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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other
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200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974

CCRL's Calregions Infrastructure Investment Issue

November 1, 2006

I.     Highlights of CCRL and Regional Collaborative Work in 2006
A.     Action 1: Set Infrastructure Investment as a Legislative Priority in 2006
B.     Action 2: Educating and engaging Californians to understand the ballot measures and implications for the regions
C.     Action 3:Promoting the strategic expenditure of funds, if the bonds pass
D.     Bond implementation strategy development -- underway in 2006

II.     2007 and beyond - the work ahead
A.     State Decisions and Actions of Major Significance to the Regions of California
B.     Regional and local Decisions and Actions

In a few days, voters in California will decide if they want to begin rebuilding the state's crumbling infrastructure by supporting the infrastructure investment bonds on the General Election ballot, or if they want to leave those challenges, costs and community building efforts to future generations, i.e., our children and grandchildren, by rejecting the bond measures.

Specifically at issue is an enormous and growing infrastructure deficit.  The state's streets and highways that are in critical disrepair; affordable housing and emergency shelter for those most in need are in short supply; educational facilities, including the State's Community Colleges system, are antiquated, structurally unsafe and unable to accommodate existing and future student populations;  and water resources, facilities and levees remain regionally inequitable, redevelopment-challenged and resource-poor.

Over the past few years, CCRL and the Regional Collaboratives have joined other organizations in California to urge movement on infrastructure investment.  Passage of the bonds, especially now that strategic land use planning is being woven into the state's infrastructure funding requirements, would enable the State and its regions to more effectively plan for growth and ensure a high quality of life for generations to come.

While it was important to assist in creating and facilitating the dialogue that eventually led to the package now on the ballot, the outcome of the elections is uncertain, and the work ahead – whether the bonds pass or not - is critical.  In the articles that follow, CCRL takes a look back on what we have accomplished and examines where we need to go from here.


Highlights of CCRL and Regional Collaborative Work in 2006

Action 1: Set Infrastructure Investment as a Legislative Priority in 2006

In February 2006, CCRL and the Regional Collaboratives adopted infrastructure investment as its number one priority, and identified the following core principles on Infrastructure Investment Bonds and Policies:

  • Infrastructure bonds must be strategic, taking into account long-term needs and plans, as well as the integration of approaches that impact everything from the state's transportation needs to water, and schools.
  • Infrastructure plans must be guided by the needs and priorities of the state's diverse regions: urban, metropolitan and rural … ideally, with collaborative regional decision-making to foster greater interdependency in and among our communities.
  • State investments should also be used to leverage additional state, local, federal resources … and funds.
  • The state's investments may also be used to leverage substantial private sector investment.
  • The state's investments should be allocated in a manner that fairly distributes the benefits and burdens of infrastructure investments among regions, and diverse income groups, cultures and populations.

Urge Legislators and Civic Leaders to Take Action in 2006

Adoption of the core principals enabled CCRL and its Regional Collaboratives to join with the California Infrastructure Coalition (CIC) to encourage legislators and civic leaders to take action.  This action began with a "near miss" failure to meet the March 15th deadline and led to a redoubled civic-sector advocacy effort resulting in elected officials reaching agreement in May to place the infrastructure investment measures on the November ballot.

Action 2: Educating and engaging Californians to understand the ballot measures and implications for the regions.

Held Regional Growth Dialogues

CCRL hosted eight statewide Regional Growth Dialogues on Infrastructure Priorities, State Bonds and infrastructure needs to explore local challenges to smart-growth development, and to hold robust discussions on the impacts of the infrastructure bond measures on the November ballot. 

Sponsors of the Regional Growth Dialogues are: Bank of America; Caltrans; The Nature Conservancy; the Morgan Family Foundation; and the following CCRL Regional Collaboratives and partner organizations: the Bay Area Council; the Fresno Area Collaborative Regional Initiative; the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation; the Orange County Business Council; the San Bernardino Associated Governments; and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Fresno Business Council, Valley Visio, ULI-Sacramento, Shasta Regional Transportation Planning Agency, and The McConnell Foundation.

More Information

Participants in the Dialogues included representatives from regional economic development organizations; civic groups, business, elected officials, and community leaders; California Transportation Commission; Metropolitan Planning Organizations; regional transportation agencies; California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; California Department of Transportation; and a host of non-profit groups such as the The Sierra Club, Urban Habitat, Healthy Shasta, Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development, and many others.   

