May 3, 2021
The Honorable Nancy Skinner, Chair, Senate Budget Committee
The Honorable Phil Ting, Chair, Assembly Budget Committee
RE: Support for SACOG’s Green Means Go state budget allocation
Dear Chairs Skinner and Ting,
The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) supports Senator Pan’s request for the Sacramento Area Council of Government’s (SACOG) state budget allocation of $100 million dollars to implement the first year of its Green Means Go pilot program.
By accelerating infill development through infrastructure investments in centers, transit nodes, and commercial corridors in established communities, Green Means Go will help SACOG implement its Sustainable Communities Strategy and achieve the GHG emission reduction target of 19 percent per capita, set in 2018 by the California Air Resources Board pursuant to SB375.
SACOG has identified infill areas or “Green Zones” in 23 of the 28 jurisdictions in its six-county region. The local jurisdictions are ready to partner with the State to invest in infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines, to facilitate infill development. This kind of development can revitalize existing urban areas, and with transit service nearby and a mix of residential and commercial uses, can reduce driving, and therefore, vehicle miles traveled and GHG emissions. Green Means Go can increase housing availability and affordability without loss of habitat or agricultural land.
SACOG estimates the capacity of the identified infill areas or Green Zones at 84,000 dwelling units. To meet the challenge of climate change, it is critical to begin infrastructure work in the Green Zones, so that infill development can be the land use pattern of choice during this decade. Referring to the Regional Housing Need Allocation for 2021-2029 (RHNA, Sacramento County’s 21,722 dwelling unit RHNA could became mainly infill, and Sacramento City’s 45,000 dwelling unit RHNA similarly. This would shift the region’s development trajectory and put us on a more sustainable path. The state budget allocation of $100 million dollars to implement the first year of Green Means Go would give infill a chance.
Infill development is costly, and our region is behind coastal and other metropolitan areas in creating it. Local jurisdictions must provide the infrastructure upgrades to set the stage for infill development, and they need additional funding to do it. State funding is vital for this purpose, and we ask you to include the allocation of $100 million dollars in this year’s budget for the first year of the Green Means Go pilot program.
cc: The Honorable Richard Pan, California State Senate
The Honorable Kevin McCarty, California State Assembly
Keely Bosler, Director, California Department of Finance
James Corless, SACOG Executive Director