News at ABAG

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 -

Posted Thursday, April 12, 2018

$18 Million in Measure AA Funding Allocated to Restoration Projects in the San Francisco Bay

On April 11, the Governing Board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority approved eight grants totaling nearly $18 million for wetland restoration in the Bay funded by Measure AA, the San Francisco Bay Clean Water, Pollution Prevention and Habitat Restoration Measure. The eight grants approved provide multiple benefits, and prioritize nature-based solutions to create flood protection and public access, in addition to the primary aim of restoring habitat and natural processes.

Full details on each project can be found in the meeting agenda posted here:

The next RFP will be announced in Fall 2018; federal, state, and local agencies; tribal governments; nonprofit organizations; and owners or operators of shoreline parcels in the San Francisco Bay Area, excluding the Delta primary zone are encouraged to apply! To stay informed about future Restoration Authority grant rounds, please sign up for the mailing list here:

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Staff Dispatch: Learning From the Mexico City Earthquake, by Dana Brechwald

* First in an occasional series of dispatches from MTC and ABAG staff about their experiences out in the field. From the Bay Link Blog.

On September 19, 2017, Mexico City experienced a damaging magnitude 7.1 earthquake, resulting in the deaths of 228 people and the collapse of 44 buildings. The 2017 earthquake occurred on the 35th anniversary of another deadly earthquake in the city that killed nearly 10,000 people.

Due to geological, building construction and social factors, Mexico City is highly vulnerable to earthquakes. Much of the city sits on an ancient lake bed that has been drained over the last several centuries to accommodate the city's expansion. This geology leads to significant subsidence and loose soils, which worsens ground shaking and can cause liquefaction in earthquake events.

In addition, although Mexico's current building codes are similar to those in the Bay Area, many existing buildings date back decades or centuries, before these codes were in place. Nearly 60 percent of residential buildings are self-built without permits or inspections, meaning they don't comply with any codes at all. Many of these residents are also highly vulnerable due to their social status — they often lack savings, insurance, secure jobs or even legal rights to their own homes.

For the remainder of the dispatch, visit

Posted Thursday, March 29, 2018

SAVE THE DATE for Building a Resilient Region, ABAG General Assembly and Business Meeting

This conference provides an opportunity to discuss how to build greater resilience as a region to better meet expected challenges, including hazards and climate events. This meeting includes the annual Business Meeting, which requires a quorum of ABAG delegates and alternates.

Agenda and Registration will be available in early April at:

ABAG General Assembly and Business Meeting
MAY 31, 2018
9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Yerba Buena Room
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2018

2018 Another Active Year for Housing Legislation

Adapted from a post originally published on The Bay Link, the joint blog of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

Last year was a very active year for housing legislation in California, with approval of a housing package that included new funding for affordable housing as well as some modest regulatory changes. It appears, however, this may have just been a warm-up act for 2018. Currently, there are nearly 20 different major housing bills under consideration by lawmakers in the state's capitol. Outside organizations are also organizing to place various housing-related measures on the statewide ballot in November 2018.

The blog post, provides an overview of these various bills and initiatives and discusses key policy considerations for ABAG and MTC in light of regional goals, particularly those articulated in Plan Bay Area 2040, the nine-county Bay Area's long-range transportation and land use plan jointly adopted by both agencies in July 2017.

A table presented in a recent Joint ABAG/MTC Legislative Committee memo summarizes the major bills legislative staff are monitoring (for more information, including additional impact analysis, read this memo). It's important to note that much of this is still preliminary and a lot could change over the coming months. A policy discussion follows the table.

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2018

HayWired Earthquake Scenario Release on April 18th -- Assist In Building Bay Area Community and Business Resilience

The HayWired Scenario is a scientific, realistic and quantitative depiction of a magnatude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault with an epicenter in Oakland. Developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this scenario aims to improve the communication and use of earthquake hazard, early warning and aftershock forecast information, as well as inform building codes, build community capacity and foster business continuity planning.

The HayWired Scenario will be released to the public on April 18th, 2018 with a press event at U.C. Berkeley's California Memorial Stadium. The Hayward Fault runs directly underneath the stadium and the Fault is shown in the stadium wall and turf. The release of the HayWired Scenario also marks the beginning of the HayWired Public Engagement Campaign, known as Outsmart Disaster.

To find out more about the HayWired Scenario visit ABAG encourages members to share the Outsmart Disaster website with their residents and local businesses.

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. For more information on earthquake resources visit:

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2018

New Research on Seismic Risk Available

Staff from ABAG/MTC and the U.S. Geological Survey presented new research on the Bay Area's seismic riskat the Regional Planning Committee meeting. Planners detailed residential building damage estimates and displacement risk for 16 scenario earthquakes.

Presentations focused on housing damage and the direct and cascading impacts of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Hayward Fault and responsive actions the region can take to reduce risk and increase capacity to address a range of earthquake impacts. For more information, visit the Resilience program website.

Posted Monday, March 12, 2018

Call for Applications to Serve on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority - Share with Your Residents

Due March 30, 2018

Measure AA is expected to generate $25 million annually for Bay restoration over the next 20 years.

