Comparing REAP and AHSC: State-defined versus regionally-defined funding strategies for affordable housing linked to multi-modal transport

California’s Senate Bill 375, adopted in 2008, calls for ongoing regional-local planning coordination to promote sustainable transportation and development patterns, through auspices of the state’s 18 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). However, few implementation strategies are in place to support the regional plans developed by MPOs under SB 375. For example, only one state program has been established to provide ongoing support for housing projects linked to sustainable transport investments, namely, the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, established in 2014. In 2019, the situation changed somewhat with initiation of the ad hoc (not ongoing) Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) Grants program, which disburses funds to MPOs based on metro area population projections, for regionally-designed strategies, which require state approval, for projects fostering affordable housing provision linked to multi-modal transport. This research project will contrast and compare key elements of program design, administration, and projected benefits from the REAP and AHSC programs, with the aim of considering how and whether a state-led strategy (AHSC) differs from regionally-designed strategies (through REAP), in furthering SB 375 goals through funding that allocated for similar specific purposes. The research findings will be useful to policymakers seeking to consider how to improve multi-level policy coordination for sustainable development.

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