Our economic vitality is at stake in this election. The East Bay’s innovation relies on world class infrastructure to move goods and people, appropriate housing and learning environments for our local talent, and a high quality of life to attract and retain our businesses. Without attention and support for these critical elements, our region will have difficulties maintaining its competitive edge both domestically and globally. The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA), a cross-sector economic leadership organization, urges voters in November to support five measures that will advance our economy.
Without proper learning facilities, our students are more challenged to fulfill the demand for jobs or create new world changing products and solutions. This bond addresses infrastructure and repair projects that focus on safety and efficiencies. Infrastructure improvements will create appropriate learning environments to enable state of the art technology to be housed in educational facilities, providing the tools to prepare students for jobs using technology. According to the Economic Policy Institute, California ranks 40th in education compared to other states and territories. This is unacceptable and unfair to future generations of workers and entrepreneurs. The world’s 7th largest economy needs to provide quality facilities for its students in order for them to thrive and contribute to our state’s world class businesses.
While overall investment is needed for all school facilities in the state, our organization and its members would like for the state to ensure that equity is a factor in the funding distribution to ensure that the neediest districts benefit from this bond. Lower socioeconomic districts face more challenges in local investment and need more assistance to help stabilize their infrastructure to offer state of the art learning environments. Upon voter approval of the proposition, our organization advocates for the state to distribute funding by using an equity lens and considering levels of need for all districts throughout the state.
BART has become a critical mode of transportation for employees and residents throughout the Bay Area region. With the largest number of BART stations in the Bay Area housed in the East Bay, BART enables our residents to secure employment along station lines, maximizing their opportunities for quality jobs. With the Bay Area’s population growth, particularly in the East Bay, more riders are using the system each year to commute to work. As demand continues to increase, the aging system, which was never designed to transport the number of daily passengers it now accommodates, will need infrastructure replacements and enhancements for safety and efficiency improvements. Without these repairs, the system is in jeopardy of not being able to provide world class quality transportation needed to support the mobility of our region.
Our organization also strongly believes that the region needs an extension of BART to the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) connection in Livermore. East Bay EDA strongly urges BART to consider an extension to this vital region of the East Bay following a successful ballot measure for infrastructure improvements in 2016. The Livermore region is experiencing heavy congestion due to increased vehicle traffic from the Central Valley into job centers in the Bay Area. Providing an extension would greatly improve congestion and the quality of life for many commuters and residents.
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) has an excellent track record of developing new projects and maintaining existing transportation routes, and has successfully leveraged local tax sale dollars with state and federal funding. Funding for transportation through the state is dwindling, and it is continually the responsibility of local government to self-fund their own projects. CCTA is proposing a ½ cent sales tax increase over a 30 year period to improve transportation in the region. The proposed County sales tax will help ensure regional mobility continues to move forward as improved transportation infrastructure in Contra Costa County affects the entire Bay Area.
Seniors, students, service workers and disabled individuals heavily rely on public bus services as their only means of transportation. Ensuring that AC Transit remains an important part of our region’s public transportation infrastructure, especially for riders with modest or fixed incomes, is an essential component of our transit competitiveness. AC Transit seeks to extend an existing parcel tax to sustain funding for bus services in the East Bay. An extension of the existing support for AC transit through Measure C1 will help to provide bus routes and services that best support the needs of our workers and residents through an ever-increasing eco-friendly fleet of locally produced vehicles.
As the economy continues to accelerate, many residents are struggling to afford housing. Lack of affordability and supply is forcing local residents and businesses to relocate outside of the Bay Area region. Congestion is becoming worse due to more workers commuting from outside of the region. Quality of life for many commuters and local residents is decreasing due to increased traffic volume and lengthy commutes. Many of our disadvantaged populations, such as veterans, the disabled and foster youth, are being left behind and not benefitting from adequate housing options. The housing shortage also has serious economic implications such as the inability to attract local talent to the region. Businesses are considering relocation to other areas to retain and attract their workforce. A regional effort is required to maintain current housing units and build more stock. The Alameda County Affordable Housing Bond aims to help the housing shortage by building stock, improving units and providing general assistance. More housing units will translate to reduced commute times and increased quality of life for residents. More housing units will impact competitive demand, and help low and moderate income workers such as teachers, restaurant workers and service workers stay in the region. More housing units will help the region retain businesses that depend on a local workforce, and contribute to the economic vitality of the East Bay.
EDA works closely with Cal/EPA and other local partners to create the first Permit Assistance Center in the state, with continuous efforts to improve collaboration between business and regulatory agencies. One-stop permitting centers operating in the East Bay are an outgrowth of this effort (1995).
EDA resolves Port of Oakland channel dredging impasse by convening and building consensus among fishermen, conservation groups, shipping interests, and others to use spoils from dredging the channel 42 feet deep to create wetlands (1991). EDA continued support to dredge the Port of Oakland to 50 feet, enabling the newest and largest container ships to make deliveries directly from Asia and shorten the supply chain (2009).This effort increased the region’s competitiveness and brought in the biggest container ship to ever enter the San Francisco Bay (2012).
EDA convened key regional stakeholders to mitigate the Port of Oakland’s congestion impact on regional transportation corridors. This effort resulted in recommendations for relocation options for transportation and distribution facilities supporting the Port (2003).
In an effort to expand Bay Area rail service, EDA held discussions with Union Pacific to share the East Bay’s logistic needs. This resulted in Union Pacific expanding its tunnels in the Sierra Nevada that enables service by double-stacked rail cars and reduces delays caused by avalanches (2009).
EDA helped Miles Inc. /Cutter Biological, a Bayer subsidiary, obtain a precedent setting 30-year development agreement with the City of Berkeley, saving 650 jobs and generating hundreds of millions in new investment. The facility is now Bayer’s worldwide headquarters for biologics, employing 1,400 (1992).
EDA worked with three cities and the State to include Bayer’s facilities in Oakland’s Enterprise Zone. This effort created $10 Million incentive package that prevented Bayer from moving manufacturing out of the State and saving more than $100 Million in investment, as well as 1,400 jobs (2009).
EDA supported Kaiser Permanente with various site alternatives analyses to establish site requirements and evaluate alternatives for a new medical center in the Oakland-Emeryville area (1993).
EDA partnered with EDA member PG&E to pull businesses out of recession by training PG&E field staff to identify businesses in trouble or possibly relocating (1994).
EDA played a lead role in helping locate Hart Brewing (Pyramid Ale) in Berkeley: over $10 million invested and 110 new jobs created, while enhancing business clusters and development of the area (1996).
EDA initiated a series of international business retention and marketing trade missions that eventually include Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China (1998).
EDA played a large role in rescuing the existence of TeamCalifornia by volunteering to staff this entity when state staffing and fiscal support was lost. EDA coordinate its state marketing presence at industry tradeshows, ad campaigns, and online for three years until TeamCalifornia restructured to support and sustain itself (2003).
East Bay EDA was successful in obtaining ARRA stimulus funding by coordinating 3 Recovery Zone Facility Bond Projects totaling $26.3 Million, which impacted the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Newark and Alameda County (2010).
Years after the Loma Prieta earthquake, EDA worked with the city of Oakland, Citizens for Emergency Relief Team, and Caltrans on behalf of businesses relocating or otherwise impacted by the reconstruction of the Cypress freeway to resolve differences and reach an agreement on fair market compensation (1998).