Funding from this measure will allow for the restoration of thousands of acres of natural habitat for wildlife, support our local economy, improve access to public lands, address flooding issues, and create thousands of new jobs.

The Authority's Governing Board seeks six individuals to serve on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.

The Committee has three main roles:

  1. Annually review the Authority's conformance with Measure AA;

  2. Review the Authority's audits and expenditure and financial reports; and

  3. Publish an annual report of its findings, which will be posted on the Authority's website.

The Board seeks committee members from all four Bay Area regions and with special subject matter expertise.
Subject Matter Expertise: Each member of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee must possess expertise in one or more of the following subject matters:

Factors that Determine Ineligibility for Membership: No person may serve on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee who:

Apply to serve on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee by March 30, 2018.

For more information, visit the SF Bay Restoration Authority's website ( or contact Karen McDowell, Project Manager, SF Bay Restoration Authority, at or 415-778-6685.

Posted Friday, March 2, 2018

Help Us Plan the Future of the Bay Area!

Adapted from a post originally published on The Bay Link, the joint blog of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

What should the San Francisco Bay Area of the future look like? Thinking about the year 2050, what would you like to see change about the Bay Area? What would you like to see stay the same?

ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) want to hear from Bay Area residents as the two partner agencies develop a blueprint for how our region lives, works and plays in the decades ahead. What will the Bay Area look like in 2050? Residents are invited to share their thoughts by taking this brief survey.

Input received through this survey will be used to define the Guiding Principles for an exciting new initiative, tentatively called Futures, launched by ABAG and MTC earlier this month. This effort will allow planners, policymakers and the public to wrestle with challenging questions about the forces that could shape the Bay Area through 2050. Learn more about the Futures initiative in this post on The Bay Link blog.

Members of the public are invited to share their ideas for how to make the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area a better place to live for people from all walks of life. Residents also are encouraged to share the online survey with their networks — it is available in English, Spanish and Chinese and will be open through March 31, 2018.

Lastly, for those interested in staying up-to-date on each stage of this planning effort and how the public can get involved in the process, residents can sign up for the Futures mailing list.

Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Online Housing Policy and Data Explorer

Housing is a significant issue for the San Francisco Bay Area. A new online housing data portal is now available to easily access Bay Area housing permit activity and data about local housing policies adoption. Visit to see how many housing building permits have been issued and the housing policies adopted in the 101 cities and towns and nine counties of the Bay Area.

Housing Permit Activity
The data portal maps all permits issued from 2014 to 2016. The permit explorer allows users to filter data by the permit issue year, affordability level, and housing type (singlefamily, multi-family, Accessory Dwelling Unit, etc.). Users can view these details for each new development. The explorer also allows users to see developments in relation to specific identified areas, including Priority Development Areas (PDAs), Transit Priority Areas (TPAs), and Housing Element Opportunity Sites. Housing Element Opportunity Sites are identified by cities, towns, and counties during the Housing Element update process.

Housing Policy Directory and Toolkit
Users of the data portal will be able to see at a glance which Bay Area jurisdictions that responded to the survey have adopted a particular policy and be able to easily access more details about different policy options, including links to a toolkit of best practices and model ordinances. The purpose of the policy directory and toolkit is to facilitate regional information sharing that helps jurisdictions better address their communities' housing needs.

Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 Joint ABAG/MTC Advocacy Program Approved

At the January 18th Executive Board meeting, the ABAG Executive Board approved the 2018 Joint Advocacy Program for ABAG and MTC. The Advocacy Program details issues, goals and strategies at both the state and federal levels to support the activities of both ABAG and MTC. The Advocacy Program is available here. Additional information is available here here.

Posted Friday, January 26, 2018

MTC and ABAG Launch "The Bay Link," A Joint Daily Blog

MTC and ABAG are excited to announce the launch of the The Bay Link, a joint blog that will provide news, views and analysis on topics of regional interest, including housing, land use, transportation, economic development, social equity, the environment, sustainability, climate change and resilience. Bay Link is available at

Consider The Bay Link the latest in the agencies' ongoing efforts to "Be Regionable." Readers will find links to the day's most interesting headlines; MTC and ABAG's Executive Director's Map of the Month; video updates on major regional projects and initiatives; the latest online articles, studies and reports curated by the MTC-ABAG Library; tips on what's on the agencies' meeting agendas; and round-ups of major MTC Commission and ABAG Executive Board actions.

Below is a sampling of recent posts to help orient new visitors to the site:

Housing and the Economy

Record Low Unemployment Across (Much of) the Bay Area, and the Delicate Policy Dance That Follows
Regional Economic Divergence and the Conundrums of Prosperity; ABAG's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
CASA: Drafting a Blueprint for a Better Bay Area
Transportation Funding, Policy and Research

New BART Train Cars Are Rolling into Service
MTC Approves $386 Million for 180 Projects Across the Region Through the OBAG 2 County Program
Participatory Budgeting: A Proposed MTC Pilot Project and a Brief Lit Review
The End of the Automotive Era?
Resilience and the Environment

San Francisco Estuary Partnership Newsletter, Bay Area Water Trail Maps Now Available
Resilient By Design | Bay Area Challenge: 10 Teams, 32 Ideas to Address Climate Change
Agency News

"The Nobility of Public Service" - MTC Commissioners Honor the Late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
Honors, Awards and Deals of the Year - Oh My! 2017 in Review

Readers may comment on individual posts or send a message to for general inquiries.