Lynn Pike, president of Bank of America California, says the infrastructure crisis affects Californians across the full economic spectrum. "All of the issues covered by the proposed infrastructure bonds are important, particularly housing affordability, which is addressed by Proposition 1C, the Housing Bond," she says. "We need to be able to house our people and provide home ownership opportunities in order to attract and keep quality talent in the state and maintain our economic vitality. The Dialogues provided a timely opportunity to address housing affordability and other key economic issues at the regional level."

The CCRL Regional Growth Dialogues were held on the following days and locations:

  • San Diego, September 7
  • Los Angeles, September 11
  • Orange County (Irvine), September 12
  • Bay Area (San Francisco), September 21
  • Inland Empire (Riverside), October 6
  • San Joaquin Valley (Fresno), October 19
  • North State (Redding), October 20
  • Sacramento, October 27

Focus on Infrastructure at 2006 Civic Entrepreneur Summit, September 24-26

Infrastructure and its impact on California's regions was the primary emphasis of the 2006 Civic Entrepreneur Summit held in San Francisco and entitled "Infrastructure: A Regional Challenge."  In planning the Summit, CCRL leaders recognized that the state's regions, its people and communities require -- and deserve – a solid infrastructure plan to address transportation congestion, air quality, job creation, housing access and affordability, improvements in land use, ground and air transportation facilities, water quality and supply, and goods movement.

Summit participants explored how the passage or defeat of the proposed infrastructure bonds will impact California's regions and their ability to compete in the world market; create, maintain and attract jobs; provide critical natural resources, sustain and improve environmental preservation; and protect and grow other quality-of-life needs, including housing and schools.

Business, Transportation and Housing Secretary Sunne Wright McPeak spoke at the Conference to promote the bonds as did Senate President Pro tempore Don Perata, one of the key architects of the investment bonds, who keynoted the Conference Awards luncheon. 

The event's panelists for the discussion on leveraging the potential $19+ billion in transportation infrastructure investment bond dollars in the regions were: John Barna, Executive Director, California Transportation Commission (CTC); David Fleming, of counsel to Latham & Watkins, Chairman of the CCRL, and the incoming Board Chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Richard Little, Director, USC Keston Institute for Infrastructure; Kathleen Brown, Goldman Sachs; and Julie Meier Wright, California's first Secretary of Trade and Commerce and President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (SDREDC).

At issue for the regions: if passed, Propositions 1A and 1B would pay for critical mobility investments, including: regional high-priority corridors; rail and bus capital improvements; trade corridor infrastructure; State Route 99 corridor improvements; state highways' rehabilitation; local transportation funds; matches for "self-help" counties; transit security and disaster preparedness; port security; local bridge seismic retrofits; grade separations; and air quality (i.e., environmental) mitigation, amongst others.

Panelists that joined the discussion on the other bond measures included: Cathy Creswell, Housing and Community Development; Lindy Hahn, Bank of America; Deborah Nankivell, Fresno Business Council; Cindy Starrett, Latham and Watkins; Kathleen Brown, Goldman, Sachs; Steve Erie, UC San Diego and Steve Johnson, The Nature Conservancy. 

Partnership with Next Ten.

CCRL partnered with Next Ten to produce and distribute educational materials on infrastructure investment needs and budget reform solutions in a report entitled Grapes, Electrons, Surf.  Click to access the report (PDF).

Action 3:  Promoting the strategic expenditure of funds, if the bonds pass

Strategic Growth Advisory Group

The work of the Business Transportation and Housing/Resource Agency Advisory Group continued in 2006 under the auspices of Caltrans, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and CCRL.  The focus of the group evolved over the past year:  beginning with a focus on CEQA improvement, then expanding to include land use, housing, natural resource protection, comprehensive regional planning and State agency coordination; most recently expanded to include transportation issues and the infrastructure investment bonds slated for the November, 2006 ballot. 

The Strategic Growth Advisory Group mission has remained the same: improving state growth policy through new proposal development and presentation, public dialogue and exploring convergence of views among multiple stakeholders, at the statewide and regional levels.  Its role continues to be advisory, not decision-making.

CCRL Board Member David Abel says,

"This year, we have an historic opportunity to improve the economic and quality of life prospects for millions of existing and future generations of Californians by championing state bonds, and associated legislation, that will significantly invest in our infrastructure improvement needs.  The only real challenge we face to the successful passage of a meaningful infrastructure investment program is partisan politics."

