Transportation

Funding

Bay Area and California Housing and Transportation Highlights from the Fiscal Year 2018 Federal Budget

An Aerial View of Marin County with the Bay in the Background
Karl Nielsen

Last month Congress approved a $1.3 trillion appropriations bill to fund the government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. In a departure from previous years, the budget included major boosts in funding for both defense and non-defense discretionary programs and also significantly increased investment in federal housing and transportation programs.

This post will provide summaries of major housing, transportation and other relevant provisions from the final FY 2018 spending bill; a chart comparing FY 2017 and FY 2018 funding levels; and analysis of California and/or Bay Area impacts for select housing and transportation programs. Continue reading on for more details. Read More

Policy

What's Holding Us Back? Talking Bay Area Transportation and Housing

Last week's annual State of the Valley Conference hosted by Joint Venture Silicon Valley featured a panel entitled What's Holding Us Back? – a look at the twin transportation and housing challenges facing Silicon Valley and the Bay Area as a whole.

MTC and ABAG Executive Director Steve Heminger and moderator Russell Hancock, Joint Venture's CEO, opened the conversation with an initial focus on the transportation side of the ledger. They were later joined by Carol Galante, Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing & Urban Policy and director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley, as the conversation shifted to housing.

Topics ranged widely, from the elusive search for a "big fix" to "Self-Help" funding for transportation, from CASA – The Committee to House the Bay Area to Silicon Valley's political engagement on the housing crisis.

Transcripts of the conversations, edited for length and clarity, are available from the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Read More

Policy

Record Low Unemployment Across (Much of) the Bay Area, and the Delicate Policy Dance That Follows

SF-Oak-Hay unemployment

The Bay Area economy has mostly had a good run since the dark days of the Great Recession (although the benefits have been uneven and not without their complications). For all the hype about the latest tech boom and the length of the current expansion, however, many key regional economic measures had not surpassed records set during the dot-com era nearly two decades ago. 

New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (via FRED) indicate this is starting to change, though. To wit: most key urbanized areas (or MSAs) in the region are at or near record low unemployment levels. As shown in the above chart, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward MSA is now at 2.8 percent, a level last seen during a heady pre-millennium stretch from July to December of 1999.   Read More