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New Analysis Shows that Transit Agencies Can Promote Affordable Housing, Increase Ridership

A new analysis from Public Counsel and a coalition of neighborhood-based community development corporations may point the way for transit agencies interested in increasing ridership by discounting land near transit for affordable housing.

“Delivering the Promise of Transit: How Transit Agencies Can Increase Ridership—and Clean Air—by Discounting Land for Affordable Housing” examines California laws relevant to transit agencies that would like to facilitate affordable housing development through strategies that involve discounting land. In most cases, the law supports this approach.

In Los Angeles, workers earning less than $25,000 per year use transit twice as much as higher earners. If these workers cannot afford to live near transit, the region risks declines in transit usage. This could jeopardize efforts to reduce traffic and air pollution.

But by discounting transit-adjacent land to enable the creation for affordable homes, transit agencies can deliver on the promise of mass transit. California law is not a barrier to this effort. In fact, California law recognizes the connection between affordable housing and transportation policy.

Assembly Bill 2135, signed into law last year, makes clear that facilitating the creation of affordable housing near transit is consistent with the goals and objectives of achieving optimal transportation use. Moreover, discounting land for this purpose cannot be construed as inconsistent with an agency’s purpose.

For transit agencies interested in increasing ridership by discounting land to promote affordable housing, this analysis indicates that California law should not stand in the way.

“Delivering the Promise of Transit” was authored by Public Counsel and the Neighborhood-Based Community Development Corporation Coalition. The Coalition is made up of five community groups committed to building a better Los Angeles: Public Counsel, the Coalition for Responsible Community Development, the East LA Community Corporation, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, and Little Tokyo Service Center. For the full report please click here.