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City Officials Encouraged to Discuss Housing and Transportation with Legislators

Summer Recess Ends July 31

July 8, 2016
This week marks the first week of the legislative summer recess.
Over the next three weeks legislators will be traveling and talking to constituents in their districts about priority issues. Once they return to Sacramento on Aug. 1, they will have just four weeks to complete work in the 2015-16 Legislative Session.

This is the ideal time for city officials to contact their legislators to voice their support and opposition on legislation. While doing so, the League encourages cities to also discuss two looming issues still waiting for action: Gov. Jerry Brown’s By Right housing proposal and the need for transportation reforms and funding. 
By Right Housing Proposal
As a component of the May Revise, the Governor proposed to reduce perceived additional costs and delays associated with the approval of housing developments containing specified percentages of affordable housing by eliminating public input and project-level environmental analysis, restricting design review, and making approvals ministerial. 
The League is strongly opposed and made significant headway arguing against the proposal during the budget process. However, in the final budget negotiations the Governor tied the proposal to the approval of $400 million for affordable housing, a priority for the Assembly Democratic Caucus. If the Legislature doesn’t act on the Governor’s proposal or something similar, the funds for affordable housing won’t be appropriated. 
Legislators need to hear that this is a bad deal for California. Eliminating opportunities for public review of major development projects goes against the principles of local democracy and public engagement.  While it may be frustrating for some developers to hear concerns about traffic, parking and other development impacts, those affected by such projects have a right to be heard. Not having such outlets will increase public distrust in government. 
Transportation Funding
While transportation funding discussions have seemingly stalled in the Legislature, now is not the time for the Legislature to take its foot off the gas pedal. City officials are encouraged to continue to focus on the need for striking a deal this year on transportation funding as they continue to meet with legislators in their district offices.
The unmet funding need for local streets and roads is $78 billion over the next 10 years. Additionally, the California Transportation Commission formally adopted a five-year state transportation funding plan that cuts $754 million and delays another $755 million in highway, rail, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian transportation projects as a result of declining gas tax revenues.
The need for a deal that balances reforms, restores lost revenues, and constitutionally dedicates new revenues to transportation is greater than ever. During the legislative recess, the Fix Our Roads Coalition, in which the League is a leader, will continue its #TranspoTues campaign, where cities can tweet their legislators the need for a funding solution.
Join the League and other stakeholders to continue to advocate for the Legislature and Governor to do the right thing and fix our roads now!

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