Help Steer Sacramento County’s Transportation Planning

Do you want better public transit and more walkable, bike-friendly, accessible neighborhoods for all? How about affordable housing at transit stations all over town? On Dec. 12 and Jan. 9, the Sacramento Transportation Authority is meeting to discuss details for a possible ballot measure in November 2020 to levy a sales tax for transportation funding in Sacramento County. It’s up to them whether this measure addresses the dire reality of climate change and the needs of all neighborhoods no matter the zip code. Find out how to contact your representative and tell them what you think! Especially important for communities like Citrus Heights, Arden Arcade, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, North Highlands, etc.
– Chase Kelly-Reif, ECOS Board Member

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Click here to learn more about what ECOS is doing to help.

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New “Green Means Go” Program in Sacramento

Sent via email
From: Ralph Propper, Environmental Council of Sacramento
Sent: Apr 3, 2019 5:06 PM
To: James Corless, Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Cc: Christina Lokke, Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Subject: ECOS support letter to legislature for “Green Means Go”

Dear James,

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) wants to send a support letter to the Legislature requesting $400M funding for SACOG’s Infill Pilot, “Green Means Go”. We support the intent of your request, but we are concerned about lack of specificity regarding how SACOG would use these funds. We would like clarification included in any budget proposal to reflect the following recommendations; your clarification would enable us to send a support letter.

Infill Siting Criteria

We recommend that sites be surrounded by at least 75% existing urban uses, and the remainder be previous urban uses. This is consistent with SB 375’s infill definition, and our region has sufficient potential to meet these criteria.

VMT Performance Criteria

We recommend using OPR’s SB 743 Technical Advisory of -15% of regional average VMT for land use projects, and no net per capita VMT increase for transportation projects/infrastructure upgrades, as the guiding performance criteria for these projects. These should be the primary goals of the infill pilot, and OPR’s recommendation should be the standard for such incentive projects to meet the identified need in CARB’s GHG Scoping Plan for improved land use to meet climate goals. Accounting for project VMT in the pilot would also serve as a model for SB 743 implementation in our region, and begin to build an inventory of VMT-reducing projects for future VMT mitigation.

Inclusionary Requirement

We recommend a requirement that 10% of housing in an applicable project should be affordable to “low income”residents, an additional 5% should be affordable to “very low income”, and no in-lieu fee option should be available in low-VMT and Transit Oriented Development areas. This is consistent with requirements in SB 35 and other recent legislation.

Anti-Displacement Protection

Displacement of low-income residents is the greatest risk from the infill investment we need to meet our climate goals, so these investments must be coupled with protections against their displacement. Therefore, we recommend no demolition of existing affordable housing, rental housing, or any housing that was subsidized for affordable or rental housing in the last 10 years, consistent with language in recent legislation, e.g., SB 35, SB 50. Although an MPO cannot require anti-displacement mechanisms (e.g., rent control, just-cause eviction, no-net loss, right of first return), a jurisdiction’s no-demolition policy should be considered in scoring criteria for project selection. Prioritizing existing underutilized commercial zoning (e.g., parking lots) in project selection offers densification potential and avoids the direct displacement of housing.

In conclusion, we believe that VMT-reducing projects should be a priority if funding is provided. Thank you for considering these recommendations, and we look forward to working with you to identify appropriate criteria for projects applicable to this proposal.

Ralph Propper, ECOS President

cc: Christina Lokke

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Renewal of Measure U in Sacramento

September 10, 2018

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) has submitted a letter in response to the renewal of Measure U in Sacramento. The content of the letter is below.

Dear Mayor and City Council:

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) agrees with the concerns about the renewal of Measure U expressed in a recent letter from neighborhood groups and their supporters to the Sacramento City Council. We are also concerned that a permanent extension of the City’s local sales tax measure (Measure U) without significant changes in community engagement, budget process, and oversight will mean that City residents who will pay this tax will have no way to ensure that the funds collected are used for the greatest and most equitable community benefit.

ECOS generally supports the four proposals outlined in the letter submitted from the neighborhood groups:

  1. There should be meaningful comminity engagement for all plans and pending decisions that represents our diverse communities. This process should begin well before a final plan or decision is released, and all comments and documents received in that engagement should be publicly available. Engagement should prioritize low-income communities and communities of color.
  2. Once per year, with the annual budget, the City should conduct an assessment of the impact on disadvantaged communities by the previous year spending and proposed spending for the next fiscal year.
  3. The City should implement a participatory budgeting process to get meaningful public input on the spending that will be proposed for each annual budget. This process must conclude before any final budget is proposed for the next fiscal year and include meaningful community engagement. Any final recommendations should include a racial impact assessment of proposed spending.
  4. There should be meaningful citizen budget oversight through a citizen oversight committee that has the ability to convene meetings when the committee deems necessary and to provide recommendations to the City on budget spending and proposals.

We request that the City Council take formal action to adopt these requests before the November election. We look forward to working with you to institute these long-needed changes to the City’s planning and budget process.

Sincerely,
Ralph Propper
ECOS President

To access the letter in PDF, click here.

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