Executive Director’s Monthly Report, March 2023


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Regional Conference & General Assembly Registration Now Open 

Join Southern California’s most influential leaders on May 4-5, 2023, at the JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort & Spa. This two-day event brings together elected officials, policy makers, business and civic leaders, transportation and environmental stakeholders, government staff and others for solution-oriented discussions on crucial challenges facing communities across the SCAG region.  

Registration is now open. Register by Friday, March 31 to get $100 off the general admission price. The event is free for elected officials and city managers in the region.  

To register and for more information about the event, please visit scag.ca.gov/ga2023. Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click here

Regional Council Approves Programs to Accelerate Transformative Housing Guidelines 

The Regional Council today approved the REAP 2.0 PATH Program application and authorized its Call for Applications. The PATH program, formerly named the Housing Supportive Infrastructure Program, is one of the three major funding areas in SCAG’s REAP 2.0 Program Development Framework. The program guidelines outline the program’s components, requirements, eligibility and application process, and staff recommendation to set aside $88.835 million of SCAG’s REAP 2.0 funding to support the program.  

The PATH program supports actions that accelerate infill development that facilitates housing supply, choice and affordability; affirmatively furthers fair housing; and reduces vehicle miles traveled. Funding opportunities in this program are designed to bring housing production to scale across the Southern California region to meet the 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Allocation.  

SCAG anticipates releasing Calls for Applications for the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Housing Infill on Public and Private Lands (HIPP) programs in April 2023, following state approval of SCAG’s REAP 2.0 application. The Call for Applications for the Regional Utilities Supporting Housing (RUSH) program is anticipated to be released in Summer 2023.   

For more information on REAP 2.0, visit scag.ca.gov/reap2021

Update on Regional Advance Mitigation Planning and SoCal Greenprint   

The Regional Council approved the Regional Advanced Mitigation Planning (RAMP) Policy Framework on Feb. 2. Regional Advanced Mitigation Planning is a process to expedite project delivery by planning for environmental mitigation to reduce environmental impacts earlier in the planning process and at a wider scale.  

This decision supports advanced mitigation in the region and directs the creation of the Greenprint Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to ensure the future SoCal Greenprint tool is aligned with policy objectives identified in the framework. Nearly two dozen speakers representing the business and environmental communities expressed support for the Policy Framework at the time of the vote.  

The TAC will convene in Spring 2023, with representatives from local jurisdictions, county transportation commissions, Caltrans, and the environmental and business communities.  

The TAC will advise staff on the development of SoCal Greenprint – a tool to help stakeholders make early and informed decisions about infrastructure, growth and conservation, and to mitigate the environmental impacts of Connect SoCal, the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. The tool will be presented to the Energy and Environment Committee and the Regional Council for final review and approval.  

SCAG staff are currently initiating a competitive procurement process for a consultant to facilitate the TAC and complete the SoCal Greenprint tool.  

Go Human Community Hubs Program Guidelines Now Available   

Go Human released the Guidelines for the 2023 Go Human Community Hubs Program last month. The program offers funding opportunities for community organizations to implement local traffic safety and community engagement strategies that leverage community gatherings, resource sites and networks.  The Community Hubs Program will award up to $40,000 to selected projects; interested applicants are invited to review the Program Guidelines in anticipation of the Spring 2023 Call for Applications. SCAG expects to host an informational webinar when the Call for Applications opens. 

Survey to Support Permit Streamlining for Broadband Infrastructure Now Open 

To support the expansion of broadband access across the region, SCAG and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) are working towards creating a universal permit and model ordinance to expedite the permitting process. We have developed a survey seeking input from local jurisdictions in developing a Permit Streamlining Manual to support the rapid deployment of broadband infrastructure. 

The survey has two sections, “Planning” and “Public Works,” to reflect different roles in permitting broadband infrastructure, and seeks to understand the existing laws, policies and resources affecting conditions in each jurisdiction. As the demand for equitable access to high-speed connectivity grows, it will be essential for local jurisdictions to streamline permitting practices to bring these technologies to their residents, schools and businesses.  

The surveys will be open through Thursday, March 23. For more details on SCAG’s permit streamlining survey efforts, contact Roland Ok at ok@scag.ca.gov

Annual State Legislative Agenda Established 

Last week, the LCMC met, under the strategic leadership of Jose Luis Solache, and discussed legislative priorities for the Sacramento Summit, which will take place in April.  

In summary, our top four legislative priorities will focus on:   

  1. Protecting transportation budget priorities that the Governor proposed cutting back on in his January budget;   
  2. Communicating our region’s Housing Progress, especially with all the good work we’re doing with our REAP funds;   
  3. Recognizing the important role that regions play in helping the State achieve our shared climate goals;   
  4. And asking the Legislature to establish a statewide Task Force to evaluate comprehensive modernization for the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.    

Local Jurisdictions Partner with SCAG on Local Data Exchange Updates 

In March 2022, SCAG began the Local Data Exchange (LDX) Process for partnering with local jurisdictions for the purpose of providing and receiving planning, land use and growth-related data to prepare for the development of SCAG’s Connect SoCal 2024, the 2024 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy.  

SCAG staff have followed up with local jurisdictions to confirm their inputs, request clarifying information and secure data verification signatures. To date, SCAG has received inputs from 130 jurisdictions, representing 66 percent of regional jurisdictions. If you have any questions, please contact list@scag.ca.gov.  

SCAG Meets with Secretary Castro Ramírez 

In February, SCAG Executive Director Kome Ajise and other members of the Executive Team met virtually with Lourdes Castro Ramírez, Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency. This meeting also included Deputy Secretary of Housing and Consumer Relations, Sasha Kergan and Deputy Secretary of External Affairs, Victoria Gonzalez-Gerlach. 

With more than 6,000 employees and a $4.6 billion operating budget, BCSH is responsible for fostering an equitable and inclusive California. Most relevant to SCAG, BCSH oversees the California Department of Real Estate, Department of Housing and Community Development, California Housing Finance Agency and California Interagency Council on Homelessness.  

The meeting included discussion on several SCAG priorities, such as increasing resources for smaller jurisdictions and reviewing the need for more state support to accelerate affordable housing production. SCAG will continue the conversation with Secretary Castro Ramírez on how her office can best support the SCAG region in meeting its housing goals. 

Toolbox Tuesdays on the Go Human Kit of Parts 

SCAG and California Walks presented a Toolbox Tuesday on the Go Human and Active Transportation Resources Center Kit of Parts Pilot Partnership Program on Feb. 21. The session included an analysis of three case studies from the Butte County’s Department of Public Health, the City of Los Banos and the Fresno County Department of Public Health. For those unable to attend, a recording of the session is available for viewing on your own time. 

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