The 6 Wins for Social Equity Network (6 Wins) developed the Equity, Environment and Jobs (EEJ) scenario for Plan Bay Area. The EEJ clearly demonstrates that a regional policy agenda driven by grassroots, community-identified needs is not only the most equitable plan but also the most beneficial for Bay Area residents. Urban Habitat, working with 6 Wins allies Public Advocates and others, developed EEJ as an alternative to the planning scenario created by regional agency staff and elected officials. Working with members of the Transportation Justice Working Group, we created a plan that was supported by over forty Bay Area organizations. It shifted over $8 billion from highways and transit capital projects to transit service improvements for those who rely most on public transportation. This included $3.3 billion for more transit service (37% more transit service than the plan proposed by staff), funding for a free regional youth bus program, and the restoration of bus service for transit-dependent populations. The EEJ also increases affordable housing across the Bay Area, especially in communities with good air quality, jobs, quality schools, and parks.
When the EEJ was studied by regional planning agency staff, the results were clear. Compared to other proposed planning scenarios, the EEJ:
- Met the primary goal of SB 375: It created the greatest reductions in regional greenhouse gas emissions.
- Made the deepest cuts in combined regional housing and transportations costs and reduced the displacement risk for renters by 42%.
- Reduced more pollution that leads to asthma and other respiratory diseases.
- Shifted the highest number of Bay Area residents from driving to transit, walking, and biking, thereby increasing physical activity and addressing public health issues such as obesity.
In June 2013, over forty 6 Wins organizations participated in the Bay Area’s Regional Education and Advocacy Day. We reached Metropolitan Transportation (MTC) Commissioners and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Executive Board members in their home districts across the region. This first-ever regional advocacy event had a major impact on the final July 2013 vote for Plan Bay Area. While MTC and ABAG did not adopt the EEJ scenario, they did pass three important amendments that are rooted in the EEJ. These amendments:
- Commit MTC to adopt a comprehensive strategy to develop a regional funding program to increase local transit operations.
- Commit the region to an inclusive public process to set priorities for $3.1 billion in Cap and Trade revenue, with an explicit focus on benefits to disadvantaged communities as required by SB 535.
- Move the One Bay Area Grant program, or OBAG, closer to the 6 Wins goal of tying regional funding and grants for transit-oriented development to the adoption of local anti-displacement measures and affordable housing production.
The EEJ campaign showed concretely how community-identified policy needs create the best-performing regional plan for the environment, equity and jobs. The campaign will continue as the 6 Wins Network works to implement the amendments we won and advance local transit funding, land-use, and housing campaigns throughout the Bay Area.