April 2016 Newsletter
Senator Beall's April-Newsletter. In this issue:
- Coffee meet-up in San Jose's Evergreen District
- Senior Health Care
- Housing and Transportation
|April 2016 Newsletter|
My next coffee meet-up will be in San Jose's Evergreen district next month. As always, I invite anyone who has a question, problem or issue regarding state government to sit down and tell me about it. These meetings are popular so please be aware that your time with me may be limited due to the number of people who come to speak to me.
Friday, May 6; 830 a.m.-10a.m.
SENIOR HEALTH FAIR
Join me at the eighth annual Senior Health Fair and Walk. The fair features community resources geared to keeping seniors healthy. There will be free and healthy breakfast options available and more. San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera is co-sponsoring the fair and walk with me.
Senior Health Fair & Walk
For more information, please call (408) 535-4908 or email Domingo.Candelas@sen.ca.gov.
HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION
Many hard-working people who hold down jobs in Silicon Valley have told me about their inability to purchase an entry-level home or find an affordable apartment in Silicon Valley. Consequently, they live in other communities and are forced to endure lengthy commutes, contributing to urban sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions.
In my role as chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, I have been working on solutions to both of these issues.
To address the fundamental problem of a lack of housing, I have introduced proposals to make it financially palatable for developers to build more homes for entry-level buyers and lower income families.
Senate Bill 879, would make $3 billion available through state housing bonds for affordable housing programs geared to low-income families. Programs slated to receive funds include those targeting multi-family housing and transit-oriented development to get people out of their cars.
A second bill, SB 873, calls for increasing the value of the state's existing low-income housing tax credit by restructuring the credits so it is not subject to federal taxation. There is no fiscal impact to the state. The bill will keep more money in California for the construction of more affordable housing while creating construction-related jobs that benefit local economies.
The lack of affordable housing stock hurts our region's ability to recruit and retain capable workers. The price of the median home in Santa Clara County -- $805,000 -- is outpacing the median salary, according to findings by a real estate information company. The high cost of housing is also pushing millennials out of the Bay Area, a recent news story said.
The upshot is the housing market has created a commuter culture with tens of thousands of drivers clogging the roads and highways. Since my days as a San Jose councilman, Santa Clara County supervisor, and now as a state legislator, my goals have been to improve our roads and mass transit effective and efficient.
I've played an instrumental role is obtaining $12 million in Metropolitan Transportation-approved funding to extend BART all the way to a Mabury Road station in San Jose. This station is tentatively scheduled to be ready for passengers sometime next year. I am continuing my work to secure funding to ensure the extension of BART through downtown San Jose.
To speed construction, I successfully passed Senate Bill 9 last year to streamline the disbursement of funding for large mass transit rail projects, which can shave years off a project.
The bill makes it easier for long-term projects to obtain guaranteed state funding over a multi-year period, providing a new level of financial certainty. It allows projects to submit engineering and planning studies for the entire undertaking just once when applying for state funding. The guaranteed funding eliminates the repetitive practice of seeking funding in stages as well as submitting planning studies for each phase of construction.
But rail transit is just one component of the transportation network. The vast majority of us drive to work and that puts a premium on improving the efficiency and safety of our freeways.
During this legislative session and the last, I have worked to obtain $1 million to kick start the planning and engineering for the recently completed Interstate 280/880/Stevens Creek Interchange. I also advocated for $39 million in state funding to reconstruct the obsolete 55-year-old interchange it can better cope with today's heavier traffic.
I've also fought to get $500,000 from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for environmental studies of a new exit ramp I-280/Winchester Avenue exit ramp that would reduce the burden on the northbound I-280/Stevens Creek off-ramp. The studies are a necessary step prior to construction.
The reduce the congestion on I-680 between Milpitas and U.S. 101, I led the effort in the competition to get a $250,000 state planning grant for an in-depth assessment that will provide guidance for improvements to on- and off-ramps.
My efforts in housing and transportation are calculated to improve our quality of life because that is the key to keeping California prosperous. If the cost of housing is too high, families will not be able to set down roots here. They leave, taking their talents, their ingenuity, and their in-state college diplomas with them. We cannot afford to lose them.
But we can afford to fix our roads and we can set the stage for more affordable housing.