Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities
Releases Draft Guidelines
September 30, 2014
California is on the cutting edge of cap and trade program development. These programs incentivize polluters to reduce carbon emissions to stay below a predetermined “cap” and allow them to “trade” their surplus allowances to other polluters for money. Governor Brown has been an advocate of cap and trade on all levels, including an appeal to world leaders at the recent United Nations summit in New York. According to the Sacramento Bee, Brown called climate change an “existential threat” to humanity and said that “It’s real, it’s here, and we’ve got to put a price on carbon.”
Recently, the Strategic Growth Council, charged with administering a portion of California’s cap and trade funds, released draft guidelines for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC). The final document, expected in December of this year, will govern $120 million in program awards to support affordable housing developments (either for rent or for purchase), housing-related infrastructure, transit and active transportation infrastructure, programs to increase transit ridership, and green infrastructure, among other programs.
The AHSC draft guildelines propose to disperse the funds to local public agencies under two categories: Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Project Area and Integrated Connectivity Project (ICP). Rural communities are largely excluded from TOD funds since the projects must be within transit oriented development areas with “High Quality Transit” already in place, which are often located in urban settings. However, the ICP eligibility will help promote connectivity between land uses and improve transit access and service within non-metropolitan areas. An estimated 30% of the funding available will qualify under this designation and ideally, will allow rural communities to benefit from cap and trade funds while investing in local green infrastructure, transit, and affordable housing developments.