MTC and ABAG are partner regional agencies that work together to make the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area more livable and sustainable. MTC is the nine county Bay Area's transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency and ABAG is the Bay Area's regional planning agency and council of governments.

Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Regional Agencies Invite Public Comment As Planned U.S. 101 Upgrades on Peninsula Take Shape

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) today released proposed draft amendments to the long-range regional transportation and land use plan known as Plan Bay Area 2040 and to the 2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that would modify the scope and projected cost of the planned U.S. Highway 101 Managed Lanes Project in San Mateo County. MTC and ABAG invite Bay Area residents to comment on the draft amendments. Comments must be received no later than Wednesday, February, 21, 2018.

Additional information is available at

Interested residents may go to (link is external)and click on the links in the "Related Documents" box to review the proposed draft amendments and other pertinent materials. Written comments may be addressed to MTC-ABAG Project Manager Adam Noelting at 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94015. Comments also may be sent via e-mail to or by fax at 415.536.9800.

Posted Friday, January 19, 2018

New ABAG President and Vice President

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) last night installed Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt as its new president and swore in Palo Alto Councilmember Greg Scharff to serve as the regional planning agency and council of governments' new vice president. Both will serve two-year terms extending to January 2020.

Rabbitt, who had served two consecutive terms as ABAG Vice President, replaces outgoing two-term president Julie Pierce, who continues to serve as a member of the ABAG Executive Board and the Clayton City Council. "Julie has done an incredible job of marshaling scores of local governments big and small into a unified team eager to tackle the housing challenges and other cross-jurisdictional issues that have been magnified by the Bay Area's current wave of prosperity," noted Rabbitt. "These are longstanding challenges that will continue even as our economic growth inevitably begins to slow. I am honored and humbled to accept the responsibility of sustaining this cooperative regional spirit in the years to come."

Rabbitt brings a history of public service to the regional leadership position. He was first elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in 2010, after having previously served as Vice Mayor of Petaluma and as a member of the Petaluma City Council. In addition to serving as a Sonoma County representative on the ABAG Executive Board, Rabbitt is currently serving on the State of California Seismic Safety Commission, representing local governments. He also has served on the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors; the San Francisco Bay Water Emergency Transit Authority (WETA)'s Community Advisory Board; the North Bay Water Reuse Authority; and the Sonoma County Employee Retirement Association. He also has spent years as a baseball and soccer coach, and as a board member for both the Sonoma County Alliance Soccer Club and the Petaluma National Little League. Supervisor Rabbitt works as an architect, earning his degree at the University of Oregon. He lives in Petaluma with his wife Jane and three children.

New ABAG Vice President Greg Scharff is an attorney who has lived in Palo Alto since 1988. He was first elected to the Palo Alto City Council in 2009 and has served on the Santa Clara County Cities Association since 2011. Scharff earned a B.A. degree with honors from Bowdoin College in Maine and his J.D. degree at the Columbia University School of Law.

Posted Thursday, January 18, 2018

Call for Grant Applications

ABAG-MTC Grant applications are now available for PDA Planning, PDA Technical Assistance and PDA Staffing Assistance programs. The complete program guidelines and applications are available online at

Applications are due March 5, 2018 by 4PM. Pre-application workshops were held in San Francisco and San Jose. A video of Pre-Application Workshop more information available at

Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On Friday, December 22nd, a number of new federal tax provisions became law. These changes will affect individuals, corporations and the work many of you do in the public sector as well. The attached chart compares major transportation and housing-related provisions in the final bill with House and Senate-passed tax proposals and includes our analysis of some of these provisions.

The bill would reduce corporate tax rates from 35 to 21 percent, make changes to individual tax brackets, make the standard deduction and child tax credit more generous and repeal or limit a range of individual and business tax breaks to offset the cost of delivering tax cuts. Additionally, the bill would repeal the "individual mandate" to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The tax bill made changes to financing tools that could restrict California's ability to fund transportation projects and address the state's chronic housing shortage. The bill also reduced the value of homeownership incentives by capping the mortgage interest deduction at $750,000 and capping the state and local deduction at $10,000. These changes are expected to disproportionately affect Bay Area residents and other high-tax, high-income regions. However, the most concerning provision of the House bill — the proposed elimination of private activity bonds, which would have effectively eliminated access to 4% low-income housing tax credits — was stripped from the final compromise.

If you have any questions or we can provide any additional information, please reach out to Randy Rentschler ( or 415-778-6780, Rebecca Long ( or 415.778.5289) or Georgia Gann Dohrmann ( or 415.778.6623).

Federal Tax Bill Chart (PDF)

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