Realizing the East Bay's collective vision for the corridor calls for creative approaches to funding and new forms of collaboration. This section lays out several potential strategies to advance discussion. Moving forward, the Initiative can be a forum for developing more expansive, reliable funding sources for creating a network of vibrant PDAs.
State, federal and regional funding priorities are beginning to shift toward communities with rapid transit access and social, environmental, and economic need.
At the state level, this is reflected in the state's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (Cap and Trade) framework—which directs funding for housing, infrastructure and planning projects to places where residents drive less and consume less energy and water, and to places projected to grow in regional plans such as Plan Bay Area. In the Bay Area, these are the Priority Development Areas (PDAs). Cap and Trade funding is also prioritized for Disadvantaged Communities; in the Bay Area, these are concentrated in the inner East Bay.
At the federal level, this shift is reflected in the partnership between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation to fund regional projects aimed at creating Sustainable Communities such as the ongoing Bay Area Regional Prosperity Strategy led by MTC and ABAG.
And at the regional level, the shift is reflected in the prioritization of transportation funds and planning grants to projects in Priority Development Areas, as well as the passage of Measure BB by Alameda County voters and Measure J in Contra Costa County, which support a host of active transportation and rapid transit projects throughout the corridor.
Despite these shifting priorities, current funding is inadequate to meet the infrastructure needs of jurisdictions and the corridor as a whole. It also does not provide the resources needed to help produce the much-needed housing for low and middle income households not being built by the private market.
Even jurisdictions that receive significant grant funding through state, federal and regional sources will have only a fraction of the resources available in previous decades for revitalizing PDAs. Prior to dissolution in 2011 by the state, Redevelopment Agencies provided funding for infrastructure and affordable housing critical to realizing community plans for PDAs. Without them, cities and counties lack a reliable financing tool for meeting these needs.
Cutbacks in other federal and state funding for affordable housing and local economic development have exacerbated the loss of redevelopment. In addition, jurisdictions have still not recovered from cuts to government services during the Great Recession, creating challenges to investing in community infrastructure and programs as well as meeting ongoing operating costs for existing investments