Equity, Environment, and Jobs in Regional Planning
In 2011, the 6 Wins for Social Equity Network (6 Wins) developed the Equity, Environment and Jobs (EEJ) scenario for Plan Bay Area, the region’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The EEJ clearly demonstrated that policy solutions driven by grassroots, community-identified needs are the most equitable and beneficial. The plan was supported by over 40 organizations.
The EEJ was developed as an alternative to the planning scenario created by regional agency staff and elected officials. 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 plan also increased 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:
- 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, increasing physical activity and addressing public health issues such as obesity.
In June 2013, over 40 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 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 were:
- Committed MTC to adopt a comprehensive strategy to develop a regional funding program to increase local transit operations.
- Committed 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.
- Moved the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program 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 how community-identified policy needs create the best-performing regional plan for the environment, equity and jobs. The 6 Wins Network continues to implement the amendments we won and advance local transit funding, land-use, and housing campaigns at the regional level and locally throughout the Bay Area.