If you have questions or would like additional information about the Strategic Growth Advisory Group please contact Seth Miller, CCRL Senior Program Officer at smiller@ccrl.org.

Regional Blueprint Planning

More Information

The state's Regional Blueprint Planning Program is intended to better inform regional and local decision-making, including infrastructure investments, through pro-active engagement of all segments of the population to foster consensus on a vision and preferred land-use patterns to accommodate future growth.  The seven grants awarded in 2007 by Caltrans for regional collaborative decision-making will lead to adoption of Blueprint Plans that will:

  1. Foster a more efficient land use pattern that (a) supports improved mobility and reduced dependency on single-occupant vehicle trips, (b) accommodates an adequate supply of housing for all incomes, (c) reduces impacts on valuable habitat, productive farmland, and air quality, (d) increases resource use efficiency, and (e) results in safe and vibrant neighborhoods.
  2. Provide consumers more housing and transportation choices.
  3. Improve California's economic competitiveness and quality of life.
  4. Reduce costs and time needed to deliver transportation projects through informed early public- and resource-agency involvement.
  5. Secure local government and community support, including that of under-represented groups, to achieve a more comprehensive vision by utilizing innovative computer models and public involvement activities.
  6. Establish a process for public and stakeholder engagement that can be replicated to build awareness of and support for critical infrastructure and housing needs.

The regional Blueprint efforts include the development of regional performance measures that can measure progress toward the region's own vision for future land use and transportation. Each region will also select several statewide performance measures to better evaluate progress toward statewide transportation system and housing goals.

CCRL works with the California Association of Councils of Government (CalCOG) to support Regional Blueprint Planning (RBP) across the state.  As such, we identified four major steps that need to be taken in the Regional Blueprint Planning process in order to achieve the outcomes listed above.  They are:  1) convene the public and stakeholders within regions, 2) determine criteria for RBP within the region, 3) foster consensus on a vision and preferred land-use pattern, and 4) make the case for these outcomes to decision-makers and the public.

By convening the public and stakeholders in a thoughtful, performance-based regional planning process, all parties, including those working or active in local government, are more likely to begin to recognize the significance of a regional perspective and, hopefully, will begin to identify with their region so that region-wide issues and solutions are of greater concern and interest.  Passage of the bond measures, especially those that reward regional approaches in the competition for funds, would provide a significant driver for participation in the regional planning process going forward.

Blueprint Learning Network (BLN)

BT and H established the Blueprint Learning Network (BLN) to work with the MPOs and COGs to further advance regional blueprint planning. Regional blueprint planning will help the regions develop better land use and transportation patterns and help State agencies make better infrastructure investment decisions that support the Blueprint Plans and lead to a better quality of life in California based on the 3Es.

BLN Workshops

On behalf of Business, Transportation and Housing, Caltrans, and the Blueprint grantees, CCRL convenes a series of workshops on overcoming the challenges and obstacles to effective regional blueprint planning.  The BLN workshops will:

  • Provide a common framework for planning and analysis/forecasting of land use, transportation, housing and environmental factors
  • Be an opportunity for the State and the regions to partner to accomplish the regional blueprint plans
  • Learn together as the regions undertake their planning processes in the real world.

Regional BLN Teams

Regional BLN teams will include representatives from 3Es of the economy, environment and social equity as well as key MPO and COG stakeholders. They are invited to the following series of workshop events.

For additional information about the Blueprint Learning Network

Toolkit

CCRL is assembling a Regional Blueprint Planning Development Toolkit to showcase "best practices" such as proven ordinances and land- use strategies that support regional blueprint efforts.  CCRL will team with the California League Of Cities, the California Association of Counties, and the CA Association of Councils of Government to advance these actions throughout the state.

Bond implementation strategy development -- underway in 2006

Infill Development

Proposition 1C includes $850 million for infill development.  High density and infill development are an environment-friendly approach to addressing our continued need for housing and other facilities that accommodate California's growing population.

Regional Collaboratives and the leaders within their regions have a role to play in working for a shared vision and building the support and resources necessary for the implementation of infill development projects across their regions.  Regional leaders will help to weigh-in as the legislature works to establish criteria for determining what is "good" high density/infill development for communities across California.   

