BART Housing Bill Signed by Governor Brown

Press Release

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New law will deliver much needed housing across Bay Area, lessen regional congestion.

SACRAMENTO — On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2923 that will bring much needed relief to the Bay Area housing crisis by allowing more than 20,000 new homes to be built on property adjacent to BART stations. These new homes will be affordable to working families and seniors, and because of their proximity to our regional transit system they will reduce congestion on our roads and highways.

“I applaud Governor Brown for having the courage to sign AB2923, a tool to deliver tens of thousands of new homes at BART stations across the region,” said Nick Josefowitz, a BART Director and candidate for Supervisor in San Francisco who was one of the bill’s chief architects. “This bill delivers on so many priorities: affordable housing for working families and seniors, congestion relief, and environmental sustainability.”

 

AB2923 was supported by an unusually broad coalition, with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California co-sponsoring the bill. The bill counts support from diverse interests, including environmental organizations such as the California League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenbelt Alliance; equity organizations such as TransForm and Brightline Defense; and business organizations including the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group; along with the region’s transportation planning agency – the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Cities such as Oakland and San Francisco also joined in support.

 

The Bay Area and California as a whole cannot wait decades for new developments to be considered and reconsidered. The public has been asking for more targeted tools to promote housing solutions, and AB2923 demonstrates that there is support in Sacramento for this kind of action.  The bill focuses on 250 acres of the most accessible land in the state: land adjacent to BART stations, from which future residents can quickly and reliably access the five-county core of the Bay Area.

 

Another important aspect of this bill is that these new developments will not result in the displacement of current residents because the targeted lands are currently large surface parking lots.

 

“AB 2923 has been an incredible partnership,” said Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who co-authored the bill with Assemblymember Tim Grayson, D-Concord. “When Nick came to me with this proposal for creating affordable communities on our most accessible land, I immediately told him I’d author the bill and lead the charge to get it passed. It was certainly a challenge, but I am grateful that Governor Brown and my colleagues agreed that AB 2923 is an essential step forward in delivering affordable housing where it is needed most.”

 

“By signing this bill into law, the Governor is sending a powerful message to residents throughout the Bay Area that the same old ‘Not In My Back Yard’ arguments will no longer be able to drown out their voices and calls for more affordable housing,” said Assemblymember Grayson.  “I was pleased to collaborate with Assemblymember Chiu and Director Josefowitz over the past 18 months to build such an amazing coalition of supporters.”

 

“AB2923 honors our commitments to open space protection, air quality, housing affordability, and healthy lifestyles,” said Matt Vander Sluis, Deputy Director at Greenbelt Alliance.  “It is evident that AB2923 is necessary to deliver transit-oriented communities at BART — a strategy that we’ve all agreed is essential to meeting our regional goals.  We have worked closely with Director Josefowitz throughout this legislative campaign and appreciate being part of such a broad and diverse coalition.”

 

“We thank Governor Brown for signing AB 2923 and deeply appreciate the leadership of Assemblymembers Chiu and Grayson and BART Director Josefowitz as such stalwart champions of smart and progressive transit-oriented affordable housing policy. This sensible and enlightened legislation allows us to address both our housing affordability and climate change crises simultaneously by enabling the construction of thousands of new homes near BART stations, resulting in fewer cars and less traffic congestion on our region’s roads,” said Michael Lane, policy director for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.

 

“Thanks to Governor Brown’s signature, we can now get to work building great communities with great union jobs on the most accessible land in the region,” said Cesar Diaz of the Building and Construction Trades Council. “We were pleased to partner with Assemblymembers Chiu and Grayson, with BART Director Josefowitz, and with so many great coalition members to deliver this transformative legislation.”