, including the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), unveiled a new scenario and public outreach campaign to showcase what could happen during a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area along the Hayward Fault and help the public to prepare for and recover from an earthquake. The HayWired Earthquake Scenario is intended to building awareness of earthquake risk. The campaign is to help Bay Area residents understand what they can do to mitigate the impact of an earthquake, and how to bounce back once the shaking stops. The public-engagement campaign - Outsmart Disaster - offers many resources, including a new fact sheet, on-line at

"ABAG is pleased to have worked with USGS and the other partners to develop the Haywired Scenario. Being able to share the potential impacts, before it happens, can help our cities, towns and counties to be better prepared. Bay Area residents now have access to the latest science in their efforts to become even better prepared," said Supervisor David Rabbitt, ABAG President and California Seismic Safety Commissioner.

ABAG Resilience Program
The ABAG Resilience Program has been focused on developing resources for Bay Area residents and jurisdictions for over 40 years. The agency has a number of key resources to help jurisdictions address earthquake risks, available on the Resilience website. The Joint ABAG/Metropolitan Transportation Commission Integrated Regional Planning Program is a HayWired Project Partner. Agency staff researched the economic impact of the scenario, and also have shared early lessons at meetings of Bay Area cities.

"As the Executive Director of MTC-ABAG, I am pleased to commit that we will continue the Resilience Program's work, such as participating in HayWired's development," commented Steve Heminger, MTC-ABAG Executive Director. Heminger added, "We will continue to support the region in preparing for the next big earthquake. We will continue to strengthen local, regional, state and federal partnerships to bring more resources to the region to expand resilience actions. The regional agencies are here to support action by Bay Area communities."

What is the HayWired Scenario? And Why?
The HayWired Scenario is a highly detailed and scientifically realistic depiction of what may happen during and after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault with an epicenter in Oakland. Understanding the risk and getting ready for a large earthquake on the Hayward Fault like the one depicted in this scenario can help at-risk communities prepare for similar events that are possible in their area.

Without good communications, emergency-response will be hampered and life-saving response functions can be compromised. "HayWired" was chosen for the scenario to emphasize the need to examine our interconnectedness and reliance on telecommunications and other lifelines such as water and electricity.

HayWired Earthquake Scenario
The newly released USGS Fact Sheet, "The HayWired Earthquake Scenario - We Can Outsmart Disaster," provides a concise overview of what will be a multi-volume report. The Fact Sheet distills key points of the report and provides the first glimpse of a truly groundbreaking study into earthquake hazard impacts, mitigation efforts, and resiliency actions for communities in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Without good communications, emergency-response efficiency is reduced, and as a result, life-saving response functions can be compromised. "HayWired" was chosen for the scenario to emphasize the need to examine our interconnectedness and reliance on telecommunications and other lifelines such as water and electricity.

ABAG encourages members to share the Outsmart Disaster website with their residents and local businesses -

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