AHSC Grant Program – Draft Guidelines out for comments, workshops this week

UCD West Village Family KAREN HIGGINS UC DAVISA couple of weeks ago the Strategic Growth Council released draft guidelines for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Grant Program, a potential new source of funding for walking and bicycling in California.  $120M in grants will be awarded in Spring of 2015 for shovel-ready proposals that integrate many aspects of sustainable communities such as affordable housing development, transit improvements and ridership programs, urban greening and other green infrastructure, along with active transportation network connections to other key destinations.  The goal of the AHSC Program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest equitably in disadvantaged communities, and maximize public health, environment, and economic co-benefits. 

The first draft of the AHSC Guidelines demonstrates the complexity of integrating many eligible uses into one program, and the challenge of achieving the ambitious goals set out for the program.  The guidelines outline a list of scoring criteria and sub-criteria, and a process by which staff must also screen for threshold criteria such as a baseline reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and meet statutory funding requirements such as 50 percent of funding to disadvantaged communities.  The guidelines are very much still in development, and Strategic Growth Council (SGC) staff are actively recruiting comments online and via an upcoming series of workshops (see more info below).

Safe Routes to School National Partnership staff is working with our statewide active transportation coalition to compile key comments and submit a letter to the SGC with the aim of strengthening the walking and bicycling components of the Guidelines. A sample of our key asks are:

  • All funded projects should complete walking and bicycling networks between transit, housing developments, and other key destinations in the project vicinity
  • Public health and safety co-benefits on a project should be weighted higher in the scoring criteria
  • Community engagement, especially for disadvantaged communities, should also be weighted more heavily in the scoring criteria
  • Leverage grants to incentivize local jurisdictions to improve design standards and policies for all local projects, such as by adopting complete streets policies and instituting NACTO Guidelines

We encourage all of our local partners to review the Guidelines, attend an upcoming workshop, and send your ideas for improvement to jeanie@saferoutespartnership.org or directly to the SGC by the 10/31 comment deadline.

Workshop locations

MERCED
Thursday, October 23–1:00-4:00 pm
Merced City Hall, Sandpiper Room
678 West 18th Street, Merced, CA 95340
Click here to register
OAKLAND
Friday, October 24–9:00 am -12:00 pm
Elihu Harris Building Auditorium
1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Click here to register
LOS ANGELES
Monday, October 27–1:00-4:00 pm
Southern California Association of Governments
818 West 7th Street; 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017
Click here to register
SACRAMENTO
Tuesday, October 28–1:30-4:30 pm
CalEPA Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I Street 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
Click here to register

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