As land-use decisions are local in California, the case for infill development will have to be made to decision-makers and the public in each community and region where it is proposed.

Relieve Congestion/Enhance Mobility

Regional Collaboratives and the leaders within their regions also have an important role to play in the nearly universal goal of congestion relief and mobility enhancement.   The current state of our freeways and major roads already is a driver among stakeholders to participate in consensus building around projects and other approaches designed to address it.  Passage of the transportation bond should bring stakeholders to the table at the regional level if the opportunities and likelihood of receiving a portion of the funding is increased by doing so. 

The first step in the process is establishing or incorporating criteria for setting funding priorities among projects.  In the case of corridor mobility projects that would be funded at $4.5 billion from the transportation bond, the criteria are nearly determined.  The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has issued Draft Criteria [link to CTC site] for the Corridor Mobility Improvement Account Program that will be adopted on November 8 if the transportation bond measure passes. 

According to the draft guidelines, the Commission has set regional programming targets. The guidelines state that although each regional agency is permitted to make its own project nominations and to identify its own priorities for the Commission, the Commission welcomes and encourages the development of joint priorities and proposals from the nominating agencies located within each of the broader regions. 

In regions or along corridors where it has not been done, research will be needed to identify and document potential projects to be evaluated against the agreed upon or mandated criteria and consensus built to develop a slate of priority projects.

Regions will need to act quickly to position for these funds.  For example, in the case of the corridor mobility funds, a project must be nominated by Caltrans or a regional agency no later than January 16, 2007, or await the first full program update in 2008. 

2007 and beyond – the work ahead

If the bond measures are approved, it is critical to support the momentum gained by regional stakeholders to develop shared regional infrastructure priorities, and to strengthen partnerships among local, regional and state players. 

1. State Decisions and Actions of Major Significance to the Regions of California

  • The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has developed a framework that outlines the criteria that will be used to distribute more than half the $19 billion in Proposition 1B bond funds.  Members of the CTC and staff participated in the CCRL Regional Growth Dialogues and invited regional partners to provide input to CTC moving forward.  To access the CTC disbursement criteria see: http://www.catc.ca.gov/CMIA_draft_guidelines_0929.pdf and http://www.catc.ca.gov/CMIA_discussion_summary_Final.doc and http://www.catc.ca.gov/Goods_Movement_Listening_Sessions.pdf).
  • Should Proposition 1D, IE and Proposition 84 be approved by voters there will be a host of administrative and legislative decisions to be made that require input from regional stakeholders.  Input on these decisions will take a variety of forms including written input, public hearings, and regional listening sessions.  Please stay-tuned for additional information from CCRL about how to stay involved in the sorting-out of regional priorities during the allocation process. 
  • Should Proposition 90 pass there will undoubtedly be a range of clarifying decisions to be made by regional stakeholders about how to proceed.  If the measure does not pass the need to clarify and restore public confidence in local eminent domain processes has been established.  CCRL is committed to participating in the accurate and timely dissemination of information regarding eminent domain "fears and realities" in the months ahead.
  • With the Governor's signing of AB 32, an assortment of changes will be required by business leaders, environmental champions, and regional agencies to meet the aggressive emissions reduction targets set-forth by the Governor.  Identifying the most effective way to achieve these targets will require better planning and coordination across sectors and regional businesses are poised to take a leadership role the area of collaborative planning that incorporates key principles of sustainability. 

2. Regional and local Decisions and Actions

  • The work of the Blueprint Learning Network, in partnership with Caltrans, Housing and Community Development, and CalCOG presents an important vehicle for bringing state agencies, Affiliate Groups, and regional players to the table to establish regional priorities.  The final Blueprint Learning Network meeting of 2006 will take place in Anaheim on November 29 – 30.  Please contact smiller@ccrl.org if you are interested in participating in this session.  An agenda for the BLN-Anaheim Session can be found at: calregions.urbaninsight.com
  • CCRL will work with the League of California Cities and the California Association of Counties to develop and disseminate the Blueprint Toolkit. This document will showcase best practices in the field of regional blueprint planning and highlight practical strategies for moving from planning to action.  
  • Continuance of the California Regional Progress Report – an effort to benchmark regional progress towards improving congestion relief and quality of life goals –includes input from seventeen MPOs and COGs as well as Caltrans, HCD and others.  This work will be be spearheaded by Trish Kelly.  For additional information please contact trish.kelly@comcast.net.