Community Activists Help MTC Take a Step in the Right Direction.

At their July 27 meeting, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) took a step toward linking the One Bay Area Grant 2 program (OBAG 2), a transportation fund of $350 million dollars, to anti-displacement policies.

MTC voted unanimously to direct Congestion Management Agencies (CMAs), which distribute OBAG funds to their respective local jurisdictions, to develop a scoring methodology that will reward jurisdictions that have adopted effective anti-displacement policies. MTC also included a requirement that general law cities should be in compliance with the Surplus Land Act (AB 2135) in order to qualify for OBAG 2 funds.

At the meeting, the 6 Wins Network delivered a petition with nearly 500 signatures from across Bay Area communities; the petition demanded that commissioners take substantial action to mitigate displacement. In addition, San Mateo County Union Community Alliance along with other 6 Wins Network members testified to the importance of leveraging regional transportation dollars to reward cities that are adopting effective anti-displacement policies and raising the wages of low-wage workers. Over a dozen community members from Causa Justa, the North Bay Area Organizing Project, and the East Bay Housing Organizations provided personal testimonies that illustrated the incredible magnitude of the affordability crisis.

While the MTC could do even more by linking all OBAG funding to the mitigation of displacement, their decision is a step forward in ensuring that CMAs (C/CAG in San Mateo County) begin to understand the importance of using transportation dollars to incentivize local jurisdictions to adopt anti-displacement policies such as rent stabilization, just cause eviction, and minimum wage increases.

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