Infrastructure & Sustainable Communities

GOAL: The Summit will focus state and regional resource and infrastructure investments on sustainable growth, especially in underserved communities.


  1. Expand infrastructure investment through local financing tools and public-private partnerships.
  2. Promote sustainable communities including a sufficient housing supply through data-driven land use decisions and by ensuring state cap & trade funds and regional climate plans support adequate affordable housing, integrate urban and rural development, and include long-term goods movement strategies, even in rural regions without existing sustainable communities strategies.
  3. Ensure $7.5 billion in water bond funds go to sustainable, multi-benefit, integrated water projects that address issues across watersheds.
  4. Update regulatory processes such as CEQA, water transfers, and air permitting to advance the triple bottom line. Expand use of open data in land use planning.


  • Infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Regulations
  • Working Landscapes
  • Capital

Tracking Progress

GOAL 1: Expand use of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs), public-private partnerships.

GOAL 2: Maximize existing resources and identify new revenue sources to support outcomes-oriented infrastructure investments.
Build project pipeline: The Summit has been working closely with groups of infrastructure project proponents, local governments, and investors since the passage of SB 628 gave communities broad new authority to invest in local infrastructure projects. In a series of regional convenings, Summit partners have made presentations on how these authorities can be used and identified a range of potential projects that could benefit from them. The Summit is also working with the members of the California Transportation Commission, Southern California Association of Governments, and California Infrastructure & Economic Development Bank to explore how EIFDs can be used to support a long-neglected Southern California goods movement strategy. Legislation: With the Summit's support, the Speaker of the Assembly introduced a follow-up bill on EIFDs this year (AB 313) aimed at improving the process for creating a district and expanding their support for affordable housing. The Summit also successfully encouraged lawmakers to broaden the statute's language to make it easier for water and transit districts to participate. The bill is expected to be signed by the governor in September. Financing the Future: CA Fwd has produced a three-part series this year called Financing the Future on how to develop a more sustainable revenue system to meet the infrastructure needs of California's diverse regions. These reports identify a range of options for integrating funding sources and fiscal incentives with governance changes to provide communities with more flexibility to invest in infrastructure. Special session: In August, the team submitted a letter to the governor and legislative leaders highlighting these and other ideas--and urging lawmakers to consider them in the new special legislative session on transportation. In particular, the Summit identified the need to expand regional financing authority to invest in infrastructure projects.
GOAL 1: Ensure sufficient housing--and specific strategies and initiatives--in regional Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS) and encourage transit-oriented housing development through cap & trade. Develop ways for rural areas with regional plans to qualify for these funds.

GOAL 2: Promote housing development, including dedicated source of statewide funding for affordable housing and provision of market-rate housing at all levels.
Housing strategy: With the price of housing continuing to outpace wages, the Summit released a comprehensive plan in June for addressing California's growing housing crisis. The Summit offered its support for the Speaker of the Assembly's housing package, including a new dedicated source of funding for housing. In addition to expanding resources for subsidized affordable housing, the Summit urged lawmakers to do everything in their power to expand development of affordable and market-rate housing close to transit and jobs. Other legislation: Summit leaders supported a follow-up bill on EIFDs (AB 313) aimed at improving the process for creating a district and expanding their ability to invest in affordable housing. The Summit has also supported two other housing bills: AB 744, which would expand affordable housing development by reducing parking requirements for special needs, senior, and transit-oriented housing; and SB 377, which would increase the value of the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
GOAL: Update regulatory processes including CEQA, water transfers, air permitting; expand use of open data in land-use planning.
Open data: The team has supported a bill (SB 573) that would require the state government to adopt an open data policy that will foster economic development, boost transparency and accountability, and reduce workloads by improving efficiency. The bill would create a new Chief Data Officer within state government who would be responsible for creating an open data portal by 2017.
GOAL 1: Promote sustainable communities & use of natural capital by integrating urban/rural development, encouraging regional goods movement strategies.

GOAL 2: Document benefits of ecosystem services.
Water bond: Summit partners continue to support implementation of the Proposition 1 water bond, working with state and regional water agencies on three ideas for using drought investments to put all of the state's regions on a path to sustainable growth. Urban/rural: The Summit continues to push state leaders to expand the Rural-Urban Connections Strategy (RUCS) model statewide to encourage integration of natural and traditional infrastructure. RUCS was listed as one of the top 25 programs in this year's Innovations in Government Awards competition sponsored by Harvard University. Cap & trade: Experts within the Summit network are also exploring how the state could allow rural regions without Sustainable Communities Strategies--that are still pursuing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions--to develop alternative methods for receiving funding. Goods movement: In addition to the Summit's work on a Southern California goods movement strategy (noted in Infrastructure above), the Summit is working with the Administration and Caltrans on developing a statewide goods movement strategic plan. Water-energy-broadband: Members of the Summit are working with the California Emerging Technology Fund and Local Government Commission to better align a designated portion of the state's cap & trade revenues with the Public Utility Commission's energy efficiency and broadband access initiatives in communities of need. County grant programs: Summit partners continue their work to expand successful ecosystem services efforts in Sonoma, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara counties.
GOAL: Expand private capital investment in infrastructure by mapping regional capital intermediaries and creating navigator tool to match supply & demand.
Capital access: Summit is leading an effort to build statewide solutions to local capital market challenges through its Capital Action Plan, a strategy for expanding capital access in underserved regions that has been awarded a $42,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. As part of the plan, the team will assess capital access challenges in the Inland Empire and convene the region's capital markets to enhance lending and investment. While the USDA grant will allow this work to begin, the team has also applied for a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration to expand the effort with partners in the Inland Empire, Ventura, and the Sierra regions. Business plans: Several efforts by Summit partners are underway to develop business plans for supporting infrastructure investment, including watershed-wide planning systems that can be used by local agencies and stormwater capture systems along the LA River. A separate project is underway to develop a regional/urban impact investing intermediary in the Bay Area to build and finance projects.