Bay Area city and county officials approved a massive plan last week that promises to turn the tide on gridlock traffic and high housing costs that have gone from bad to worse over the last decade. The long-range plan, known as Plan Bay Area 2040, provides the blueprint for how much housing would be needed — and where it ought to be built — to have sustainable growth across the Bay Area between now and 2040.
On a 41-2 vote, elected leaders serving on the executive board of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved the latest update to Plan Bay Area, which proposes a path where the region essentially builds its way out of the affordability crisis. The plan calls for 820,000 new homes — accompanied by 1.3 million new jobs — between 2010 and 2040, nearly half of which would be centrally located in the “Big 3” cities of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
If all goes according to plan, MTC staff predict the planned growth would go a long way toward reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and keep up with the housing demand that will come from expected job increases in the area.
The primary thrust of the plan is that the region needs to fix, or at least take the edge off, the growing housing crisis in the Bay Area. Data provided by ABAG shows that rental costs, adjusted for inflation, have nearly doubled in the Bay Area since the 1970s, and low-income families are spending more than half their paychecks on housing and transportation costs. An estimated 500,000 “lower-income” households are at risk of displacement in the Bay Area, a majority of whom live in Santa Clara, San…
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